1 Tuesday, 17 May 2011
2 [Status Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 [The appellants entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.30 p.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Good afternoon,
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-05-87-A, the Prosecutor versus
11 Sainovic et al.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
13 May I now have the appearances, please.
14 For the Prosecution.
15 MS. VERRALL: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Appearing for the
16 Prosecution, counsel's name is Saeeda Verrall, together with Laurel Baig
17 and our case manager, Colin Nawrot.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
19 And now for the Defence counsel, please.
20 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
21 I am Toma Fila. With my colleague Vladimir Petrovic, we
22 represent Mr. Nikola Sainovic. Thank you.
23 MR. VISNJIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. I'm Tomislav Visnjic,
24 with Peter Robinson, defending General Ojdanic.
25 MR. ALEKSIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. I'm
1 Aleksandar Aleksic, representing General Pavkovic.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. Good
3 afternoon to everyone in and around the courtroom. I'm Mihajlo Bakrac,
4 representing General Vladimir Lazarevic.
5 MR. IVETIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Appearing for the
6 Defence of Sretan Lukic, Lead Counsel Branko Lukic and Dan Ivetic,
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
9 Before we start, I would like to know whether the appellants
10 could hear the proceedings in a language they could understand.
11 Mr. Sainovic?
12 THE APPELLANT SAINOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, I
13 understand. I can follow the proceedings.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
15 Mr. Ojdanic?
16 THE APPELLANT OJDANIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I can
17 follow the proceedings.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
19 Mr. Pavkovic?
20 THE APPELLANT PAVKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, I am
21 able to follow the proceedings.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
23 Mr. Lazarevic?
24 THE APPELLANT LAZAREVIC: [Interpretation] I have no problems in
25 following the proceedings. Thank you.
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
2 Mr. Lukic?
3 THE APPELLANT LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am able to
4 follow the proceedings.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
6 This Status Conference is called in accordance with
7 Rule 65 bis (B) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal,
8 which requires a Status Conference to be convened every 120 days during
9 the appeal proceedings to allow any person in custody pending appeal the
10 opportunity to raise issues in relation thereto, including the mental and
11 the physical condition of that person.
12 In the present case, the last Status Conference was held on the
13 18th January 2011. Today's Status Conference was scheduled by the order
14 issued on 21st April 2011.
15 First, I would like to inquire into the status of the detention
16 conditions and the health situation of the appellants. If you have any
17 concern in relation to the detention conditions or your states of health
18 that cannot be resolved through the standard procedures, I would invite
19 you to raise them now. If you wish, this discussion can take place in
20 private session.
21 Yes. Yes, Mr. Lazarevic, I saw you try to stand up. Yes.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 THE APPELLANT LAZAREVIC: [Interpretation] As usual, it's me
24 first, Your Honour. I would like, this time also, to express my
25 gratitude for giving me an opportunity to speak and to say something
1 about my state of health.
2 In previous Status Conferences, Mr. President, first of all,
3 thanks to your great understanding, consideration, and assistance
4 provided, I was able to tell my story about my state of health in a lot
5 of detail. I have been able to tell this story sincerely, truthfully,
6 based on medical and judicial evidence that is checkable and was checked,
7 that is possible to prove and that was proved, and which no one has
8 disputed to date.
9 When I say that I was able to tell my whole story, Mr. President,
10 I would like, with your permission, now to remind you that whenever I
11 talked about any of my illnesses at a conference of this type, a
12 Status Conference, the illness, with an impermissible delay, would end up
13 in the worst possible way, bearing the worst possible consequences on my
14 health. It would end up on the operation table with a complicated
15 surgery which left lasting consequences as far as my general health is
16 concerned, so that in less than two years I have had several -- seven
17 different surgeries for different diseases. I think that is the highest
18 number of all in the Tribunal, and not even mentioning the fact that
19 there are people who go through their whole lives without having to go
20 through any surgery at all.
21 I would like to ask your permission here also to state the
22 following: I know, Your Honour, Mr. President, just as I'm sure that you
23 know, that while I was speaking about my illness or my illnesses in front
24 of you all, a few days before that you had already received certain
25 reports/findings from the relevant administrative and medical organs. I
1 have to underline that the reports by those authorised organs were
2 drafted by them, but they actually never dealt with any treatment for me.
3 That is why their reports were most often not only out of step with what
4 I was actually saying, but they were actually quite counter to what I
5 said, that even the Registry and the President of the Tribunal, himself,
6 were led, in April 2010, to make an evaluation that the violations -- the
7 reports actually constituted a violation of my fundamental human rights.
8 I am just going to remind you, in one sentence, of the gist of
9 those reports, stating that I had exaggerated certain illnesses, starting
10 from that, followed by saying that an already-scheduled operation by a
11 specialist in the hospital -- in the Royal Hospital of Holland, Bronovo,
12 in The Hague, was recommending that the surgery is not carried out, but
13 that I should be wearing women's stockings instead, and then going as far
14 as trying to convince me how, under Dutch doctrine, no physical therapy
15 is provided following surgery of the right and the left leg. I am sorry
16 that I'm going to have to say this, but I have to do it for the sake of
17 truth. When this person was saying this, he did not see that two steps
18 away there was also a physiotherapist, a specialist from the
19 Bronovo Hospital, in attendance who had just began with a course of
20 physical therapy for my operated left leg. I'm not going to go into any
21 more of these reports. I just wanted to draw your attention to them.
22 For today, with your permission, Mr. President, I would just like
23 to briefly inform you about my medical situation and the state of my
24 health in the interim period between two Status Conferences.
25 Today, I am an invalid. About a month ago, I refused to undergo
1 two further operations that were planned in April of last year. That
2 would be my eighth and ninth operation, actually, in less than two years.
3 These are two very serious, complicated surgeries on the knees on both my
4 legs. The knees had already been operated on in 2008, unsuccessfully.
5 This time, what was being planned was to place artificial knees in these
7 I am obliged, Your Honour, to inform you about how and why I did
8 not agree to these two surgeries at this time. There are two main
9 reasons. The first one: The musculature above the knees of both my legs
10 is not functioning properly because physical therapy was not applied in a
11 timely manner, so muscles that are so weakened are not able to accept
12 surgery to have an artificial knee fitted and would not make it possible
13 for me to move. The only way I would be able to move would be to use
14 crutches until the end of my life. So in that way I would very soon
15 become a handicapped person, a disabled person with crutches, and so that
16 would be another handicap added to the two that I already am suffering
17 from. The other reason is that over the last few months there has been a
18 dramatic deterioration in the illness of the brain that I am suffering
19 from, and there is a question as to if my brain would be able to survive
20 the anaesthesia that these two planned surgeries would require.
21 I would just like to inform you that, in fact, I have not
22 resolved my problems, that I temporarily postponed these problems. I
23 expect them to become further complicated, and the decision that I have
24 made at the moment was made so that I would avoid these immediate
1 As for these surgeries, I will have to undergo the surgeries at
2 some point in the future. This is one issue, my health.
3 The other problem is this: Three or four months ago,
4 Mr. President, I have suffered a dramatic deterioration of my brain
5 illness. At previous Status Conferences here, I have mentioned a number
6 of times a certain set of symptoms of this brain illness. This is a
7 question of vision. It's a form of chemical attack. I have had 46 such
8 attacks during the past five years here. However, recently, each two or
9 three days there is a dramatic occurrence of my brain disease. I'm
10 experiencing vertigo, dizziness, loss of balance. I collapse, lose
11 consciousness. Then I am experienced paralysis of certain parts of the
12 body, pains in the paralysed parts of my body. I am experiencing facial
13 spasms. And these symptoms last from six to eight hours. They are very
14 painful. And for any layman, they are classical symptoms of brain
16 So far, we're preventing the worst from happening by using a
17 special medicine. If I collapse, anybody who is near me at that time
18 gives me this medicine and that prevents the worst thing from happening.
19 It's a similar effect that this drug has that nitrogen glycerine has for
20 people suffering from heart disease.
21 So these health problems have become evident in the interim
22 period between two Status Conferences, these two surgeries and my brain
24 I hope you will not take it adversely if I say something about
25 this particular issue. The medical centre or facility director of the
1 Detention Unit, on Friday, informed me about the report of the medical
2 facility in charge of my treatment. They reported about my current state
3 of health, my medical situation. The head of the Medical Unit is
4 currently on holiday. He told me to study these findings over the
5 weekend and then to report on Monday to the Medical Unit which does not
6 actually administer my treatment and just to let them know if there is
7 anything wrong and if I have any problems. But the head of the
8 Medical Unit is still on holiday.
9 I have studied it well. During the weekend, on the 14th and on
10 the 15th, and yesterday, on Monday, in accordance with instructions, I
11 reported to the manager of the Medical Unit. He then submitted a
12 one-page report about my health issues to you. This physician was simply
13 unable to see me before 1400 hours on Monday. He did not want to talk to
14 me. Fortunately, the manager of the Medical Unit in the UNDU had
15 returned from his leave. He gave me an injection in my right leg. It
16 was something very complicated and very painful. He interrupted his
17 leave and returned. I told him that I was unable to follow his
18 instructions because the competent doctor, and I'm using this particular
19 word because that's the word that is normally used in this situation -- I
20 told him that the competent doctor did not want to see me. We spoke for
21 one hour, and I'm not going to take any more of your time, but I want to
22 draw your attention to what he told you about my two illnesses and about
23 other illnesses that I mentioned to you.
24 As for the surgery on both knees, he refers simply to the illness
25 of one knee. He makes no mention of the other knee. And he says there
1 is no need to perform this particular surgery, as if it was I who
2 requested the surgery. If only I could go on without this particular
3 surgery. It would have been really good. But it was the specialist, the
4 doctor, who recommended this particular surgery. And that's what he
5 tells you in one of his points.
6 As for the dramatic deterioration in my brain illness, he tells
7 you that I had the problem in 2004. That was the time when I didn't even
8 know about the existence of the International Criminal Tribunal, and I'm
9 not going to ask you where you were at the time. However, he doesn't
10 mention anything that is relevant to this situation. He doesn't mention
11 the situation with my brain in 2009, in 2010. He doesn't mention the
12 authentic medical findings, the special methods used to verify all these,
13 the computers, the magnetic resonance.
14 Furthermore, this very same competent doctor, whose name I'm not
15 going to mention here deliberately, informed you -- or, rather, not
16 you -- he informed the Trial Chamber as an expert appointed by the
17 Trial Chamber on the 5th of January, 2009. He submitted a report saying
18 that I was currently suffering from this particular brain illness. And
19 then yesterday, during our conversation, he did not even permit to touch
20 upon this subject. He told me that I have a new disease, called
21 migraine. He even wrote down that I'm receiving some therapy, that I'm
22 drinking some medicine. I asked him, What kind of medicines, what kind
23 of illness, what kind of symptoms? It is obvious that he is not informed
24 about my situation. He doesn't know that recently I haven't been able to
25 speak and that I had fainting spells. He told me that as soon as the
1 manager comes back he's going to consult with him in order to try to find
2 a way to give me better medical treatment.
3 I'd rather not continue speaking about this. However,
4 Your Honour, when you hear this, I very much hope that you're not going
5 to take it against me if I quote a Serbian proverb related to health
6 issues, which goes: As for my health, I have nothing to brag about. At
7 the same time, the proverb goes on to say: And I have nobody to complain
8 to. It is quite obvious that the second part of the proverb does not
9 pertain to me because I did complain to you about every single illness
10 that I had so far. And you showed great understanding. And if you'd
11 permit me, I'd like to express my gratitude to you once again for that.
12 I will admit here that whenever I mentioned my illnesses, just as
13 I am speaking about them now, I feel very uncomfortable because I am
14 boring all of you here. However, I also have a duty towards you,
15 Mr. President. I want to be honest to you. I want to be honest towards
16 the truth and justice, as you would probably formulate it yourself.
17 And in the end, I would like to avoid becoming a subject of that
18 very well-known proverb, which says: It is a poor justice that has to
19 justify itself. What I'm trying to say here is that if anybody should
20 justify themselves, then it should be those who submitted the reports
21 which are devoid of any ethics in the least. And I shall resist from
22 using any other qualifications.
23 Your Honour, I trust you and your Chamber. I trust that you have
24 been able to inform yourself sufficiently and in a detailed way about all
25 my illnesses to date. I trust that you are going to inform yourself
1 about all my other illnesses by way of relevant reports that will soon be
2 submitted by my Defence.
3 Mr. President, it is my judgement that the time has come when I
4 should keep silent, and I should only continue to repeat to myself the
5 words from Holy Bible, and those words are: Let our strength be in law
6 and justice, hoping and trusting that that justice will reach me, too. I
7 shall endeavour to continue standing up as long as possible and to spend
8 as little time as possible collapsed on the floor. However, that will
9 not going depend -- it is not going to depend on me only. At the same
10 time, I would like to quote the wise words of the
11 former President Johnson, former American President Johnson, who used to
12 say: The response by silence is the greatest and the strongest argument.
13 Your Honour, this is all that I wanted to say today. I would
14 like to thank you once again for your understanding, and express my faith
15 that the whole Chamber will have a full and correct picture about my
16 state of health, just as I'm convinced that you have it in this
17 particular moment.
18 Once again, thank you, and please permit me to sit down.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
20 And, Mr. Lazarevic, I take note of your submissions, and I'll
21 certainly convey your concern to the Registrar. At the same time,
22 I think I have to remind you, as I have recalled on several occasions,
23 according to the Rule 80 and 81 of the Detention Rules, where a detainee
24 is not satisfied with the conditions of his detention, he is entitled to
25 make a complaint to the remanding officer or his representatives at any
1 time; and in case of an unsatisfactory response, to make a written
2 complaint without censorship to the Registrar, who shall inform the
4 Is there anybody who would like to express his concern about his
5 health or condition of the detention?
6 Well, I see none.
7 Before we turn to any issues that parties may wish to raise, I
8 would like to briefly mention a few outstanding matters.
9 First, the translation of the trial judgement into B/C/S was
10 issued on the 13th of September, 2010. On 10th February and on the
11 22nd of March, 2011, respectively, the Appeals Chamber dismissed, without
12 prejudice, the motion of Mr. Lukic and Mr. Sainovic to vary their grounds
13 of appeal following the translation of the trial judgement into B/C/S.
14 To date, no further submissions have been filed by either parties.
15 Secondly, any party wishing to file a motion to vary their
16 grounds of appeal following the translation of the trial judgement should
17 do so no later than 14th June 2011. After this date, the translation of
18 the trial judgement will not constitute good cause for any party seeking
19 to vary their grounds of appeal. In this context, I note that by this
20 date the Defence will have had access to the B/C/S translation of the
21 trial judgement for nine months. I consider this period to be ample time
22 for the appellants to read and digest the trial judgement and discuss the
23 contents thereof with their respective counsel.
24 Thirdly, at this moment there are currently no pending motions in
25 the present case.
1 At this point, I would like to ask the parties whether they have
2 any other issues that they would like to raise at this time. Is there
3 any issue the Prosecution would like to raise?
4 MS. VERRALL: No, there isn't, Your Honour. Thank you.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
6 Now I turn to the counsel for Mr. Sainovic. Do you have any
7 other issues that you would like to raise?
8 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 And the counsel for Ojdanic?
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
13 Counsel for Pavkovic?
14 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
16 Counsel for Mr. Lazarevic?
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. Thank you.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
19 And the counsel for Mr. Lukic?
20 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 We just would like to say that we will comply with Your Honour's
22 directive to have the reconstituted Motion for Variation of Appeals filed
23 by the 14th of June. Apart from that, we have nothing further to add.
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
25 This concludes today's Status Conference. I thank the parties
1 for their attendance, and the hearing is adjourned.
2 ---Whereupon the Status Conference concluded
3 at 3.06 p.m.