1 Tuesday, 12 June 2012
2 [Pre-Trial Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
7 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE ACCUSED: I couldn't hear anything.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you. And good morning, Your Honours.
10 This is case number IT-03-67-R77.4, In the Matter of
11 Vojislav Seselj.
12 THE ACCUSED: Nothing.
13 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. Good morning to everyone in and
14 around the courtroom.
15 Mr. Seselj, can you hear in Serbian?
16 THE ACCUSED: I couldn't hear anything.
17 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I -- I suppose I have to talk just so that you
18 can test whether you have the translation.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I can hear it now.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
21 Mr. Seselj, I would like, first of all, to make sure that you
22 feel fit for this hearing, as far as your health is concerned.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] First of all, I'm absolutely not
24 going to talk to you about my health.
25 Secondly, I feel fit to take part in this deliberation.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you. That's all I wanted to hear.
2 Now, we have had a pre-trial -- and a first and further
3 appearance already in which we have already also spoken to some extent
4 about certain requests you had. And the Trial Chamber has already, in
5 fact, agreed to your proposal to have one Defence witness; namely,
6 yourself, taking the witness-stand.
7 It was decided in the Scheduling Order of 29 May that Mr. Mirovic
8 would be allowed in the courtroom to do the main examination. Now, I --
9 I cannot see him in the courtroom, and we have had correspondence about
11 What -- what is your position in this regard right now?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I believe that there are no basic
13 presumptions for this hearing to be held today because I have been denied
14 the right to legal assistance.
15 First of all, I submitted a request for the disqualification of
16 Judge Kwon. And you, Mr. Trechsel, didn't give me an opportunity to give
17 the statement of reasons for that at the last Status Conference held on
18 the 17th of April of this year.
19 And, also, I haven't been informed about any ruling taken on that
20 motion. And unless this is resolved, whether based on my oral or written
21 motions, there can be no hearing.
22 Now, as to the issue of scheduling, you have announced that
23 Dejan Mirovic can examine me in-chief. However, on the 29th of May, I
24 received a letter from the Registry. I can give you an English version
25 of that. Would you be so kind to give it to the Registrar.
1 The letter shows that the visit of Mr. Mirovic has been approved.
2 In all other cases, legal advisors just come without any previous
3 announcement, which is not the case in my case. It says that the
4 Registry is unable to compensate for his travel expenses. If it is
5 established that Mr. Mirovic's presence is required, there is an
6 additional provision that the Court might cover his expenses. When you
7 issued this order, the liaison officer said that she had received a
8 message from the Registry that Mirovic would have his travel expenses
10 However, in this decision of the Registrar of the 25th of May, it
11 is said that Mr. Nemanja Sarovic had not been assigned to this case as a
12 Case Manager, which means that his potential visit cannot be carried out
13 in privileged conditions. Nemanja Sarovic was my Case Manager in both
14 first contempt of court proceedings. I advised the Registry that he
15 would be the legal manager in a third proceedings as well. The secretary
16 said that he hasn't been assigned by him. Why does the Registrar have to
17 assign him to me? I assigned Nemanja Sarovic myself, and this is my
18 indisputable will. The Registry does not have the right to dispute my
20 I submitted a witness list in good time, pursuant to 65 ter Rule
21 in which I stated and laid out general terms of my testimony. I asked
22 for ten hours, whereas, you granted me two hours for
23 examination-in-chief. However, I was denied legal aid for me to
24 participate in this hearing today successfully. My wish was to have my
25 Case Manager and legal advisor yesterday so that we can draw up a list of
1 the questions that I'm going to be asked, which is the standard procedure
2 at this court. I wanted both of them to be present here in the courtroom
3 and to stay with me tomorrow so that we can agree about the possible
4 appeals because we all know very well how this Court operates and what
5 its intentions are.
6 As for the issue of travel costs, that's not an issue that is
7 directly related to financing the legal representation. My main trial
8 was absolutely irregular because my right from Article 21 granting me
9 remuneration for the preparation of proper Defence was denied. I never
10 asked for any money for these auxiliary contempt of court proceedings.
11 All I'm asking is for the travel expenses to be covered. All these three
12 trials for the contempt of court involves something that I committed in
13 Belgrade, not in The Hague, and these are not war crimes or crimes of
14 genocide, or crimes against humanity, or violations are the
15 Geneva Conventions. Those were the crimes that you have made up and
16 qualified them as contempt of court. And if I committed these felonies
17 in Belgrade, then I should have been tried in Belgrade, pursuant to the
18 territorial principle.
19 Again, you don't want to listen to me.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Seselj, I am indeed interrupting you because
21 you are talking about the merits and that is not the moment to do this.
22 You will have ample occasion to do that later on in the course of this
24 I want to address your objections. The two you have mentioned
25 first. As to the recusation --
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Why don't you allow me to finish.
2 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Overlapping speakers] Mr. Seselj, no. No,
3 Mr. Seselj. I direct this trial and I say when, who is going to speak.
4 And, at this moment, I am addressing two points that you have raised, in
5 order to have some order, and have one point dealt with after the other
6 so that we do not mix it up and get lost.
7 You have challenged Judge Kwon orally here in the second -- in
8 the Further Appearance. But as have you been made aware and as you
9 definitely know, certainly know, such a challenge must be presented in
10 writing with reasoning. You have not presented such a motion. And,
11 therefore, this Chamber had no reason to address this issue at all.
12 So this is not a valid point.
13 As to the scheduling, the Chamber is also aware of the situation,
14 and it was also -- it did also receive the letter that you have given us
15 in copy. And here, again, we have taken a decision. We have allowed
16 Mr. Mirovic to come here, and we have denied Mr. Sarovic to be brought
17 along because this is such a simple case that there is no justification
18 and certainly no need for a Case Manager.
19 These are my answers, the answers of the Chamber, to your first
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] First of all, Mr. Trechsel, nowhere
22 in the Rules of Procedure does it say that a request for disqualification
23 has to be submitted in writing. Take a look at Rule number 11.
24 Therefore, an oral objection has the legal validity of a written
1 Secondly, you say that this is a simple case. Why didn't you
2 finalise it a year ago? Why have you been delaying it for a whole year
3 if it is so simple? Why didn't you do it in an efficient manner? Why
4 are you violating my right to have an efficient trial?
5 You could have finalised this in chamber and just sent me the
6 ruling by mail. This case is not simple. This case has no precedent in
7 no legal system of the civilised world, nor in the customary
8 international law, nor in the Statute or the Rules of Procedure of the
9 permanent International Criminal Court. This is yet another example of
10 the wilful behaviour of this Court.
11 I did not go into the merit of this case. I said that if you are
12 trying me, 2.000 kilometres from the place where the crime took place,
13 then the minimum concession should be that you pay for the travel
14 expenses for my Case Manager. I'm the only one whose Case Manager was
15 facing these kind of problems, and I'm not going to allow that; or, if
16 you decide to pursue that course, then you're going to try me
17 in absentia.
18 This is what I had to tell you.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, that is -- it is, of course, your choice
20 ultimately whether you participate in the trial or not. It is a right
21 that you have.
22 As far as the challenge is concerned, the request to disqualify a
23 Judge, this Chamber has made you aware of this in the order on matters
24 raised by the accused during the Further Initial Appearance of 24 April.
25 And I may recall that it says, noting in relation to the second
1 statement, that Rule B(i) of the Rules provides that:
2 "Any party may apply to the Presiding Judge of a Chamber for the
3 disqualification and withdrawal of a Judge of that Chamber ..." and, "...
4 the Presiding Judge shall confer with the Judge in question and report to
5 the President."
6 And further the Chamber considered that the grounds for such a
7 challenge need to be substantiated.
8 Now, you were even ordered to file any written substantiation of
9 the second statement and you have not done that. So the Chamber must
10 reject your objections at this point. You simply did not validly
11 challenge the impartiality and the independence of Judge Kwon. And that
12 ends the discussion on this point, Mr. Seselj.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, that can't end the discussion
14 if I have counter-arguments.
15 First of all, nowhere is it stated that a written request is
17 It says that every -- each party can request the
18 disqualification, withdrawal, of a Judge. And at the end of the order,
19 you say that you're ordering the accused to give a written explanation of
20 the other statement within seven days after this order has been received
21 in a language that he understands.
22 So it says: It might be necessary to do this. I submitted a
23 request. The request became part of the record. The request has to be
24 answered by decision. It has to be accepted or dismissed. I tried to
25 provide an oral explanation of the request. You prevented me from doing
2 You are now offering me the possibility of perhaps providing a
3 statement of reasons in writing. I don't want to do that. And that is
4 because in the last paragraph of your order, it says: You might have to
5 submit a request. I won't submit a written request. I provided a
6 request in -- orally, and you interrupted me, and you like to do that
7 today, too. You like to emphasise the procedural role you have to play.
8 You decide about everything. But there is someone who is putting you on
9 trial. You're putting me on trial and the public is putting you on
10 trial, and we will see who fairs well in that trial.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We are not here to argue, Mr. Seselj. The
12 Chamber has taken a decision, and that's it. Later on, you may appeal
13 any judgement of this Chamber, but this discussion now is over. We're
14 not going to go back and forth, exchanging or repeating, rather, the same
16 We are also not coming back on our decision that Mr. Mirovic is
17 allowed to be here, but not Mr. Sarovic, the other lawyer -- the other
18 person that you wanted as a Case Manager. This Chamber has examined the
19 question of whether there was any serious need for a Case Manager in this
20 case, and this case is so very simple that the Chamber concluded there is
21 no such necessity. And, again, that -- that is a decision of this
22 Chamber, and it is not going to be changed.
23 Does it change your attitude? Do I have to assume that you then
24 refuse to take part in the trial and waive your right to be present and
25 to defend yourself, in fact?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Trechsel, how can you say that
2 your Chamber's decision won't be amended? How do you know that in
3 advance? It can also be re-examined at my request or the request of some
4 other party. And you must always bear in mind the possibility that it
5 might be changed. How do you know that it will never be changed? How
6 can you know that in advance? What kind of a Judge are you? What sort
7 of legal system do you come from?
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I take your point. I will consult with my
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: We will adjourn for a break of five to ten
13 --- Break taken at 9.25 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 9.32 a.m.
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The hearing is resumed.
16 Mr. Seselj, the Chamber has deliberated, taking into account what
17 you have said this morning, and it has concluded that it stays with its
19 So you will be able to make statements as a witness, and you will
20 be questioned by the Presiding Judge of this Chamber, and you will have
21 also the opportunity to make final submissions.
22 This is our decision, and this -- having said this, I would like
23 to ask you about your final submissions. How long do you anticipate that
24 you will wish to address the Chamber?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In the absence of my legal advisor
1 and Case Manager, I'm not able to testify because there is no one to
2 conduct the examination-in-chief, and without the possibility of directly
3 consulting them, although I speak to my legal advisor regularly over the
4 phone, I nevertheless need to have direct contact with him.
5 So without such assistance I cannot present my Defence, and
6 without such aid from Mr. Dejan Mirovic and without the assistance of
7 Nemanja Sarovic, my Case Manager, I cannot present any final submissions.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Seselj, it is for the Chamber to determine
9 how the procedures are held, and the Chamber has determined that it will
10 hold a trial.
11 This brings our Pre-Trial Conference to an end, and, as we have
12 announced previously, we shall immediately proceed to the trial itself.
13 You have received the Order in Lieu of Indictment, Mr. Seselj,
14 and you have access to all the documents referred to therein. So we come
15 to the phase where the Defence presents its evidence, and I invite you,
16 as you have announced, to take the witness-stand. I can, and my
17 colleagues, do the examination as is normally done in proceedings,
18 according to the continental system, which is not very different from the
19 former Yugoslavian system, actually.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm not able to present the Defence
21 case. And you cannot examine me against my will. The system in this
22 Court is very different from the European continental system and from the
23 system in place in Serbia, or, rather, in the former Yugoslavia. You
24 cannot examine me if I do not agree to that. And you will not examine me
1 I won't take the witness-stand because I haven't been given the
2 possibility of preparing the Defence case. So you may hand down your
3 Judgement immediately. I've saved you a lot of time. You had planned to
4 work until 7.00 in the evening, the whole day.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I -- I have to correct you in one point,
6 Mr. Seselj. Also, according to the continental system, an accused has no
7 obligation whatsoever to make a statement. And you have, indeed, the
8 right not to make a statement. It means that you waive the right to
9 present evidence, and that you can absolutely do.
10 Do I also take it that you also waive the right to present final
11 submissions to the Chamber?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I haven't waived any of my rights.
13 I haven't waived the right to present a Defence case, and I haven't
14 waived the right to present final submissions before the Trial Chamber.
15 I am complaining in public because I haven't been given the
16 possibility of preparing my Defence case in an adequate manner. Because
17 what is happening to me is something that has never happened in any other
18 cases that have appeared before The Hague Tribunal. I'm not waiving any
19 rights, but I don't want to participate in any proceedings until I'm
20 given the possibility of having my legal advisor, Dejan Mirovic, and my
21 Case Manager, Nemanja Sarovic, present and until I am given the
22 possibility of having contact with them.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Well, Mr. Seselj, it is for the Chamber rather
24 than for yourself to interpret your own behaviour. And you may say that
25 it is not a waiver, but the fact is that you have the opportunity now and
1 you do not want to use it. And that is your right, in fact. I mean,
2 there is no obligation for you.
3 Do you have anything to add?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, yes, I could take the
5 witness-stand, but I am afraid that you will trick me at any moment. So
6 this is why I need to prepare with my legal advisor and Case Manager in a
7 timely manner, because I don't trust you, any of you. I don't trust any
8 of the Judges of The Hague Tribunal because I'm aware of the fact that
9 there is not a single decent man who would accept to become a Judge at
10 this Tribunal, and it is for this reason that I don't trust any of you.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Your last sentence, Mr. Seselj, is offensive,
12 and I must protest against that, and I regret that do you not trust the
13 Judges of this Tribunal, but I don't think there's much that we can do
14 about this.
15 If there are no further issues -- do my colleagues want to add
16 something? No.
17 Well, then ...
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The Chamber will have another break for
20 deliberations, and the hearing is adjourned for about five to ten
22 --- Break taken at 9.42 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 9.54 a.m.
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: The hearing is resumed.
25 The Chamber, after having deliberated, has decided, as follows:
1 It will now adjourn the hearing, to be resumed on Monday morning,
2 18th of June, at 9.00. The basic rules for the hearing are not changed;
3 that is to say, the Chamber maintains that Mr. Mirovic is welcome in the
4 courtroom to question Mr. Seselj, as an accused witness, but no
5 assistance by a Case Manager is warranted.
6 And this is also meant as a warning. In case, Mr. Seselj, that
7 you will persist in the attitude you have displayed today, the Chamber
8 will go on with the trial. It will not change the basic rules. But it
9 gives you a last chance to ponder over the attitude you will take in this
11 With this, the hearing is adjourned.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 9.57 a.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Monday, the 18th day of June,
14 2012, at 9.00 a.m.