Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 78

1 Monday, 7 July 2003

2 [Initial Appearance]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 3.02 p.m.

6 JUDGE KWON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Would the

7 Registrar please call the case.

8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Good afternoon, Your Honour.

9 This is the case number IT-02-65-I, the Prosecutor versus Zeljko Mejakic.

10 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. May I have the appearances.

11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Nicholas Koumjian,

12 Katharina Margetts, David Leese, and Ruth Karper for the Prosecution.

13 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Koumjian.

14 And for the Defence, please.

15 MR. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. My name

16 is Jovan Simic, attorney from Belgrade, and I'm representing Mr. Mejakic.

17 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Simic.

18 Mr. Mejakic, can you hear the proceeding in a language you

19 understand?

20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.

21 JUDGE KWON: And could you please answer the following questions

22 for your identification: Would you please state your full name.

23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Zeljko Mejakic.

24 JUDGE KWON: Would you please state your date and place of your

25 birth.

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1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I was born on the 2nd of August,

2 1964, in Petrov Gaj, Prijedor.

3 JUDGE KWON: And that's in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.

5 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Please sit down.

6 This proceeding is an Initial Appearance of Mr. Zeljko Mejakic

7 pursuant to Rule 62 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of this

8 International Tribunal. The original indictment against the accused was

9 confirmed by a judge of this Tribunal more than eight years ago, that is,

10 on the 13th of February, 1995. Subsequently thereafter, many developments

11 in the original indictment arose until, in a decision dated 21st of

12 November, 2002, the Trial Chamber III ordered the consolidated indictment

13 against the accused and others, dated 5th of July, 2002, to be the

14 operative indictment against the accused. Mr. Mejakic was transferred to

15 this Tribunal on Friday last week, that is, 4th of July, 2003. Since this

16 case has been already assigned to the Trial Chamber III, to which I

17 belong, I'm presiding over this proceeding in the capacity as a member of

18 it, though Judge Patrick Robinson has been assigned as the pre-trial Judge

19 for this case.

20 I shall now proceed to make certain that the accused understands

21 the indictment against himself.

22 Mr. Simic, has your client received the indictment in his own

23 language?

24 MR. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, he has received the

25 indictment in a language that he understands. He has read the indictment.

Page 80

1 He's understood the counts in the indictment. And our proposal is that we

2 do not have to have the indictment read in full, but he can just plead

3 according to the counts.

4 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Then the next step will be the entry of a

5 plea to the charges of the indictment. The accused may enter a plea

6 within 30 days of the Initial Appearance, but he may enter a plea at the

7 time of today, if he so wishes. So that is his intention, to plead today,

8 Mr. Simic?

9 MR. SIMIC: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.

10 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. And Mr. Mejakic, if you could rise and

11 please plead to each count of the indictment which I'll put to you,

12 confining yourself to either "guilty" or "not guilty."

13 Count 1 of the indictment charges you with persecutions on

14 political, racial, or religious grounds, a crime against humanity,

15 punishable under Articles 5(h), 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute of the

16 Tribunal. How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?

17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I plead not guilty.

18 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Count 2 of the indictment charges you

19 with murder, a crime against humanity, punishable under Articles 5(a),

20 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal. Do you plead guilty or not

21 guilty?

22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

23 JUDGE KWON: Count 3 of the indictment charges you with murder, a

24 violation of the laws or customs of war, as recognised by Article 3(1)(a)

25 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which is punishable under Article 3,

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1 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal. How do you plead, guilty

2 or not guilty?

3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

4 JUDGE KWON: Count 4 of the indictment charges you with inhumane

5 acts, a crime against humanity, punishable under Article 5(1), 7(1), and

6 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal. How do you plead?

7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

8 JUDGE KWON: And finally, count 5 of the indictment charges you

9 with cruel treatment, violation of the laws or customs of war, as

10 recognised by Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva Convention of 1949, punishable

11 under Articles 3, 7(1), 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal. How do you

12 plead, guilty or not guilty?

13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.

14 JUDGE KWON: Very well. You may sit down.

15 I would like to ask the Registrar to note that Mr. Mejakic has

16 pleaded not guilty to all five counts of the indictment.

17 I must now remind the Prosecution that pursuant to Rule 66(A)(i),

18 to make available within 30 days from now to the Defence, in a language

19 which the accused understands, all the supporting materials which

20 accompanied the indictment when confirmation was sought, also all prior

21 statements obtained by the Prosecution from the accused must be disclosed

22 as well.

23 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour. We are ready to act on

24 that, to begin acting on that today. However, what we have not yet

25 prepared, is a general non-disclosure order, and I'm suggesting that

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Page 83

1 perhaps the Court can today give us temporarily an oral order that the

2 materials that we disclosed to counsel and to the accused not be

3 disseminated to any other person other than the accused, his counsel, or

4 appointed investigators, and that would include, of course, the current

5 whereabouts and names of witnesses. If the Court would give that oral

6 order, we can begin today or tomorrow providing the material to Defence

7 counsel, and we are also preparing a general non-disclosure order with

8 more specific requirements for Your Honour's signature.

9 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Speaking for myself, I don't see any

10 reason not to grant it. But if you have any observation from the Defence,

11 Mr. Simic.

12 MR. SIMIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours. I think that's a

13 reasonable request.

14 JUDGE KWON: So the request was granted. Let me now turn to the

15 Defence, and also tell the Defence that it will have a 30-day period for

16 filing any preliminary motions that it may care to do once it has received

17 all the supporting material in accordance with Rule 66(A)(i) of the Rules

18 of Procedure and Evidence. And finally, pursuant to Rule 65 bis, a Status

19 Conference shall be convened within 120 days of now, and further, pursuant

20 to Rule 65 ter, the Senior Legal Officers assigned to Chambers may assist

21 in performance of pre-trial functions entrusted to the Pre-Trial Judge,

22 who is in this case Judge Patrick Robinson. In this regard, Ms. Yvonne

23 Featherstone, the Senior Legal Officer of our Trial Chamber, shall

24 undertake this task.

25 Those being said, are there any matters the parties wish to raise

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1 at this stage?

2 MR. KOUMJIAN: A couple of matters, Your Honour. First, my

3 understanding is that the spelling of Mr. Mejakic's last name is incorrect

4 on the indictment. Perhaps we could ask him for the spelling, and

5 including asking the interpreters to give the diacritics for his full

6 name, first and last name.

7 JUDGE KWON: And what's the other thing?

8 MR. KOUMJIAN: And the other matter is a little more involved,

9 Your Honour.

10 JUDGE KWON: Let's handle the first matter.

11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. Thank you.

12 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Mejakic, could you help me in this matter.

13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.

14 JUDGE KWON: So, how do you spell your last name, please?

15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] M-e-j-a-k-i-c with a vertical check

16 above.

17 JUDGE KWON: So that is Mejakic?

18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Precisely.

19 JUDGE KWON: Which is written as one of the nicknames.

20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. That's the third possibility

21 that was given.

22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you very much. You may sit down. That is

23 solved, I think.

24 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. Your Honour, the other matter concerns

25 Mr. Simic's representation. It's not our intent to interfere in choice of

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1 counsel, but it is our concern that the record be preserved for appeal

2 that there not be issues on appeal. My understanding is that Mr. Simic

3 also represents one of the accused on appeal from the Omarska case. That

4 was a shift commander, Mr. Mejakic is accused of being a camp commander.

5 There obviously is a potential for conflict of interest as to the

6 responsibility, orders et cetera between the two. In fact, we have

7 statements from the other accused that we believe are helpful

8 against -- in our case against Mr. Mejakic. We suggest that the Court

9 order the registrar -- my suggestion is the Court order the registrar to

10 appoint an independent counsel to advise Mr. Mejakic as to the potential

11 for a conflict, and assuming he waives that knowingly the record is

12 preserved for appeal. But at the moment I believe there is an apparent

13 conflict of interest and we need to do something to preserve the appeal

14 record when counsel is representing two accused that could have a conflict

15 of interest.

16 JUDGE KWON: Very well. That matter is ultimately for the

17 Registrar, I guess, but the -- oh, yes. Mr. Simic, do you have any

18 observation?

19 MR. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to inform

20 you of the following, briefly. I'm not sure why my learned friend and

21 colleague has not been informed, but I have been in touch with the

22 Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte. We've been reviewing this question and we

23 reached a conclusion that we both share, namely, Mr. Brzakcin [phoen],

24 Mr. Mejakic, both of the accused, when they are familiarised and informed

25 about the possible conflict of interest, if they themselves fail to see

Page 86

1 this conflict of interest and provide written statements to both the

2 Registry and the Office of the Prosecutor. We said that in that case, the

3 Prosecution would not raise any further objections about this possible

4 conflict of interest. We have provided both of these statements and we

5 believe that conditions have been met, but we'll hear about this from the

6 registry, eventually. Thank you very much.

7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. I'll just say that I was just assigned

8 to this case and it is very possible that there are other matters that I

9 was not informed about. I thank Mr. Simic regarding that.

10 Finally, the only other issue I wanted to raise is my

11 understanding, Your Honour, is that there is a date set for hearing for

12 the other accused. Would it make sense to set Mr. Mejakic's hearing, 65

13 ter, for the same date?

14 JUDGE KWON: My understanding is that the 65 ter conference is

15 scheduled for next week, or a week after.

16 [Trial Chamber and Senior Legal Officer confer]

17 JUDGE KWON: I think the 65 ter conference is scheduled at the

18 week of 22, with the other accused, and Mr. Simic is invited to

19 participate in that 65 ter conference.

20 MR. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour. We

21 shall be present.

22 JUDGE KWON: Then unless there is anything to be raised, the

23 proceeding is now adjourned.

24 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance

25 adjourned at 3.20 p.m.