1 Thursday, 16 May 2002
2 [Initial Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.32 a.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, everybody. Let me please first of
7 all be sure that everybody can hear me.
8 Mr. Mrksic, can you hear me in a language you understand?
9 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Madam Registrar, will you please
11 call the case.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour. Case number
13 IT-95-13/a-I, the Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Mile Mrksic.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
15 May we have the appearances, please, for the Prosecution.
16 MS. DEL PONTE: Yes, Your Honour. The Prosecution is represented
17 by myself, Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, Peggy Kuo, trial attorney, and
18 Dianne Boles, case manager.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the representative for the Defence?
20 MR. VASIC: Your Honour, the Defence will be represented by
21 Miroslav Vasic. Thank you.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Vasic, did you receive the necessary
23 documents in preparation of this Initial Appearance?
24 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We have received
25 the necessary documents. The accused has received the indictment and he
1 has understood it, and he can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on each
2 count of the indictment. Perhaps it would not be necessary to read the
3 indictment today, since the accused's health is not very good, and it
4 would be better for him to enter a plea and for this Initial Appearance to
5 be as brief as possible.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this information, but first of all
7 some questions directed to the accused.
8 Would you please stand up. I should like first of all to ask you
9 several questions not falling on the human rights of the accused to remain
10 silent. It's for the purposes of your identification only. Would you
11 please state your full name, including all first names and nicknames, for
12 the record.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my name is Mile
14 Mrksic. I don't have a nickname.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And your father's and mother's name, please?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My father's name was Dragan and my
17 mother's name was Evica.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The date and place of birth?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I was born on the 1st of May, 1947,
20 in Kozarac, in the municipality of Vrgin Most.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Are you married? Do you have children?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm married and I have three
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What was your profession or occupation before
25 you came here?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] At the moment I'm retired, but I was
2 an active officer in the army. I was a General, and I was retired as a
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And finally, the last place of residence?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My last place of residence was the
6 street of Mina Vukomanovic number 1 in Belgrade.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please be seated for a moment.
8 Normally the indictment should be read out, especially in the
9 interests of the international society that has a right to be informed
10 what is going on in the Tribunal and what are the basics of our work. I
11 understand here in this case there's a special problem with regard to some
12 health problems by your client. Are the parties prepared to waive the
13 right that the indictment be read out?
14 I can see a nodding from the side of the Prosecution, and it was
15 already confirmed by the Defence. But I have to ask in person the
16 accused: Do you also waive your right that the indictment be read out
17 here today?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do waive my right.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
20 Then I have to inform you that it is of course your right to
21 remain silent. No inference to your disadvantage can be drawn if you
22 remain totally silent. The only inference that can be drawn is the one
23 exception laid down in Rule 62 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence. "If
24 an accused fails to enter a plea at the Initial Appearance, the Judge
25 shall enter a plea of not guilty on the accused's behalf."
1 But I have to warn you at the same time that everything you may
2 say in the courtroom may be used even against you in evidence. But it is
3 only fair to tell you also the other side of the coin. It is a general
4 rule in all courtrooms of this globe, and of course in this Tribunal, that
5 any kind of cooperation will be for your advantage. In case it will not
6 come to a sentencing stage, it will be in your interests to speed up the
7 proceedings in case, and I emphasise in case, it would come to sentencing
8 stage, such kind of cooperation will always be held in your favour, and
9 it's for you to discuss this issue in depth with your Defence counsel,
10 balancing all these interests.
11 Did you understand this admonition?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I have understood that, Your
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
15 As I understood, you have been informed on the contents of your
16 indictment of 2nd December 1997, and therefore we can immediately go to
17 the individual counts. At the end of this indictment, one can read - and
18 I would ask you to stand up and answer immediately after each count
19 whether you are prepared to plead guilty or not guilty. At the end of the
20 indictment it says:
21 "By their acts and omissions, Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic, Veselin
22 Sljivancanin - first name has to be redacted on the basis of a former
23 decision of this Tribunal because this person, Mr. Dokmanovic, died.
24 These now remaining three persons, including you yourself, are held
25 criminally responsible for beatings.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Count 1: Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949,
2 recognised by Article 2(C), (wilfully causing of great suffering) of the
3 Tribunal Statute.
4 What is your plea?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Count 2: Violations of the laws or customs of
7 war, recognised by Article 3, (cruel treatment) of the Tribunal Statute.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Count 3: Crimes against humanity, recognised by
10 Article 5(I), (inhumane acts) of the Statute.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Killings. Count 4: Grave breaches of the
13 Geneva Conventions of 1949 recognised by Article 2(A) (wilful killing) of
14 the Statute.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Count 5: Violations of the laws or customs of
17 war recognised by Article 3 (murder) of the Tribunal Statute.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And finally, Count 6: Crimes against humanity,
20 recognised by Article 5(A) (murder) of the Tribunal Statute.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not guilty.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please be seated again.
23 I want to summarise for the registry that you entered a plea of
24 not guilty on all counts of this indictment of 2nd December 1997. I have
25 to ask you: Do you regard it as necessary that anybody, any relevant
1 person, any member of in your family, is informed about your detention and
2 the whereabouts, how to contact you? Is it necessary?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my family is informed
4 as I surrendered myself voluntarily, the state that I come from is aware
5 of the fact that I am here, so it is not necessary to inform anyone in
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the other question, because it's a mandatory
8 rule of public international law: Is there any embassy or consulate to be
9 informed about your detention?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think our consulate is informed of
11 this, as far as I know, since our country is in contact with the Tribunal
12 through the consulate.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you want to make any other observations?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to say that my health
15 is not very good, because I had two operations on the heart, an all these
16 changes have had a negative effect on my condition. So other than that,
17 there is nothing I would like to say. My lawyer will speak to me.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And in addition, the question is, of
19 course, the question of the ongoing detention on remand. Until now, we
20 have a warrant of arrest edited in the absence of the accused, and
21 therefore to cure this and to grant the right to be heard, are there any
22 objections at present against ongoing detention?
23 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence had the
24 intention of informing the Trial Chamber of the health condition of
25 Mr. Mrksic. As he himself has said, he has had two operations, two
1 serious heart operations, and before coming here, before going to the
2 Detention Unit, he had to be subjected to post operative rehabilitation in
3 one of the treatment centres, one of the hospitals. However, he decided
4 not to go to this rehabilitation course in order to appear here, appear
5 before the Trial Chamber on a voluntary basis. But since he has arrived
6 here, his health has deteriorated, probably as a result of the situation
7 in which he finds himself. And the Defence, given that it considers that
8 it is very difficult to provide adequate -- the accused with adequate
9 medical treatment in the conditions that prevail in the Detention Unit,
10 the Defence will attempt, by Monday, when it obtains all the necessary
11 documents, will put forward a suggestion for the provisional release of
12 the accused in order to enable him to follow this course in
13 rehabilitation. Although, given what the doctor suggested, he should
14 follow the treatment that the doctor has suggested and later on he could
15 return to the Detention Unit if this is necessary.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I understand you correctly that it's your
17 intention to file a written motion on this issue?
18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I hope that by
19 Monday we will have filed a written submission to that effect.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
21 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On the basis of these observations by the
23 parties, today I have to order that the detention has to continue until
24 further order, and of course we expect your contributions. And a
25 Pre-Trial Judge will be assigned as soon as possible to this case. Of
1 course, the question of provisional release, when it then will be raised,
2 has to be answered by the entire Trial Chamber II, composed of the three
3 permanent Judges.
4 Any other issues to be discussed today?
5 MS. DEL PONTE: Yes, Your Honour. Just to inform about the
6 disclosure. We give to the Defence counsel this morning supporting
7 material in English, but we will transmit this afternoon the translation
8 in B/C/S. So we -- all material is available, so we will able to transfer
9 all the documentation in the 30 days, as in the Rules.
10 Yes, about provisional release, Your Honour, we expect the written
11 request, and we will see the doctor's expertise. Thank you, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you very much, and of course you will
13 understand that the Trial Chamber also would appreciate to get the same
14 supporting material that we have the basis for our decision, but I think
15 in this case first of all it's a question to decide on whether it's
16 responsible to have the accused on ongoing detention on remand. But first
17 of all, we should have a good basis for the decision, first of all, the
18 documentation by the doctors.
19 Then I think I can't see any other observations. We can
20 conclude. And whenever there should be a problem, please don't hesitate
21 to contact the Judges immediately. We are for your service. Thank you.
22 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance
23 adjourned at 10.51 a.m.