1 Wednesday, 9 January 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [Status Conference]
4 --- Upon commencing at 3.04 p.m.
5 JUDGE THELIN: Good afternoon, and happy new year to everyone,
6 regardless of where they are in the calender. I realise, Mr. Bezbradica,
7 that you still have some time to go before you reach new year, according
8 to your calender. But nevertheless, happy new year.
9 Could we have the case called, please.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
11 Good afternoon, Your Honour. Good afternoon everyone in and
12 around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-79-PT, the Prosecutor
13 versus Mico Stanisic. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you. And the representation. Prosecution.
15 MS. RICHTEROVA: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Anna Richterova and
16 Karen Beausey for the Prosecution, together with Willem Wijermars, our
17 case manager.
18 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you. And for the Defence.
19 MR. BEZBRADICA: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Stevo Bezbradica,
20 counsel for the accused, Mico Stanisic, and our legal consultant,
21 Mr. Slobodan Cvijetic. Thank you.
22 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
23 I think it's fair to say that the case has now reached a state
24 where we could look with some confidence into the trial phase, and I would
25 like to start out by disclosing what I know as to the matters at hand when
1 it come to scheduling.
2 I think within a time period which is not going to be specified,
3 but could happen this or possibly beginning of next month, this case will
4 be transferred to a Trial Chamber, and that means that this case, if we
5 look at scheduling, would probably be scheduled to commence somewhere
6 between Easter and before the summer recess. It's difficult to pinpoint a
7 time. As parties are aware and I have said so on previous occasions, the
8 matter of scheduling is in the hand of overriding interests, and cases
9 could change when they are slotted for and docketed but I think it's safe
10 to say now that this case has now matured to such a state that it is
11 pretty much on the top of the list.
12 I know, Mr. Bezbradica, that you have requested a three-month
13 notice and you consider yourself to be put on notice by this, which we
14 have now imparted in the courtroom.
15 With those introductory remarks, I would like to make sure that we
16 have the same understanding as to issues that are outstanding.
17 And let me say, these outstanding issues, which are motions
18 pending, some of them will probably be taken in by the new Trial Chamber
19 and others will be taken in the composition which we have at the moment.
20 And as I said, I am not ready to - no one is - to say when this transfer
21 will be effected.
22 The motions that I have on my list, and that is the same list that
23 was discussed with the senior legal officer yesterday at the 65 ter
24 conference, is a motion for protective measures from the Prosecution,
25 filed confidentially on the 28th of February, 2007. And we have an old
1 motion from the Defence regarding Prosecution's noncompliance with Rule 65
2 ter (E) and a corrigendum on both of those are from the 16th of March and
3 8th of May respectively. And then we have a motion from the Prosecution
4 for leave to amend the revised amended indictment which was filed on the
5 9th of May, last year.
6 We have two Defence motions dealing with the question of the
7 rescinding or varying the delayed disclosures in two cases, one in the
8 Brdjanin case and one in the Krajisnik case. And finally on the back of
9 the decision which was issued by the Chamber on the 14th of December last
10 year on adjudicated facts, there is a request by the Defence for
11 certification to appeal that decision, a request which the Prosecution
12 responded to on the 7th of January this year.
13 Those are my record, the outstanding motions that we have to deal
14 with. Does that meet with the parties' understanding as well?
15 Ms. Richterova?
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, that's correct, we are not aware of any
17 other outstanding motions.
18 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you. Mr. Bezbradica?
19 MR. BEZBRADICA: Yes, Your Honour, everything is correct. Thank
21 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
22 If we then leave that for a moment aside and look ahead, there is,
23 since now the work plan has for all practical purposes been complied with
24 and followed, I would like to put a matter for consideration primarily by
25 the Prosecution to add to this, and that is the question of when 92 bis,
1 ter, quater and also the expert report on the 94 bis should be filed, and
2 I understand the matter was discussed yesterday. And is it possible to
3 have an indication, Mrs. Richterova, when you would be prepared, from the
4 Prosecution side, to have these filings in?
5 MS. RICHTEROVA: As we discussed yesterday, we would be ready to
6 file it by the end of February. Of course, we are fully in your hands.
7 We are talking about motions pursuant to Rule 92 bis, 92 ter and 94. The
8 reason why we are asking for this time is that based on the Trial
9 Chamber's decision regarding the adjudicated facts, we now have to review
10 all our witness statements. Also, as we discussed yesterday, this
11 decision will have impact, significant in fact, on presentation of our
12 case regarding eight municipalities, and because we would really like to
13 streamline the case, our intention is to present evidence, as far as
14 possible, as much as possible, in the written form, and therefore we have
15 to re-evaluate all of our witnesses and also re-evaluate our 65 ter list
16 of witnesses.
17 So this is the reason why we are asking for the end of February.
18 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
19 May I clarify so I understand this. I understand, obviously, the
20 importance and the impact of the 14th of December decision, but am I right
21 in assuming that you, regardless of this, also are assessing your witness
23 MS. RICHTEROVA: Of course. Of course, we are, and we have been
24 working on assessment of our witnesses, and not only witnesses, of course,
25 we are reviewing again the number of our exhibits. And as we mentioned
1 yesterday, we intend to seek leave to amend both our 65 ter list of
2 witnesses and list of exhibits.
3 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you, Mrs. Richterova.
4 Well, I fully understand the work that you are addressing and the
5 need for you to have sufficient time to do that, and I'm not opposed to
6 the suggestion of giving you a time limit until the end of February this
7 year, meaning that the 29th of February, 2008, is a time by which you
8 should file 92 bis, 92 ter and 94 bis reports and statements.
9 I understand from it that 92 quater is not on your mind at the
10 moment, but should you change your mind, that would be the time also for
11 that type of statement to be filed.
12 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 And, in fact, I omitted 92 quater. Yes, we will file also a
14 motion regarding Rule 92 quater.
15 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
16 So with that decision, the work plan has now been amended
18 I also understand that when it comes to matters of disclosure,
19 parties, at earlier status conferences, had discussions on this, but this
20 seems to now be progressing with the meeting of minds of the parties, and
21 of course the Prosecution has the ongoing obligation to disclose under
22 Rule 68.
23 Do you have anything to comment on disclosure, Mr. Bezbradica?
24 MR. BEZBRADICA: No, I don't have, Your Honour, only I can confirm
25 that regarding disclosure, at the moment everything is in order. Thank
2 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
3 Well, with the noting of outstanding motions, the addition to set
4 a new timetable regarding 92 bis and related statements and 94 bis, I do
5 not have any other matters that I would like to raise with the parties,
6 apart from the following:
7 I'm aware that the issue of the decision of the 14th of December,
8 in the sense that that is not final, i.e., the Chamber is now considering
9 the motion from the Defence and the response from the Prosecution on the
10 question of certification of appeal, and that is obviously an uncertainty
11 that we will seek to have clarified as soon as is practically possible,
12 but given that uncertainty, I would certainly not at this point discourage
13 the parties to seek to engage in further discussions on the matters of
14 agreed facts and related matters.
15 I understood from the conference yesterday that there were
16 discussions ongoing on the matters of agreed facts, some related to the
17 decision and some unrelated to it, and maybe I think it's proper also to
18 have that discussion on the record, so I turn to you first,
19 Mrs. Richterova, whether you would like to impart something on that.
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: There have been ongoing discussion regarding
21 agreed facts, unfortunately not very successful. Your Honour will
22 remember that during our last status conference, we discussed the
23 Prosecution proposal of approximately 60 agreed facts. The Defence
24 counsel replied that his client object to all but 26 and that they would
25 provide us with explanation why the other facts are not suitable as agreed
1 facts, and at the same time they also offered that they would try to
2 re-formulate or suggest some changes. Unfortunately, it hasn't happened.
3 What we have done is, based on the Trial Chamber's decision and at
4 least based on these 26 agreed facts, we put together a list of facts to
5 which both parties at various stages agreed, and it was the only purpose,
6 the only rationale behind this list, so that we have one consolidated list
7 of agreed facts which are comprised of adjudicated facts proposed by the
8 Prosecution and agreed facts proposed -- adjudicated facts proposed by the
9 Defence, and really agreed facts between parties.
10 We sent a letter to Mr. Bezbradica to review this list, and the
11 purpose was for him to review to check whether there are any typos, any
12 errors, and unfortunately we haven't heard anything from the Defence
13 counsel until now.
14 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you, Mrs. Richterova.
15 And what do you have to say to this, Mr. Bezbradica?
16 MR. BEZBRADICA: Your Honour, the situation is a little bit
17 different than the Prosecution now -- in her allegation.
18 We give our response to the Prosecution the 29th of November,
19 2007. I am instructed that way, and we are not going more further in much
20 more details. And I don't know -- also, in that letter we already
21 explained our proposal in some -- to the proposed facts, and I don't know
22 what we can do more than we've done in such way.
23 In regarding of submitted letters of Monday of this week, I
24 received that letter -- I find that letter, as I said yesterday, on Monday
25 afternoon. I was flying from Belgrade to The Hague. It wasn't possible
1 to check everything.
2 The Prosecution asked us to provide them with our final position
3 regarding that letter. I'm not going to tell the Prosecution that we are
4 not going to agree. There is already agreed -- we have agreed facts and
5 adjudicated facts and everything is clear, but there is -- the letter does
6 not include the same issue. The story is a little bit different, because
7 they put some facts which are not considered as agreed facts. And because
8 of that, already mailed that letter to my client, and at this stage I'm
9 waiting for his instruction. I can't give final approval until -- until I
10 have with him further discussion about that. And I will provide them with
11 our response shortly. There is no doubt about that.
12 Thank you.
13 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you, Mr. Bezbradica.
14 Well, there may be some misunderstanding as to the nature of
15 different types of facts, as can be seen from the decision handed down on
16 the 14th of December. The Chamber considered that facts moved by the
17 Prosecution or, for that matter, from the other side, as adjudicated facts
18 and not opposed, as can be seen and noted down as agreed facts, and then
19 of course we would have a set of other facts which are unrelated to the
20 motions and the decision on the 14th of December, and I think it's
21 obviously helpful if there at least could be a common understanding
22 between the Defence and the Prosecution what you are talking about, and
23 from the Chamber's side we can obviously only encourage the parties to
24 come to and maximize the understanding.
25 I fully -- Mr. Bezbradica, I realise that you are bound to follow
1 instructions from your client. That is your duty as a Defence counsel.
2 But you also have a duty to offer your professional assessment of the case
3 and give him a sound basis for his instructions to you. I mean, the
4 relationship between a principal and adviser is not a one-sided one, and
5 I'm certainly not, Mr. Bezbradica, going to tell you how to perform your
6 job, but I think it's important to remind ourselves that the Defence
7 counsel is best serving his principal by offering him his assessment. He
8 may not like it, but that is the duty of a Defence counsel to do so,
9 because the duty of the Defence counsel is to see to the interests of the
10 accused and not, for instance, to some other interests unrelated to the
12 And that brings me to a question which has been lingering for this
13 case from time to time, namely, that the parties should be encouraged not
14 only to discuss matters of agreed facts and related matters but also to
15 see whether the discussion could be broadened and maybe entail a change of
16 position totally and change of plea on the case of the accused. And I
17 understand that this summer there were some discussions, and I understand
18 that there also was a meeting between the Prosecution and the accused.
19 Am I correct on this, Mrs. Richterova?
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, Your Honour, and of course there was -- in
21 September we also sent another letter to Mr. Bezbradica and his client,
22 and of course the position is that there won't be any plea.
23 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
24 Mr. Bezbradica, is that the understanding that you have as well?
25 Mr. Bezbradica?
1 MR. BEZBRADICA: Your Honour, the situation is a little bit
2 different. It's correct that we have discussion in June/July last year
3 and we put something in writing for the Prosecution, but I can't go
4 further without my client. It's not really -- it is a big issue. And
5 they never respond to our letter. We put something there, but I never
6 received their respond.
7 Thank you.
8 JUDGE THELIN: Well, again, this may be a matter of misplaced
9 communication or misunderstandings, but I will at this point only
10 encourage, obviously, both sides, but especially you, Mr. Bezbradica,
11 to -- even if it is a big issue, I'm certainly aware of that, but as
12 things develop and the case matures, a Defence would be in a better
13 position to assess whatever proposition is put to them from the
14 Prosecution. I'm not encouraging you to give up any of your right or
15 change your position as far as your present interests of the accused
16 dictate, but I certainly would encourage you to approach the matter with
17 maybe more vigour than so far has been the case. And again I'm not privy
18 and I don't want to be privy with discussions which you have with your
19 client, but I reinforce that the duty of a Defence counsel is one of also
20 putting the matters to the accused in such a way that he is available to
21 make an informed decision. And I'm certain, Mr. Bezbradica, that you have
22 done so. I just want to have this said in order to avoid any
23 misunderstanding on it, and I'm certain that at this stage nothing is too
24 late. If there is a dialogue on the questions of agreed facts that could
25 be broadened into other issues, I'm certain it's never too late for the
1 parties to have a new position on old issues, as it were.
2 So this is -- I bring this up because -- to take away the
3 perception that just because a case has reached a state where it has
4 matured to be taken to trial, these discussions which have been ongoing
5 should not cease. On the contrary, I think it would be opportune to try
6 to reinforce that, and I'm certain, Mr. Bezbradica, that you will convey
7 to your client the position now as stated.
8 I had not thought to raise any other matter, and just before we
9 adjourn I'd like to hear whether the parties do have anything else that
10 they would like to raise at this status conference.
11 Mrs. Richterova?
12 MS. RICHTEROVA: No, thank you, Your Honour, we have no other
13 matters to raise.
14 JUDGE THELIN: Mr. Bezbradica.
15 MR. BEZBRADICA: No, Your Honour, we don't have anything. Thank
17 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
18 Well, with that, we now stand adjourned.
19 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at
20 3.26 p.m.