Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 33

1 Monday, 11 November 2002

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.35 p.m.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Registrar. Could you call the case,

7 please.

8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Case Number

9 IT-95-13/1-PT, the Prosecutor versus Mile Mrksic. Thank you.

10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Registrar. Appearances for the

11 Prosecution.

12 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, on my left is Mark McKeon --

13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Prosecution.

14 MR. WUBBEN: -- trial attorney and at my right side, Ms. Diane

15 Boles, case manager.

16 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And good afternoon to you.

17 Appearances for the Defence.

18 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. I am

19 Miroslav Vasic acting on behalf of Mr. Mrksic. Thank you.

20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Mrksic. Have you been able to follow in a

21 language that you can understand?

22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

23 JUDGE AGIUS: The interpreting is arriving loud and clear?

24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.

25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down. Good afternoon to

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1 you.

2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to you, too.

3 JUDGE AGIUS: You will recall at the last Status Conference which

4 was held on Friday, 19th of July. And the present Status Conference is

5 being convened in terms of the regulations, particularly -- in particular

6 Rule 65 bis which requires a Status Conference to be held at regular

7 intervals set at 120 days after the last -- after the previous one.

8 The purpose of a Status Conference, I suppose you are familiar

9 with. I don't need to go through those. But more or less, they are to

10 organise here and organise exchanges between the parties with a view to

11 expediting the preparation for the trial. And also, to give an

12 opportunity, to create an opportunity for the accused to raise any issues

13 there may be in relation to his mental and physical condition. I hope

14 there aren't any.

15 Having said that, let me move step by step according to the agenda

16 that has been prepared. And first, on the list, I have outstanding

17 motions. There aren't many, but there are a few which require to be

18 addressed. And the first one is there have been a series of motions,

19 responses, and replies by the parties consequent upon the Prosecution's

20 motion for leave to file an amended indictment. As you will recall, on

21 the 1st of November, this Trial Chamber granted leave to the Prosecution

22 to file the second amended indictment, and also granted leave to the

23 Defence to file its motion on the form of the indictment if at all, that

24 depends on you, Mr. Vasic. That will be done or needs to be done within a

25 period of 30 days.

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1 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour. The

2 Defence will do so within 30 days, and possibly even before that deadline.

3 The final phase of drafting that motion will be completed upon our return

4 to Belgrade after this stay of ours in The Hague, which means within about

5 ten days.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Once you have filed this document, then

7 obviously the Trial Chamber will follow with a decision in due course.

8 May I just remind you or draw your attention to the fact that you would be

9 expected or it is desirable that you restrict yourself to the arguments

10 additional to those raised in the responses that you have already filed.

11 In other words, please don't repeat what you have already stated in your

12 previous responses. If there is anything new, you're, of course, free to

13 include that in your document. But please don't go beyond that because it

14 was -- it will just be an unnecessary and futile exercise.

15 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour. We

16 shall bear this in mind and follow the decision by the Trial Chamber that

17 we have received.

18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.

19 You certainly are aware, Mr. Vasic in particular, that as a result

20 of the second amended indictment, your client now stands charged with new

21 accusations. There are new charges. And in terms of Rule 50(B) of our

22 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, he will be now, when the right time

23 comes, asked to enter a plea as to these new charges. Before we proceed,

24 however, to that stage, I want to make sure that he has been served with a

25 copy in a language that he understands of the second amended indictment.

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1 Either you answer, or Mr. Mrksic himself.

2 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you again, Your Honour. I think

3 I can answer this question on Mr. Mrksic's behalf. He has indeed been

4 served a copy of the amended indictment in a language he understands. He

5 has read it, and he can enter a plea even without reading the text of the

6 indictment.

7 JUDGE AGIUS: So -- which brings me, I had two other questions in

8 line. One has already been completely exhausted, whether he has had

9 sufficient opportunity to read through this revised or new indictment.

10 The second one is you know -- I mean -- that there are two options. One

11 option is to have the second amended indictment read out in its entirety,

12 and I take it you're hinting that need not be the case. The other option

13 is, of course, to restrict the reading to the new charges, and I can

14 pinpoint those. And if that is acceptable to you and your client, that's

15 the way we will proceed.

16 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour. The

17 Defence and the accused believe that you can indeed ask for a plea by a

18 accused according to the new counts of the indictment. We do not believe

19 that it is necessary to read the whole text of the new amended indictment,

20 including the new counts, or the integral version of the indictment for

21 that matter.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there feedback from the Prosecution on this

23 issue?

24 MR. WUBBEN: No, Your Honour.

25 JUDGE AGIUS: So we can actually proceed as follows: I can

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1 explain very briefly, which are the new charges without the need of

2 reading the relative counts in the new amended indictment, if that is

3 agreeable. And I understand that it's agreeable to both of you. And then

4 I will ask the accused what plea he would like to enter with regard to

5 each and every one of them.

6 Mr. Mrksic, I understand you are already more or less familiar

7 with the new charges that have been brought or that have been brought

8 against you added to the already-existing indictment. There are five new

9 charges. One is of persecutions. The other one is of extermination. A

10 another one is of imprisonment. And then you have an additional new

11 charge of torture, and again another new charge of torture.

12 Do you require me to give you more details, or are you in a

13 position to answer me if I ask you how you would like to plead to these

14 five new charges?

15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I can enter my plea immediately,

16 Your Honour. I have read the indictment, and it is quite clear to me.

17 JUDGE AGIUS: So as to the new charge under 5(h), persecutions,

18 how do you plead, guilty or not guilty?

19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I plead not guilty.

20 JUDGE AGIUS: As regards the new charge under 5(b), extermination,

21 how do you plead, guilty or not guilty?

22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

23 JUDGE AGIUS: As regards the new charge under 5(e) of

24 imprisonment, how do you plead, guilty or not guilty?

25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

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1 JUDGE AGIUS: As regards the other two new charges, one under

2 5(f), and the other one under 3(1)(a) relating to cases of torture, how do

3 you plead, guilty or not guilty?

4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

5 JUDGE AGIUS: You may sit down. I thank you.

6 So that covers the second item that I had. There is a Defence

7 motion which the Trial Chamber is taking very seriously. And that is a

8 Defence motion for the review of the Registrar's decision dated 25th of

9 September, 2002, denying payment of part of the expenses related to the

10 pre-trial investigative work. The decision of the Registrar, you are

11 aware, was to the effect that accused was ordered to bear the cost of 330

12 hours of investigative work at the pre-trial stage. Before trying to

13 reach its decision, the Trial Chamber asked the Registrar and the

14 Prosecution to file a response, or their remarks rather than a response,

15 in the case of the Prosecution it's a response. And in the case of the

16 Registrar, more or less we wanted comments. And these have been filed.

17 First, I want to make sure that the Defence has been provided with

18 a copy of the response forthcoming, both from the Registry and the

19 Prosecution.

20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you again. I

21 can confirm that we have received both of these briefs.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: And before adjourning this particular matter for

23 decision, I would like to know whether either of you would like to make

24 any oral submissions on the matter in addition to what has already been

25 put in writing?

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1 MR. WUBBEN: No, Your Honour.

2 JUDGE AGIUS: Same applies to you?

3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We have

4 nothing new to submit in addition to what we have already filed. Thank

5 you.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: Then I am in a position to inform you that this

7 motion will be decided almost certainly before the end of this month. A

8 lot of work has been put into it already, and more or less now that there

9 are no further comments I think we are in a position to hand down a

10 decision pretty soon.

11 Next item of the agenda is, of course, of paramount importance for

12 the accused, for his Defence, and that's matters related to disclosure.

13 And I will touch upon, first, disclosure under Rule 66(A)(i) and (A)(ii).

14 Could I have a short resume or report from the Prosecution as to what the

15 situation is at present?

16 MR. WUBBEN: Well, Your Honour, the Prosecution side addressed to

17 Rule 66(A)(i), we completed that according to my opinion. As we come to

18 66(A)(ii), that's a matter that's concentrating after the phase of the

19 disposing of the preliminary motion. And it means as well that the

20 Prosecution is quite aware of the fact that counsel for Defence needs the

21 material, and we already, counsel and me, we met this afternoon making

22 some agreements that we proceed on that after the phase of the preliminary

23 motion.

24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. So I take it that as far as 66(A)(i) is

25 concerned, the exercise is ready?

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1 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour.

2 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you agree with that, Mr. Vasic? It's not that

3 I'm putting in doubt what you say, but it's a question having it confirmed

4 also by the Defence.

5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence has received

6 all the supporting material accompanying the second amended indictment,

7 together with the full text. And the request for approval for the new

8 amended indictment to be submitted. And my learned friend and colleague

9 has just said that this material has been added, enclosed, with the new

10 indictment, so there is no reason for us to doubt his words we have

11 received the entire material according to Rule 66(A)(i).

12 JUDGE AGIUS: In a language that your client understands, that

13 requirement being fully satisfied?

14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, we have received all the

15 supporting material in language my client can understand. And thank you

16 again, Your Honour.

17 As concerns item 2, 66(A)(i), my learned friends and colleagues

18 from the Prosecution and I did meet today, and as he has just told Your

19 Honour, we reached an agreement to go over to this phase of the hearing

20 after the preliminary motions have been dealt with. And then the Defence

21 will also deal with the documents being delivered according to Rule 68.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So that that covers also Rule 68 more or

23 less. The reason I asked the question, because I did have in mind

24 suggesting to the Prosecution to suggest in turn to the Tribunal time

25 limits within which it would comply with the -- at least the first

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1 substantive stage of Rule 66(A)(ii), fully aware that this is, as in most

2 other cases, an ongoing process in any case. So I am fully satisfied that

3 you're giving the matter your full attention, so at this point in time,

4 having also heard what you submitted, I don't think it's the case of

5 fixing any time limits. And we'll see what the situation will be like

6 when we will have the next Status Conference in February.

7 Would you agree that this applies also to disclosures under Rule

8 68?

9 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour.

10 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Before closing down this part on

12 disclosures, is there any other submission that you would like to make,

13 either of you? Prosecution first.

14 MR. WUBBEN: No, thank you.

15 JUDGE AGIUS: Defence?

16 Are there any other matters that you would like to raise?

17 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. The Defence has no

18 other matters to raise. Just for the record, my previous reply was that I

19 had no questions.

20 JUDGE AGIUS: That happens sometimes. Thank you.

21 The last thing that needs to be done is for me to address the

22 accused. And sir, I would like to know whether you have anything to say

23 or any matter to raise with regard your state of health and/or your

24 conditions of detention. Let's take state of health first.

25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you for giving

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1 me an opportunity to discuss this. We talked about it last time. And my

2 health has improved during that period because I observe the instructions

3 received from my doctor. And because the physical activity that I indulge

4 in is as befits my state of health. I have been taking medications, and I

5 hope that I can see this trial through to the very end. I hope, but we'll

6 see.

7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And with regard to the conditions of

8 your detention, are there any complaints or any matters that you would

9 like to raise?

10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, I have no matters to raise in

11 that respect. Everything is perfectly all right.

12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you. You may sit down. I understand

13 that being what it is, brings us to the end of this Status Conference. I

14 thank you. And the Chamber now stands adjourned. Next Status Conference

15 will be within the time limit of 120 days as established by the Rules, and

16 that would probably be sometime in February. I thank you.

17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.58 p.m.