1 Monday, 16 July 2007
2 [Further appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: Good morning, everyone.
7 I would like the registrar to call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour. This is case number
9 IT-05-87/1-I, the Prosecutor versus Vlastimir Djordjevic.
10 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much. And could I please ask for
11 the appearances for the parties?
12 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour. Tom Hannis on behalf of the
13 Office of the Prosecutor, assisted by our case manager, Susan Grogan, this
14 morning. Thank you.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: Welcome to you and for the Defence?
16 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
17 morning to my colleagues. I'm Jelena Nikolic, temporarily assigned
18 counsel for Mr. Vlastimir Djordjevic.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, Ms. Nikolic.
20 Well, and good morning to you, Mr. Djordjevic. We are here today
21 to finish the initial appearance which we started a couple of weeks ago,
22 and in which you, Mr. Djordjevic, chose to postpone your entry of your
23 plea for 30 days until today. So what we are going to do today is to have
24 your plea to the charges raised against you in the indictment, formally
25 entered in the books of this Court.
1 So I guess there are a couple of issues which I would like to ask
2 you before we move to the entry of your plea, and the first issue, of
3 course, is the question of counsel, and I'm putting my question to you,
4 Ms. Nikolic. What is the status about the choice of counsel for the
5 accused? Could you please brief us?
6 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have limited
7 information about this. As you know, I have been appointed as the on-duty
8 counsel and as far as I have been informed by Mr. Djordjevic, the
9 procedure to choose a Defence counsel is underway and I'm unable at this
10 point to tell you when that will be completed.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much. Have you had a chance
12 actually to discuss the indictment with Mr. Djordjevic?
13 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We discussed the
14 indictment, and Mr. Djordjevic read the indictment. We discussed it and
15 he understands fully all the counts of the indictment against him.
16 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much. I think I should hear this
17 from you directly, Mr. Djordjevic: Did you receive the files that we
18 ordered the Prosecution to disclose to you and have you had a chance to
19 study this material in the two or three weeks which have gone by since we
20 had our first initial appearance? And have you understood fully the
21 charges raised against you in the indictment?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I received all the material from the
23 Prosecution, and I have read it, and I understand what the indictment and
24 the material is about, yes.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much. I'm glad for this. And in
1 the decision that we took after the first initial appearance last time, I
2 ordered that the time limit for filing of possible preliminary motions
3 only starts to run once a permanent counsel has been assigned to you.
4 So I hope that you will solve or have solved the problem of your
5 choice of counsel very soon so that we can, so to say, begin working on
6 the preparation of the case. But for now, as I said, we will proceed to
7 the entry of your plea to the charges, and it's according to the rules,
8 Rule 62, that we shall have to do this today. We cannot postpone once
9 again. So the moment has come where you have to enter your plea, and if
10 you do not wish to enter a plea, then I am, according to the rules,
11 obliged to enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf. Have you understood
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I understand that and I will plead
14 at this time.
15 JUDGE HARHOFF: Very well. Then the only issue that remains is
16 the issue of how you wish to proceed. The normal thing would be to have
17 the indictment read out to you in its entirety, but you can waive this
18 right and I shall then instead briefly summarise the charges against you.
19 Do you wish to have the indictment read out to you in its entirety?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No. I do not wish to have the
21 indictment read, and I can plead right away.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
23 Any observations from the Prosecution?
24 MR. HANNIS: No, Your Honour, thank you.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: In that case, we will proceed.
1 Your case is related to the trial against Milutinovic and others,
2 and you are all together charged with a number of crimes relating to the
3 acts that took place in Kosovo in 1999.
4 Count 1 of the indictment against you charges you with deportation
5 as a crime against humanity. This is punishable under Article 5(d) of the
6 Statute, and you are charged for this for organising the forcible
7 deportation of approximately 800.000 Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999, by
8 forcing them out of their homes and across the borders into the
9 neighbouring countries of Albania, Macedonia and Serbia.
10 Mr. Djordjevic, do you plead guilty or not guilty to this charge?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much. And we will enter a plea of
13 not guilty to count 1.
14 Count 2 charges you on the basis of the same acts with other
15 inhumane acts taking the form of forcible transfer, also as a crime
16 against humanity, punishable under Article 5(i) of the Statute.
17 Mr. Djordjevic, do you plead guilty or not guilty to this count?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
20 Count 3 charges you with murder, also as a crime against humanity,
21 through widespread, systematic and coordinated actions throughout the
22 province of Kosovo punishable under Article 5(a) of the Statute by
23 shooting, shelling, burning or beating to death many hundreds of Kosovo
24 Albanian civilians and other persons not taking any active part in the
25 hostilities, and the names of the victims are included in the schedules A
1 through K which are annexed to the indictment.
2 Mr. Djordjevic, do you plead guilty or not guilty to this charge?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
5 Count 4 also charges you on the basis of these same acts with
6 murder as a violation of the laws and customs of war punishable under
7 Article 3 of the Statute and recognised by Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva
8 Conventions. Do you, Mr. Djordjevic, plead guilty or not guilty to this
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
12 And the fifth and final count raised against you in the indictment
13 charges you with persecution as a crime against humanity, punishable under
14 Article 5(h) of the Statute for executing a campaign of persecution
15 against the Kosovo Albanian population, including Kosovo Albanian
16 civilians based on political, racial or religious grounds, for the
17 forcible deportation and transfer of approximately 800.000 Kosovo Albanian
18 civilians and for the murder of hundreds of Kosovo Albanian civilians and
19 other persons taking no active part in the hostilities and for the sexual
20 assaults by forces of the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia of
21 Kosovo Albanian women, and finally for the wanton destruction or damage of
22 the religious sites of Kosovo Albanians.
23 Do you plead guilty or not guilty to this count, Mr. Djordjevic?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much, Mr. Djordjevic. This
1 completes the entry of your plea and you have now plead not guilty to all
2 five counts raised in the indictment.
3 I don't know if you have any matters that you wish to raise before
4 we adjourn this hearing. Please do so.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] When the first initial appearance
6 was held, I gave inadvertently wrong information about the place where I
7 was at the time of the arrest. I said that I was in Belgrade in the
8 street called Beogradskog Bataljona 39 which is where my former residence
9 is located. I wish to inform you that I left my family in May of 2001,
10 following which I stayed in a number of foreign countries. On the -- in
11 2003, I returned to Montenegro and until the moment of my arrest, I stayed
12 in -- I had stayed in various places throughout Montenegro. One year, in
13 the period one year before my arrest, I stayed in Budva in the street
14 called Veliki Vinogradi in a newly-built building there. I also wish to
15 say that none of the authorities or state organs in Montenegro were aware
16 of my stay in that country.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much. This is very useful
18 information. Do you have any comments to make in respect of your
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No comments concerning the
21 conditions of my detention except the problems that I have in relation to
22 engaging counsel, who would be court-appointed. I'm in contact with the
23 Registry and we are now going through all the conditions and requirements
24 for counsel to be appointed. I hope that the Registry will accept my
25 requirements so that counsel can be appointed. There are some problems
1 there, but I hope that the Registry staff will be able to resolve this.
2 Thank you.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: I hope so too. Because it is important that you
4 get a counsel as soon as possible so that you will have a chance to work
5 with your counsel. I, too, have been briefed by the Registry, and I am
6 aware of the problems regarding choice of your counsel, language problems
7 most, as I understand. And I hope that you are also ready to accept the
8 importance of your counsel being able to speak either English or French
9 because that will indeed facilitate the proceedings very much.
10 But as soon as you have been assigned a counsel, then we will
11 start working. I think that the normal way of -- normal course of
12 proceedings would be that your counsel is given a couple of months to
13 familiarise himself with the case and, of course, also to familiarise
14 himself with what has been going on in the Milutinovic trial. And then
15 once he has had a chance to do so, we will then call the parties to
16 meetings under Rule 65 ter of the Rules of Procedure for the Tribunal.
17 That will enable the Court to sit down with the parties and to address the
18 issues raised in the indictment. And eventually, when the pre-trial phase
19 is over, the case will then be made ready for trial.
20 Can I ask the parties if they have any additional remarks to make?
21 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'm not sure how we proceed now. Will
22 we have another hearing once that permanent counsel is appointed? Or how
23 should we go forward from here?
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: As for the initial appearance as such, what has
25 taken place today is what needs to take place, namely, that the accused
1 has entered his plea. Once a counsel is assigned, I do not see any need
2 for a new hearing. That would be pointless, in my view, unless there are
3 any particular reasons for meeting up in a public hearing with a new
4 counsel. Unless that is so, I don't see much purpose in calling for
5 another hearing. As I said, what I expect will happen is that the new
6 counsel will then sit down with Mr. Djordjevic and go through the material
7 and then, once he has been given sometime to do this, we will start the
8 pre-trial proceedings with regular 65 ter meetings and an occasional
9 status conference also. So that's how I expect the case to proceed from
10 now on.
11 MR. HANNIS: Okay. I raise it Your Honour, because I note in Rule
12 62(A)(5), it says in the case of a plea of not guilty, the Court shall
13 instruct the registrar to set a date for trial. When he doesn't even have
14 a permanent counsel it doesn't seem to be a very practical thing to do,
15 but that's why I raised the issue.
16 JUDGE HARHOFF: I'm fully aware of that.
17 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: We don't need a hearing to order the registrar to
19 make the date ready for trial.
20 Mrs. Nikolic, do you have anything you wish to add at this point?
21 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] No, thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: In that case, it remains only for me to thank you
23 warmly for your assistance so far, and Mr. Djordjevic, you have nothing
24 else to add? That is very well. We can then conclude. Thank you all.
25 This meeting is adjourned.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 9.22 a.m.