Case: IT-98-29-T

IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER

Before:
Judge Alphons Orie, Presiding
Judge Amin El Mahdi
Judge Rafael Nieto-Navia

Registrar:
Mr Hans Holthuis

Decision of:
11 September 2002

PROSECUTOR
v.
STANISLAV GALIC

________________________________________

DECISION ON THE ADMISSION INTO EVIDENCE OF DOCUMENTS TENDERED FROM THE BAR TABLE BY THE PROSECUTOR

________________________________________

Office of the Prosecutor:

Mr. Mark Ierace

Counsel for the Defence:

Ms. Mara Pilipovic
Mr. Stephane Piletta-Zanin

 

TRIAL CHAMBER I Section B ("the Chamber") of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 ("the Tribunal");

NOTING that on 2 August 2002 the Prosecution tendered several documents from the bar table ("the Documents"), as well as a videotape, marked P 2347 and transcripts thereof 1("the Video");

NOTING that the Chamber provisionally admitted all the Documents and gave the Defence the opportunity to make objections in writing by 26 August2;

NOTING that the Chamber stayed its decision on admission of the Video on the ground that it first needed to visualise it;

NOTING the oral argument of the parties heard on 2 August 2002;

NOTING the "Defenceís Submissions in Relation to the Prosecutionís Request for Admission of Documents into Evidences" ("the Defence Submissions"), filed on 22 August 2002, where the Defence objects to the admission of the Video, as well as some of the Documents;

NOTING that the Defence does not object to the admission of the Documents marked P 5, P 5.1, P 8, P 8.1, P 10, P 10.1, P 58, P 58.1, P 82, P 82.1, P 153, P 153.1, P 276, P 276.1, P 1472, P 1472.1, P 2073, P2073.1, P 2293, P 2293.1, P 2324, P 2324.1, P 2465, P 2465.1, P 2858 and P 2858.1;

NOTING that the Video consists of a compilation of TV sequences where the accused is shown or mentioned as being interviewed by journalists, visiting and / or speaking to units of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps ("the SRK"), or having contacts with high-rank UNPROFOR officers;

NOTING that the first sequence is an interview of General Abdel-Razek, an UNPROFOR Commander of the Sarajevo Sector, who testified before the Chamber on 15 and 16 July 2002;

NOTING that the Defence objects to the admission of the Video on the grounds that (i) the sources and dates of the TV sequences compiled in the Video are unknown3; (ii) the sequences, being mere excerpts of longer TV reports, are pulled out of their context and necessarily convey a twisted picture of the reality; (iii) the Video should have been produced during the testimony of witness Abdel-Razek4;

NOTING that the Prosecution responded that (i) the sources of the recorded events, while unknown to the Prosecution, could be obtained by the Defence by asking the accused directly5; (ii) the segments put together manifestly originate from the local Serbian TV6; (iii) the sources and dates of the sequences are in any event irrelevant as it cannot be denied that General Galic is the person being interviewed7 during the time period covered in the indictment8; (iv) the Video was disclosed to the Defence on 26 November 2001, and the Defence had full opportunity to use it during the testimony of Witness Abdel-Razek if it so wished;9

CONSIDERING that the Video only provides a general picture of the accused while exercising his function as the Commander of the SRK;

CONSIDERING that, having received no further explanation from the Prosecution, the Video seems to mainly demonstrate that General Galic was acting as the Commander of the SRK;

CONSIDERING that the Video gives no specific information on any particular event mentioned in the indictment;

CONSIDERING that the Defence does not contest that the accused was acting as the Commander of the SRK during the period covered in the indictment;

CONSIDERING that the Video would hardly assist the Chamber in the determinations it has to make;

CONSIDERING that evidence should as a rule be presented in court, in order to respect the right of the accused to a public trial and have the evidence tested in court; that, while official public documents can exceptionally be admitted from the bar table, this method of tendering evidence is much more problematic for an exhibit such as the Video, which contains sequences that were put together and edited by the Prosecution;

CONSIDERING that the Prosecution was in possession of the Video since at least 26 November 2001; that it therefore had the opportunity to tender the Video through a witness;

CONSIDERING that, in view of both the limited contribution of the Video to the Prosecution case and the manner in which it was tendered, the Video should not be admitted;

NOTING that the document marked P 13, entitled "Instructions to the 4th Corps Command on carrying out priority assignments in peace and wartime", relates to the 4th Corps of the Yugoslav Popular Army (JNA);

NOTING that the Defence objects to the admission of the document on the ground that it is irrelevant, as the 4th Corps was not in operation during the period covered in the indictment and that the instructions thereto are hence irrelevant;

NOTING that the Prosecution argues that the SRK traces its history back to the former JNA 4th Corps;10

CONSIDERING that the expert witness Richard Phillips relied on this document while describing the various units composing the SRK in his report;11

CONSIDERING that this document could help analyse the aforementioned report and is thus relevant;

NOTING that the document marked P 1591 relates to activities carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the former Yugoslavia before September 1993, particularly the dissemination of international humanitarian law, and to the abuse of the Red Cross insignias by the warring parties;

NOTING that the Defence objects to the admission of the document on the ground that it contains information which would need to be tested in court;

CONSIDERING that the abuse of Red Cross insignias by the warring parties is not part of the Prosecution case, and the knowledge of international humanitarian law by the accused is not contested;

CONSIDERING further that the document bears no signature, stamp or any indication of the identity of its author(s), raising doubts as to its authenticity;

CONSIDERING therefore that the document marked P1591 is irrelevant;

NOTING that the document marked P 3150 is a letter addressed by the Deputy Commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska to the Personnel Administration of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia in 1996; that it relates to the promotion of the accused to the rank of lieutenant general and praises the accused for his actions as the Corps Commander of the SRK;

NOTING that the Defence objects against its admission on the ground that it does not fall within the period covered in the indictment, and is therefore irrelevant;

CONSIDERING that the document would only constitute evidence that the accused was the Commander of the SRK during the period of the indictment, a fact that is agreed upon by the parties;12

CONSIDERING that the Defence, while it does not contest that the accused was the Commander of the SRK, has argued in its pre-trial brief that the accused did not have full effective control over every unit under his command;13

CONSIDERING that the document is therefore irrelevant;

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS,

PURSUANT to Rule 89 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("the Rules");

CONFIRMS the admission of the Documents marked as P 5, P 5.1, P 8, P 8.1, P 10, P 10.1, P 13, P13.1, P 58, P 58.1, P 82, P 82.1, P 153, P 153.1, P 276, P 276.1, P 1472, P 1472.1, P 2073, P2073.1, P 2293, P 2293.1, P 2324, P 2324.1, P 2465, P 2465.1, P 2858 and P 2858.1.

DOES NOT ADMIT into evidence the Video and the Documents marked as P 1591, P1591.1, P 3150 and P 3150.1.

 

Done in English and French, the English version being authoritative.

Done this eleventh day of September 2002
At The Hague,
The Netherlands.

______________________
Alphons Orie
Presiding Judge, Trial Chamber

[Seal of the Tribunal]


1 - P 2347.1, B/C/S transcript; P 2347.2, English translation.
2 - T. 13044.
3 - T. 13032.
4 - T. 13035.
5 - T. 13033-34.
6 - Ibid.
7 - Ibid.
8 - T. 13036-37.
9 - T. 13035.
10 - Prosecutor's Pre-Trial Brief, para. 10.
11 - Expert Report by Richard Phillips, pages 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
12 - Decision of 16 November 2001, p. 3.
13 - Pre-trial Brief of the Defence, para. 2.33, 2.36, 5.5, 7.14 and 2.39.