Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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 1                           Friday, 11 November 2011

 2                           [Further Appearance]

 3                           [Open session]

 4                           [The accused entered court]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 2.29 p.m.

 6             JUDGE HALL:  Good afternoon.

 7             Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good afternoon, Your Honours.

 9             This is the case number IT-03-67-R77.4, In the Matter of

10     Vojislav Seselj.

11             JUDGE HALL:  Mr. Seselj, are you hearing these proceedings in a

12     language that you understand?

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I'm following the proceedings

14     in the Serbian language, which is the only language that I understand.

15             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you.

16             And I give you the usual reminder that under the Rules of

17     Procedure and Evidence, you enjoy the right to remain silent at all times

18     during the proceedings.

19             Now, the purpose of today's proceedings are enable the accused,

20     Mr. Seselj, to enter a plea on the amended order in lieu of indictment

21     issued on the 21st of October.  At the appearance on Friday last, the 4th

22     of November, Mr. Seselj stated that he was not able to enter a plea.  In

23     light of the particular and current circumstances of his case, the

24     Trial Chamber decided to extend the opportunity to him to enter a plea

25     again on the amended order in lieu of indictment.  This charges

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 1     Mr. Seselj with contempt under Rule 77 for failing to comply with an

 2     order of the Trial Chamber issued on the 15th of July 2011 to remove or

 3     cause to be removed from his web site a fourth book which Mr. Seselj has

 4     written.

 5             This book allegedly contains confidential witness information.

 6             Now, at the appearance on the 4th of November, that's Friday

 7     last, the public version of the amended order was read out and,

 8     therefore, there is no need to do that again.

 9             And so I inquire of you, Mr. Seselj, whether you prepared to

10     enter a plea today.

11             I note that you have declined to answer.

12             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, the right to legal

13     assistance is one of the most protected rights in international law

14     generally and in human rights law in particular.  And as soon as some

15     Judge finds out that such a right is violated he is duty-bound to

16     intervene immediately.  You know, Mr. Hall, that this right has been

17     violated in my case.  I demand to use my right to legal assistance and

18     the Registrar is not allowing me to do that.  Actually, the Registrar is

19     allowing me to do it in a manner that is contrary to all principles of

20     international customary law to exercise my right to Legal Aid in

21     conditions where I would be spied on by him, and that is not the exercise

22     of the right to legal assistance.  In any other country in the world, the

23     accused has the right to talk with his legal assistant in confidence and

24     that can only be considered as legal assistance if that is the way it is

25     extended to the accused.  Any violation of human rights requires the

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 1     Trial Chamber or the acting Judge to issue an effective legal remedy.

 2     That is your duty as Pre-Trial Judge, and that is the duty of your

 3     colleagues who are members of the Trial Chamber in this case.  The right

 4     to Defence begins at the earliest stage, at the point in time when I was

 5     issued with the indictment.  That is the earliest stage in the pre-trial

 6     proceedings.  The right to defend exists in the investigating phase as

 7     well and it is protected in the same way.

 8             I referred to the violations in the earliest phase at the initial

 9     appearances, and even before the initial appearance I indicated that a

10     violation had occurred.  I said in the previous case that my right to

11     Legal Aid is being violated and that I would not be in the position to

12     submit within the deadlines the application to appeal and the appeal

13     itself.

14             You also know, Mr. Hall, that the Trial Chamber can issue any

15     kind of order that is necessary for the preparation or the actual

16     exercise of the proceedings.  Aware that these proceedings cannot be

17     conducted without my right to Legal Aid being secured, that right at the

18     beginning, without that the whole proceedings would be null and void.  So

19     ultimately it is your duty to issue orders that suit the situation and

20     the circumstances and that can only be an order issued to the Registrar

21     to ensure my -- the exercise of my right to self-defence in the same way

22     that this right is exercised in any other case, and so you can issue such

23     an order to the Registrar and the registrar is duty-bound to act pursuant

24     to such an order by you.

25             This is the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, to protect

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 1     procedural rights.  This does not even have to be articulated in the

 2     Rules or in the Statute.  This is something that is inherent to a court.

 3     The Court has to provide the circumstances for a just trial.  Without a

 4     just trial there can be no justice.  You can hang me right outside this

 5     door if you wish, but that would not constitute a just procedure.  So the

 6     right to Legal Aid being violated has violated not only my right to a

 7     just trial, but it brings into question the integrity of the entire

 8     proceedings.

 9             I must remind you, I wrote a quotation here, the

10     Secretary-General of the United Nations in his report on the

11     establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former

12     Yugoslavia, from 1993, said:

13             "The axiom is that the international Tribunal must recognise

14     internationally recognised standards in respect of the rights of the

15     accused at all stages of the proceedings."

16             I emphasise "at all stages of the proceedings."  Since my rights

17     have been violated because of the actions of the Registrar, pursuant to

18     the European Court for Human Rights, I have suffered damage.  I cannot

19     say that this is material damaged and I cannot say that this damage is

20     irreparable.  The fact that you, Mr. Hall, as the Pre-Trial Judge, are

21     able to correct this at any phase and you can restore things to their

22     original state.  As I said, the European Court for Human Rights, I have

23     been burdened with undue suffering, I am frustrated, and I'm in a really

24     bad mental state because of the circumstances.  I am confused.  I don't

25     understand the indictment against me.  I have no Legal Aid or anything

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 1     like that.  And I also have a feeling of loneliness and abandonment which

 2     is actually the definition of my situation as it can be found in the

 3     European Court for Human Rights.  I have suffered moral damage so it's

 4     not sufficient for this injustice to be corrected or an apology to be

 5     extended to me by the Registrar or the Trial Chamber, because I am still

 6     suffering from confusion, unease, and isolation.

 7             The Inter-American Court for Human Rights and the European Court

 8     for Human Rights consider and in their judgements they apply that:  In

 9     cases such as this, violations of the procedural rights or human rights

10     at any stage of the proceedings oblige the court to compensate me.  I

11     refer to the Andre case before the international Tribunal for Rwanda.  On

12     the 31st of January, 2007, the first-instance Trial Chamber made the

13     decision that on the 13th of September, 2007, the second-instance Trial

14     Chamber made its own decision that because the extension of Legal Aid was

15     late that the accused, Andre Rwamakuba should be compensated and damages

16     were paid to him in his case.  This was $2.000 dollars.

17             In my case, the damage is not as high as that, so if you were to

18     intervene at this moment, right now, then this can be corrected in a

19     timely manner, and then I officially will submit a claim for damages in

20     the amount of 1.000 euros for undue concern, frustration, confusion, and

21     the feeling of loneliness and abandonment that I have suffered.

22             Before my right to privileged communication was taken away from

23     me, I authorised my legal advisor, Boris Aleksic, to prepare a claim for

24     damages for these entire proceedings for the violation of my rights.

25     Perhaps you're not aware of this, but I'm a veteran here, Mr. Hall.  I

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 1     have been for nine years already.

 2             Well, somebody switched my microphone off.

 3             I have been for nine years already.  The first and the second

 4     year, the Registry prevented for seven months from receiving any visits,

 5     including family visits, from receiving any phone calls, except for those

 6     from the office of the warden, which I did not accept because my party

 7     gained a third of deputy's post in the parliament, achieved good results

 8     in the elections, and there was a danger that from here I could influence

 9     the formation of the new government.  There are seven such decisions from

10     the registry there.  For a full four years the Registrar, without any

11     reason, denied me my right to legal assistance and to have normal

12     contacts with them.

13             Ever since Maja Gojkovic, my first legal advisor, who was an

14     attorney, an attorney with international experience, at that, they said

15     she was a suspect person, so they did not authorise her to work for me.

16     And that is what they did until my hunger strike from November and

17     December of 2006.  That is when the Appeals Chamber decided that all the

18     legal -- three legal advisors can be registered.  Then I had more

19     difficulties from the Registry.  Then for a period I was left without a

20     right to communication.  When my legal advisors came, they would take me

21     to some gas chamber where we were under the monitoring of cameras, public

22     cameras, the same ones like in the courtroom here, so each word of ours,

23     each move was recorded.  This is something that is happening -- that has

24     happened several times.

25             In 1996 -- no, actually, in 2005, again, for two months I was

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 1     prevented from any kind of communication.  I was not able to make phone

 2     calls, receive visits, I could not receive any post because the Registry

 3     had suspicions that I could reveal the identity of some protected witness

 4     on the basis of one private telephone conversation of mine where I said I

 5     heard that such and such a person, who happens to be a businessman in

 6     Serbia, was do some work for the local self-authority in Novi Sad was a

 7     witness in some proceedings.  Without referring to any particular

 8     proceedings, I just said officials of the local government in Novi Sad

 9     are going into all kinds of ventures with him.  This is an immoral person

10     and one should not really be cooperating with him.

11             This is what I said.  And then two months ban on any

12     communication ensued.  And then there was word of a proceedings for

13     contempt of court but this never actually took place, and then eventually

14     I was never informed exactly about what happened with that.

15             So these are all the reasons, why you, Mr. Hall, would need to

16     react immediately to protect my procedural rights, my elementary civil

17     rights.  This is your inherent jurisdiction.  And until you do so, and

18     until I exercise my right to legal assistance, I am not able to plead.  I

19     would like to do that, gladly, but I am not able to because I do not

20     understand the indictment.

21             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you, Mr. Seselj.  What you have said today, of

22     course, is an expansion and continuation of what you said last week.  And

23     we will -- this matter will be taken one step at a time.  And the purpose

24     of this -- of today's hearing is to complete the matter of dealing with

25     your plea.

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 1             So having regard to your lengthy explanation, the Chamber

 2     therefore orders that a plea of not guilty be entered on your behalf.

 3             And the next stages of the hearing against you will proceed in

 4     due course.  And such applications, as you are minded to make, of course,

 5     you will make as advised.

 6             Is there anything else that you wish to say before we adjourn the

 7     hearing?

 8             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do, Mr. Hall.

 9             Last time I raised the issue of the horrible food that we are

10     receiving in the UN Detention Unit.  It might have seemed to you to be an

11     incredible thing, but this is today's lunch that all of us prisoners at

12     the Detention Unit received.  Would be so kind to instruct the usher to

13     take this lunch and to bring it over to you, if you agree.  I don't see

14     any reason for your concern.  This is an original packing.

15             JUDGE HALL:  I don't need to see the item, but you are entitled

16     to make the complaint which you have done.  So the Registrar will be

17     informed of your complaint because, of course, the matter of the food is

18     a matter for the regime which runs the United Nations Detention Unit.

19             So, as I said, you're entitled to lodge the complaint, which you

20     have, and in the event that the authorities at the UNDU would not

21     themselves have earlier been made aware of your complaint, having regard

22     to what you have said in these proceedings in open court, I am requesting

23     the Registrar to bring your complaint directly to the attention of the --

24     those having custody of you at the United Nations Detention Unit.

25             Is there anything else?

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 1             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But, Mr. Hall, it is your duty to

 2     show some interest in all the problems I'm facing at the DU.  I singled

 3     out only one of those problems.  Now you are refusing to receive evidence

 4     of that.  I'm' astonished and astounded.  Why do you not want to receive

 5     it?  It's not poisoned.  This is evidence, and then you can pass it on

 6     either to the Registrar or whoever.

 7             Mr. Hall, let us make a bargain --

 8             JUDGE HALL:  If I might interrupt you, Mr. Seselj.

 9             You have used the word "evidence."  Of course, that -- the use of

10     that word underlines what it is when you're dealing with a court.  A

11     court can only receive evidence according to established rules of

12     procedure.  It isn't practical or useful for a party to just hand up an

13     item and expect a court to make a determination about it.  It is

14     something which would have to be considered by the authority having

15     jurisdiction in the particular matter who will then make a determination

16     having had the opportunity and having had the benefit of hearing all

17     sides on the matter.

18             So if you were to hand up that tray to me, it would be

19     meaningless.  There is nothing that I can do about it.

20             Is there anything else, apart from the food, Mr. Seselj?

21             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, I am the only party to

22     these proceedings.  We do not have the OTP here.

23             The Registry cannot be a party to the proceeding.  They can,

24     however, express their opinions about certain procedure that fall within

25     their purview.  Also, you're not telling me that as a Judge you are a

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 1     party to the proceeding.  The indictment has been drafted by the Judges,

 2     so we don't have a -- contradictory proceedings here that is typically

 3     taken over from the common law.  Here we have an inquisitory proceedings

 4     which are typical of the European system.  Here we have even indictments

 5     issued by the Court itself and it is in the hands of the Court to conduct

 6     the entire proceedings from beginning to end.

 7             Now, Mr. Hall, here's the deal:  Can you please take this, just

 8     taste it a bit, and in return I will remove three of my books and five

 9     documents listed here from my web site.  I think it will make things

10     simple and easy, but please be so kind and receive it from me.

11             JUDGE HALL:  [Overlapping speakers]

12             MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation] I don't want to have to brought it

13     in vain.

14             JUDGE HALL:  Mr. Seselj, I will not allow you to reduce these

15     proceedings to a farce.  Do you have any other complaints apart from the

16     matter of the food which you would wish to bring to the Court's

17     attention?

18             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am putting before you specific

19     facts which you consider a farce.  So what's the point of any further

20     conversation, Mr. Hall, if you believe that I brought this with the risk

21     of having it spilled over my papers in my brief case, you believe that to

22     be a farce.  It's not a farce.  This is concrete evidence which

23     demonstrates the quality of the food at the DU.

24             As soon as I pointed this, the camera moved away from it.  Now it

25     seems the Registry is very anxious not to show this.  I don't know why

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 1     you don't want to receive this.  You are not exposing yourself to any

 2     risk.  Be a human being.  And please find out what kind of food the

 3     prisoners are receiving.

 4             JUDGE HALL:  It appears that Mr. Seselj has nothing else to

 5     raise.

 6             Please take the adjournment.

 7                           --- Whereupon the Further Appearance adjourned

 8                           at 2.54 p.m.