Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 54

1 Wednesday, 27 September 2000

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 4.12 p.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, would the Registrar call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Case number

8 IT-00-39-PT, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.

9 JUDGE MAY: Appearances, please.

10 MS. HOLLIS: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Brenda Hollis and

11 Nicola Piacente appear on behalf of the Prosecutor assisted by

12 Mrs. Carmela Javier, and Mr. Brett Simpson who is the lead investigator

13 for the case.

14 MR. NESKOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour, my

15 name is Goran Neskovic. I represent Mr. Krajisnik.

16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, thank you. The Status Conference is called

17 because the Rules require it. In any event, we need to see what progress

18 is being made for this case.

19 Yes, Ms. Hollis, perhaps you can let us know.

20 MS. HOLLIS: Thank you, Your Honour. Your Honour in regard to the

21 process of witness selection, I can report that of the 105 confirmation

22 witnesses, we have been able to contact 84 of those witnesses to determine

23 their availability for trial. Seventy-eight of them have indicated they

24 are willing to testify. Six have refused to testify because of fear of

25 retaliation upon returning to Republika Srpska. These are basically, Your

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1 Honour, the crime base witnesses.

2 In regard to international witnesses and linkage witnesses, we

3 have prioritised 15 potential witnesses for contact and interviews. We

4 have been able to arrange initial interviews with two of those witnesses.

5 We are in the process of scheduling interviews for the other 13 in the

6 next two or three months.

7 Your Honour, in regard to disclosure, since our last Status

8 Conference, but very recently, I would add, we have provided the following

9 information to the Defence: We have provided approximately 55 additional

10 documents relating to 19 of the confirmation witnesses who have agreed to

11 testify, and we continue a comprehensive search of our database for all of

12 the witnesses or potential witnesses. We have provided one binder of

13 potentially relevant documents that were provided to the Office of the

14 Prosecutor by Republika Srpska officials. We have provided one CD rom

15 containing potentially relevant documents relating to different Bosnian

16 Serb organisations. That consists of approximately 1.500 pages of

17 documents, Your Honour.

18 We have also provided Defence counsel very recently with a copy of

19 the indictment in which we have numbered the material facts, the

20 allegations, and the counts for Defence counsel's consideration and review

21 so that we can determine if Defence counsel and the accused might be

22 willing to stipulate to any of those numbered items. We have also

23 provided Defence counsel very recently with 537 adjudicated facts for his

24 consideration to determine if we can reach stipulations or agreements to

25 any of those adjudicated facts.

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1 Your Honour, at the last Status Conference, I briefed the Trial

2 Chamber on the very broad search that the Office of the Prosecutor was

3 undertaking for all of its documentary information. We are progressing on

4 that search. We have completed the initial search of the main database.

5 That search was intended to be able to weed out duplicates of documents.

6 That phase is completed.

7 We are now at the phase of initial review of those culled out

8 documents. Twelve per cent of that search has been completed. I would

9 note, Your Honour, that after our initial search where we were able to get

10 rid of duplicates, we ended up with approximately 104.000 documents of

11 potential relevance. Those are the documents we are now engaged in

12 conducting more discrete reviews of.

13 In regard to the seized document collections which are in B/C/S or

14 Cyrillic, we are outsourcing approximately half of the 750.000 pages of

15 those documents so that they can be scanned in. We will do an internal

16 scan of the remaining half. We are in the process of obtaining a

17 programme, which is not a commercial programme, that would translate those

18 documents in order to facilitate searching them based on our word criteria

19 that we are using for our main database. So that is progressing at the

20 rate we believed it would progress at, Your Honour.

21 Your Honour, there is one matter to discuss in addition to that.

22 At the time of the accused's detention by SFOR, certain items were seized

23 from the accused. The Office of the Prosecutor initially was in

24 possession of a small number of those items and by letter dated 28 July,

25 we notified Defence counsel of what items we had and where those items

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1 were. Either they had been returned to the accused or we continued to

2 have them.

3 On the 31st of August, Your Honour, we were provided with many

4 more documents from SFOR authorities, documents that had been seized but

5 had not been turned over to us until the 31st. We were also given an

6 inventory of those documents.

7 By letter dated 26 September, and in discussions yesterday with

8 Defence counsel, we have indicated to the Defence counsel that we do have

9 those items. We have given them the inventory of those items. We have

10 indicated which items we are prepared to return to the accused at this

11 time and which items we have engaged in further review before we can make

12 a determination about their return.

13 Your Honour, in brief, that is the Prosecution's report as to

14 actions that have been taken since our last Status Conference.

15 JUDGE MAY: Ms. Hollis, let's look at that, dealing first of all

16 with the witnesses. You referred to the 105 contacted to do with the

17 crime base. The figure which you mentioned before was something in the

18 region of 160 witnesses. Now, of the 105 that you've mentioned and the 15

19 international, are there any other outstanding witnesses who you've got to

20 deal with and decide whether you're going to call?

21 MS. HOLLIS: I apologise, Your Honour, if I was not clear. One

22 hundred and five is the number of witness statements that were used in the

23 confirmation. There are additional witnesses that we are looking at who

24 were not used in the confirmation materials. Of those 105 witnesses whose

25 statements were used in the confirmation materials, we have contacted 84.

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1 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I have that.

2 MS. HOLLIS: So there are additional witnesses, Your Honour, and

3 we're in the process of putting those together so that we can make

4 selections to minimise the number we would ultimately have to call.

5 JUDGE MAY: Very well. And you are pursuing, as suggested, a

6 course of seeing what you can deal with by way of affidavits and that sort

7 of thing, to avoid any duplication.

8 MS. HOLLIS: Yes, Your Honour. Once we are able to put together a

9 pool, and we believe it will be a larger pool that we ultimately called,

10 but a pool of the witnesses we believe would be potential witnesses, then

11 we will look at the ones we believe are the best ones to call. We believe

12 because witnesses sometimes change their mind, issues arise at trial.

13 What we will ultimately present to you and to the Defence will be a list

14 of potential witnesses broken down in some organisational way that will

15 show our primary selections as well as alternates, should something happen

16 to require those. Once we've done that, then of course we'll be looking

17 at what we can do by way of affidavits. But until we have culled down to

18 who we believe we need to call, we won't know what it is we need to

19 corroborate. But we certainly have the affidavit venue in mind, Your

20 Honour.

21 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, I welcome the fact that you've got as far

22 as setting out stipulations and admissions, and also, as suggested,

23 adjudicated facts. That is a helpful step, if I may say.

24 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, I might add to that: The adjudicated

25 facts presented to date relate only to the Tadic judgement and to the

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1 Celebici judgement. We are now in the process of reviewing additional

2 judgements and believe that we will have additional adjudicated facts from

3 those judgements that we will present to the Defence as well.

4 JUDGE MAY: And of course, if matters can either be found to be

5 adjudicated, or stipulations or admissions are made, that will reduce the

6 number of witnesses that you will have to call.

7 MS. HOLLIS: Yes, Your Honour. And I would note, Your Honour,

8 that we have had two opportunities to speak with Defence counsel since our

9 Status Conference. Our discussions are fruitful. I believe that they are

10 very candid and open and that we have established a very good working

11 relationship, always keeping in mind, of course, that Defence counsel must

12 ultimately abide by his view of what is best for his client and his

13 client's view.

14 JUDGE MAY: Of course. And speaking for the Trial Chamber, any

15 such cooperation is to be encouraged. The advantage of it is that it

16 means the trial can be more expeditious than otherwise would be the case.

17 MS. HOLLIS: Yes, Your Honour.

18 JUDGE MAY: And that is in the interests of all.

19 MS. HOLLIS: Well agree with that wholeheartedly, Your Honour.

20 JUDGE MAY: But what I propose today is to set a target date for

21 this trial. We are not in a position to set a trial date, because it's at

22 this stage not known how the Trial Chamber's work is going to be arranged

23 next year. We are starting a new trial at the beginning of the year, but

24 we should be looking to the middle of the year to fix a date for this

25 trial, provided that there is no other work. But I think it's in

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1 everybody's interest that we have a target date for this trial for it to

2 be ready. And the date which, having looked at the calendar, I have in

3 mind as a target date is the 28th of May. That will be more than a year

4 since the accused was brought before the Tribunal, and in my judgement

5 should be sufficient for the preparation of the case.

6 But let me ask you about the documents before I hear your

7 submissions about that. There do seem to be an enormous number of

8 documents.

9 MS. HOLLIS: Yes, Your Honour. Certainly we don't intend to

10 present Your Honours with 104.000 documents, but in order to present the

11 most probative documents, we believe that it is necessary to do this

12 review, and that's what we're undertaking now. And of course, to ensure

13 that we meet our obligations under Rule 68, we also believe that that is

14 important. So the idea of this is that we have, over a long period of

15 time, accumulated many documents, and we have not had the resources, both

16 in terms of hardware and software, to get that as organised as we wish

17 to.

18 It is particularly critical that we do this organisation when we

19 are dealing with accused who, in our view, held very high positions of

20 authority, because of course then the scope of the allegations and the

21 charges is very broad. So that is why we are doing a yeoman's effort of

22 working through these documents, but it is with the view to achieve what

23 Your Honour suggested in our last Status Conference, and that is to choose

24 those documents which are the most probative for this case, but also

25 having knowledge of other documents which, given things that may arise at

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1 trial or issues that may arise, we can reach those documents if they would

2 be of assistance. So it is with the view of culling those down and doing

3 a very sort of a siphon approach, where we cull them down to what we

4 believe are the smallest number we can present and present our case. That

5 is the goal towards which we are striving.

6 JUDGE MAY: What is the nature of the documents?

7 MS. HOLLIS: The documents, Your Honour, we have a great many

8 different headings. We have broken them down by words that we believe

9 would be relevant, such as SDS main board documents; of course, any

10 documents that Mr. Krajisnik's name appears in or that are signed by him;

11 also documents that relate to, first, the JNA, then the VRS; documents

12 that relate to Crisis Staff activities at both the municipal, the

13 intermediate, and the higher levels; documents that would relate, for

14 example, to the supreme command. So we're trying to break it down by key

15 words that identify aspects of evidence we believe are relevant to proving

16 our charges.

17 And then once we break it into those categories, we have reviewers

18 who are doing an initial review. Ultimately what we're trying to do is

19 have a much smaller number of documents come to the trial team from which

20 we would select what we believed were the most relevant for us, but also,

21 of course, be able to provide the Defence with documents as required under

22 Rule 68.

23 JUDGE MAY: The date of the 28th of May fits in to some extent

24 with what you told the Trial Chamber at the last hearing, Ms. Hollis, when

25 you talked about being ready for trial in June or July. Now, it requires,

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1 of course, an earlier preparation, because both sides have got to be

2 ready. As I say, this is a target date, but is there any reason why you

3 should not be able to meet that date?

4 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, in all candour, I would have to say I

5 can't assure you that we would meet that date. However, what I will say

6 is that I appreciate being given a target date. I think it will help to

7 focus our activities and it will certainly be a date that we will work

8 toward. I believe we will have Status Conferences after this, and we can

9 raise the issues that we have.

10 So all I can tell you now is that it is a helpful date for us to

11 have. It will certainly be a date we will use every effort within our

12 ability to meet, but in all candour to the Tribunal, I cannot assure you

13 today that we will have everything done by that date. We would, I

14 believe, be able to begin the trial if we were allowed to, at some later

15 time, present the results of things that weren't prepared at that time.

16 JUDGE MAY: You can review the position and the Trial Chamber can

17 review the position. As I say, it's impossible to know precisely what

18 arrangements there will be next year, but if that date can be a target, I

19 believe it's in everybody's interest to work towards it.

20 That leaves the issue of the items seized. Is there anything you

21 want to do -- to ask me to do about it today or is that a matter which can

22 be subject of a motion if need be?

23 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, we did discuss this issue with Defence

24 counsel yesterday. There would be nothing that the Prosecution would have

25 to ask of Your Honour today. We believe that if necessary, in the future,

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1 if we can't resolve matters then it would be an appropriate matter to be

2 resolved by a motion.

3 JUDGE MAY: Well, that sounds sensible if I may say so. Thank you

4 very much.

5 Mr. Neskovic, you've heard what the Prosecution have said about

6 the progress and about what has been happening and you've also heard the

7 target date which I have in mind. Is there anything you want to say from

8 your point of view about those matters?

9 MR. NESKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as regards the

10 Defence, you know that all the preliminary motions have been submitted.

11 We held the meeting with the Prosecution today. You heard what has been

12 disclosed to the Defence and I just picked up those documents from my

13 locker. It includes the binder, the CD rom and the documents. I was

14 given the inventory of these items today. I have -- I am leaving it to

15 the Prosecution as regards the seized items to check what the Prosecution

16 would need, what can be returned.

17 Also we have heard that it is still up to the Prosecution to work

18 towards preparing their case, and obviously the Defence will, in its turn,

19 also need a certain amount of time to prepare its case.

20 JUDGE MAY: We have that, of course, in mind that the Defence will

21 need time when the Prosecution is prepared and, of course, you must have

22 time. But we would have it in mind that this is a target date, and the

23 Defence should be ready also on that date.

24 As for the items which have been seized, the sensible course seems

25 to me to see if the matter can be resolved by negotiation, but if at the

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1 end of it there are matters which can't be resolved, then they must be

2 referred to the Trial Chamber, and that can be conveniently done by way of

3 motion.

4 There are two further matters. The first is this: that we need

5 to fix a date for another Status Conference. The Rules require it to be

6 held before the 25th of January, I understand. I will see if anyone has

7 got a calendar.

8 MR. NESKOVIC: [Interpretation] Is that all for me for just now?

9 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Neskovic, have you got a calendar?

10 MR. NESKOVIC: [Interpretation] I have a calendar, Your Honour.

11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, well let's try and fix a date while we're here.

12 Yes, looking at the calendar, it would seem that the week of the 15th of

13 January would be convenient. It may be the 18th would be a convenient

14 day. We will fix the conference for 18th of January. No reason why it

15 shouldn't be in the morning, 10.00.

16 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, I'm sorry, I believe that on that date,

17 I will be in trial on Omarska so if we could do that after 2.30, that

18 would assist me.

19 JUDGE MAY: 4.00.

20 MS. HOLLIS: Thank you.

21 JUDGE MAY: We will adjourn this matter until then. Meanwhile,

22 all progress should be made with the target date in mind. It may be by

23 the next hearing, we shall have a better idea of what the arrangements are

24 for the Trial Chamber next year and be in a position to fix a date but

25 that will depend on those arrangements.

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1 Now, if there's nothing else that anybody wants to raise in open

2 session, I shall go into closed session. Anything else anybody wants to

3 raise? Very well, we'll go into closed session.

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23 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at

24 4.45 p.m.

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