IN THE APPEALS CHAMBER
Judge Theodor Meron, Pre-Appeal Judge
Mr Hans Holthuis
14 October 2003
DECISION ON THE PROSECUTIONíS EXTREMELY URGENT MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME
Counsel for the Prosecution:
Mr Norman Farrell
Counsel for the Appellant:
Mr Nenad Petrusic
Mr Norman Sepenuk
1. The Prosecution seeks an extension of time for the filing of its rebuttal evidence to the additional evidence of the Appellant admitted by the Appeals Chamber on 5 August 2003. By a Scheduling Order of 24 September 2003, the Prosecution was directed to notify the Chamber by 3 October 2003 on whether it would seek to admit the additional rebuttal evidence. In compliance with the Scheduling Order, the Prosecution timely filed a confidential "Prosecutionís Notice and Filing of Rebuttal Evidence and Arguments in Compliance with the Appeals Chamberís Scheduling Order." The extension of time which it now seeks relates only to the evidence of Mr. Momir Nikolic and Mr. Dragan Obrenovic.
2. In its filing of 3 October, the Prosecution explained that, in addition to the evidence presented, it anticipated relying on the evidence given by Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic in the case of The Prosecutor v. Vidoje Blagojevic, No. IT-02-60-T. Mr. Nikolic finished giving his evidence on 29 September 2003, while Mr. Obrenovicís testimony was still ongoing. The Prosecution requested an extension of 7 days in order to evaluate Mr. Nikolicís testimony and determine which portions it will present as rebuttal evidence. The Prosecution requested a similar extension with respect to Mr. Obrenovic, asking that the deadline imposed by the Scheduling Order be postponed until 7 days from the last day of Mr. Obrenovicís testimony.
3. On 10 October 2003, the Prosecution filed an "Extremely Urgent Motion for Extension of Time," seeking a further extension with respect to both Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic. The Prosecution discovered that Mr. Nikolicís testimony was extensive, detailed, and contained substantial prospective rebuttal evidence. The Prosecution argued that a further extension would enable it to present this evidence in an organized and cogent manner, thereby facilitating the proceedings before this Chamber. With respect to Mr. Obrenovic, the Prosecution noted that his testimony was not expected to conclude until later that day, 10 October. The Prosecution anticipated it would need 3 extra days (in addition to the originally requested 7) to identify specific rebuttal passages from his testimony.
4. The Prosecution also explained that there was considerable overlap in the evidence of the two witnesses on issues which directly bear on the Appellantís evidence. In the Prosecutionís view, it could better assist the Appeals Chamber by preparing the evidence from the testimonies as a package. For these reasons, the Prosecution requested an extension until Monday, 20 October 2003, to notify the Appeals Chamber whether it will seek the admission of the evidence given by Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic.
5. Rule 127(B) allows the Appeals Chamber to grant a motion for extension of time upon a showing of good cause. In this case, the Prosecution has satisfied this requirement. The filing made by the Prosecution on 3 October, which contains most of the rebuttal evidence the Prosecution seeks to present, shows it applied diligent efforts to comply with the Scheduling Order. The extension requested concerns only two testimonies, both of which were still in progress at the time the Order was issued. The Prosecution believes Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic were subordinates of the Appellant, and so may provide evidence highly relevant to the present appeal. Given the importance the Prosecution attaches to this evidence, it is reasonable for the Prosecution to want to examine the evidence with care. It would also be in the interests of both the Appeals Chamber and the Appellant to have this evidence presented, as the Prosecution promises, in a carefully selected and organized fashion. The Prosecutionís request is further justified by its observation that the testimonies of Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic are interconnected and so time is needed to identify the overlap and to avoid redundancy in the presentation to the Appeals Chamber. For these reasons, and given that both testimonies concluded only recently, the extension sought by the Prosecution is a reasonable one.
I therefore HEREBY GRANT the Prosecutionís "Extremely Urgent Motion for Extension of Time" and ORDER that the Prosecution shall have until the end of the day on Monday, 20 October 2003, to notify the Appeals Chamber as to whether it will seek admission of any rebuttal evidence from the testimonies given by Mr. Momir Nikolic and Mr. Dragan Obrenovic in the case of The Prosecutor v. Vidoje Blagojevic, No. IT-02-60-T.
Done in both English and French, the English text being authoritative.
Dated this 14th of October 2003,
At The Hague,
Judge Theodor Meron
[Seal of the Tribunal]