1 Friday, 16th January 1998
2 (9.00 am)
3 JUDGE CASSESE: Good morning. May I ask the
4 Registrar to call out the name and number of the case?
5 THE REGISTRAR: Case IT-95-16, the Prosecutor
6 of the Tribunal against Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan
7 Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Vladimir Santic, also
8 known as "Vlado", Drago Josipovic and Dragan Papic.
9 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Could I please
10 have the appearances for the Prosecutor?
11 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Mr. President, good
12 morning, your Honours. My name is Mark Harmon, I will
13 be representing the Prosecutor this morning and I will
14 be assisted by my colleagues, Terree Bowers, who is
15 seated to my right and Mr. Michael Blaxill, who is
16 seated to my left.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: Counsel for the accused,
18 please introduce yourself and spell out your name
19 clearly. Would you also indicate which bar you belong
21 MR. KRAJINA: Your Honours, my name is
22 Borislav Krajina, an attorney from Sarajevo, a member
23 of the bar of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I am Defence counsel
24 for the accused, Vlatko Kupreskic. With me is my
25 learned colleague Zelimir Par, an attorney from Zagreb.
1 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Before we begin,
2 I would like to check whether the accused can hear me
3 in a language which is accessible to him. May I ask
4 the accused whether he can follow, can understand what
5 I am saying?
6 THE ACCUSED: Your Honours, I understand you
7 very well and hear you perfectly.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We now can
9 commence this hearing. As you know, this is the
10 initial appearance of the accused before the
11 International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and
12 the hearing is being held in accordance with the
13 Statute of our Tribunal, as well as the Rules of
14 Procedure and Evidence to formally charge the accused.
15 As you know, these proceedings are being recorded and
16 will be available to the public.
17 Rule 62 of our Rules of Procedure and
18 Evidence requires that an accused, after having his
19 indictment confirmed by a Judge of this Tribunal, and
20 after having been arrested and surrendered to the
21 custody of the International Tribunal, must be formally
22 charged at a procedure described as the initial
23 appearance. Due to injuries sustained by the accused
24 in the course of resisting arrest by SFOR troops, this
25 initial appearance has had to be delayed until the
1 accused was deemed to be medically fit to appear before
2 this International Tribunal. We have now been informed
3 that the accused is fit to enter his pleas to the
4 charges brought against him by the Prosecutor.
5 I would like now to ask the accused to rise
6 and state for the Trial Chamber his name, date and
7 place of birth.
8 THE ACCUSED: Your Honours, my name is Vlatko
9 Kupreskic, I was born on 1st January 1958 in Pirici,
10 Vitez municipality, the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You know that the
12 rules governing our proceedings today are laid down in
13 Articles 20 and 21 of the Statute of our Tribunal, and
14 mention should also be made of Rule 62. I think you
15 are all familiar with these provisions, so I will not
16 try to summarise them for you, but we will proceed in
17 accordance with the aforementioned provisions.
18 May I now ask the Defence counsel whether he
19 and his client have received copies of the indictment
20 in a language which they understand, and whether the
21 contents of the indictment were understood? Have you
22 had adequate time to confer with your client in
23 preparation for this initial appearance? This is a
24 question I am asking you.
25 MR. KRAJINA: Your Honours, we have received
1 the indictment and understood everything it contains.
2 We have had sufficient time to confer with our client,
3 so that we are quite prepared for today's hearing.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. The indictment
5 was issued by the Prosecutor on 2nd November 1995, and
6 as you knew, was confirmed by Judge McDonald on
7 10th November 1995. Five of the persons indicted along
8 with the accused are already in the custody of the
9 International Tribunal, and have made their initial
10 appearances accordingly. Charges against Marinko
11 Katava and Stipo Alilovic have been withdrawn by the
12 Prosecutor and therefore all references to them will be
13 omitted in the indictment.
14 In principle, under our Statute and our Rules
15 of Procedure and Evidence, the entire indictment should
16 be read out in court. May I ask whether the accused is
17 prepared to waive this right to a public reading of the
18 indictment? May I ask you, Defence counsel, whether
19 the accused is prepared to waive his right to the
20 reading out in court of the indictment, or would you
21 like the indictment to be read out? Of course we would
22 read out the relevant parts, the portions of the
23 indictment which relate to the accused.
24 MR. KRAJINA: Your Honours, we have agreed
25 that there is no need to read the indictment in its
1 entirety, but if there is a short version, then we
2 would be in favour of that shorter version being read
4 JUDGE CASSESE: I would say there is not a
5 short version, but we could read out only those
6 portions of the indictment which deal with the
7 accused. We would skip the parts of the indictment
8 which concern the other accused who have already come
9 here for the initial appearance. Do you want those
10 portions to be read out in court?
11 MR. KRAJINA: No, your Honours, we feel that
12 will not be necessary.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We can therefore
14 now move on and I would like to turn to the accused.
15 May I ask you to rise, Mr. Kupreskic. Could
16 you stand up? Your counsel has informed the Trial
17 Chamber that you have received a copy of the indictment
18 in a language which you understand and that you
19 comprehend the contents of the indictment. Please
20 could you confirm whether this is correct?
21 MR. KUPRESKIC: Your Honours, I have
22 understood clearly the allegations in the indictment.
23 However, it is not clear to me why my name is linked to
24 that indictment.
25 JUDGE CASSESE: This is a question which we
1 could not answer. Your name, I assume, is linked to
2 that indictment because according to the Prosecutor you
3 must be charged with some crimes which are set out in
4 the indictment. I would like therefore to move on and
5 to recall each of the charges against you which are, as
6 I say, set out in the indictment.
7 Could you please tell the Trial Chamber
8 whether you plead guilty or not guilty after I have put
9 each count to you. The form of words we wish you to
10 use is either "I plead guilty" or "I plead not
11 guilty". Have you understood all this?
12 MR. KUPRESKIC: I have.
13 JUDGE CASSESE: So I will start with
14 count 1. It is alleged that you individually, and in
15 concert with Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic,
16 Vladimir Santic, Drago Josipovic and Dragan Papic
17 participated in the unlawful and wanton destruction of
18 property not justified by military necessity, a grave
19 breach recognised by Article 2(d) of the Tribunal
20 Statute. How do you plead?
21 MR. KUPRESKIC: I absolutely did not
22 participate and I plead not guilty.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Count 2. It is
24 alleged that you individually, and in concert with
25 Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vladimir Santic,
1 Drago Josipovic and Dragan Papic, participated in the
2 deliberate attack on the civilian population and wanton
3 destruction of a village, a violation of the laws or
4 customs of war recognised by Article 3 of the Tribunal
5 Statute. How do you plead?
6 MR. KUPRESKIC: I did not participate, nor did
7 I do those things, and I plead not guilty.
8 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. Count 9. It is
9 alleged that you participated in the wilful killing of
10 Fata Pezer, a grave breach recognised by Article 2(a)
11 of the Tribunal Statute. How do you plead?
12 MR. KUPRESKIC: I neither had occasion to do
13 something like that, nor the opportunity to do it, nor
14 the courage, nor the interest. I am absolutely not
16 JUDGE CASSESE: All right, you plead not
17 guilty. Count 10. It is alleged that you participated
18 in the wilful killing of Fata Pezer, a violation of the
19 laws or customs of war, recognised by Article 3 of the
20 Tribunal Statute. How do you plead?
21 MR. KUPRESKIC: I am absolutely not guilty
22 because I am not capable of doing such a thing.
23 JUDGE CASSESE: Not guilty. Count 11. It is
24 alleged that you participated in wilfully causing
25 Dzenana Pezer and a Bosnian Muslim civilian great
1 suffering or serious injury to body or health, a grave
2 breach recognised by Article 2(c) of the Tribunal
3 Statute. How do you plead?
4 MR. KUPRESKIC: My life and my authority would
5 not allow this, I did not do that and I am absolutely
6 not guilty.
7 JUDGE CASSESE: Count 12. It is alleged that
8 you participated in wilfully causing Dzenana Pezer and
9 a Bosnian Muslim civilian great suffering or serious
10 injury to body or health, a violation of the laws or
11 customs of war recognised by Article 3 of the Tribunal
12 Statute. How do you plead?
13 MR. KUPRESKIC: I plead absolutely not guilty.
14 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. You may now be
16 MR. KUPRESKIC: Thank you.
17 JUDGE CASSESE: You will be remanded now to
18 the further custody of the International Tribunal and
19 kept in the detention unit until further order is
20 made. Would the Registrar please note the pleas of the
21 accused. As the accused has pleaded not guilty to the
22 charges against him, it is necessary for us to consider
23 the organisation of the work of the Trial Chamber and
24 the setting of a date for the trial. I wonder whether
25 the Registrar is able to set a date for the trial now?
1 May I ask the Registrar whether --
2 THE REGISTRAR: No, I am not capable for the
3 moment to give you the date for the beginning of trial.
4 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. We shall then
5 have to wait for confirmation from the Registry or
6 suggestion from the Registry. I would like to remind
7 now the Prosecutor of his obligation under Rule 66bis
8 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, to make
9 available to the Defence within 30 days of this initial
10 appearance copies of the supporting material which
11 accompanied the indictment when confirmation was
12 sought, and also all prior statements obtained by the
13 Office of the Prosecutor from the accused.
14 Also, the Prosecutor is obliged to make
15 available, no later than 60 days before the date set
16 for trial, copies of the statements of all witnesses
17 whom the Prosecutor intends to call to testify at
18 trial. The statements of any additional witnesses
19 shall be made available as soon as a decision is made
20 to call those witnesses. Further orders may be made by
21 the Trial Chamber in the interests of a fair and
22 expeditious trial for the accused. Could I therefore
23 ask if any such documents have already been provided to
24 the Defence? If not, could I ask if the Prosecutor
25 could indicate a time-frame within which these materials
1 can be provided to Defence counsel?
2 MR. HARMON: Mr. President and your Honours,
3 prior to the commencement of this proceeding,
4 I provided counsel with copies of all supporting
5 materials that accompanied the indictment in this case.
6 JUDGE CASSESE: Thank you. So Mr. Krajina, do
7 you understand what the Prosecutor has just said? You
8 have been entitled and you have received all the
9 documents that were attached to the indictment, and to
10 the request for information. Now I wish to remind the
11 parties that under Rule 72 of our Rules of Procedure
12 and Evidence, they have 60 days from the date of
13 disclosure by the Prosecutor to the Defence of all
14 material and statements provided under Rule 66bis (A),
15 60 days within which they must file any preliminary
16 motions. Other motions, of course, may be filed under
17 Rule 73. You are aware of this time limit, 60 days for
18 filing preliminary motions. I wonder whether my
19 colleagues have any further questions. No questions?
20 As you know, it has been agreed that
21 following this hearing, a closed session Status
22 Conference will be held here, actually in half an hour,
23 in order to look in greater detail at the state of
24 preparedness of the parties for trial and also in order
25 to settle any outstanding issues. If there are no
1 comments or no suggestions or queries from either the
2 Defence or the Prosecutor, I will now call an
3 adjournment for 30 minutes, after which we shall
4 reconvene in closed session to deal with this Status
5 Conference. The hearing is adjourned.
6 (9.20 am)
7 (Hearing adjourned)