Before: Judge David Hunt, Pre-Appeal Judge
Registrar: Mr Hans Holthuis
Decision of: 28 February 2002
Zdravko MUCIC, Hazim DELIC and Esad LANDZO
Counsel for the Prosecution:
Mr Norman Farrell
Counsel for the Defence:
Mr Tomislav Kuzmanovic and Mr Howard Morrison QC for Zdravko Mucic
Mr Salih Karabdic and Mr Tom Moran for Hazim Delic
Ms Cynthia Sinatra and Mr Peter Murphy for Esad Landzo
1. Pursuant to Rule 127 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (“ Rules”), the prosecution seeks an extension of time for the filing of its Prosecution Consolidated Response Brief.1 It had been required to do so by Monday last, 25 February.2
2. However, because of computer problems, the prosecution was not in a position to file its Brief until 4.15 pm on 25 February.3 The Registry refused to accept the document as having been filed on 25 February,4 and the document now bears as its filing date 26 February.
3. The Directive for the Registry – Judicial Department – Court Management and Support Services,5 provides, by Article 25, that the date of filing is the date on which the document was placed in the custody of the Registry, and that (subject to Articles 26 through 29 of the Directive) the Registry shall date-stamp the document with the date of its “submission S…C to the Registry”. Article 27, as it appears in IT/121,6 provides that the normal business hours of the Registry are 9.00 am to 5.30 pm, and that permission is required for “after-hours” filings. The Directive itself records that it was approved by the Tribunal on 25 June 1996,7 and it provides that the Directive may be amended by the Registrar “in consultation with the Judges and the Office of the Prosecutor”.8
4. Notwithstanding the requirements of Article 2 before the Directive may be amended , the Co-ordinator of Court Management and Support Services, by a document dated 23 May 2000 (headed “Internal Memorandum” and issued “through” the Registrar), unilaterally announced that, as from 1 June 2000, Article 27 had been amended to provide that the opening hours for filing documents would be from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm, that no documents could be filed after hours and that documents submitted for after-hours filing would be filed during the opening hours of the next working day. There was no consultation with the judges before this was announced. Article 25 has not been amended. The amendment to Article 27 was not incorporated in IT/121.
5. Attention was drawn late last year to the defects in the procedure followed by the Coordinator.9 Nothing has been done to overcome those defects, and the purported amendment, as it has been called ,10 remains ineffective. The Registry remains instructed by the Directive approved by the Tribunal to remain open until 5.30 pm, and the prosecution was entitled to have its document accepted as having been filed on the day it was presented, 25 February. The filing date shown on the document is therefore incorrect, and the Registry is directed to comply with the terms of the Directive as they appear in IT/121 and to record the correct date upon which it was filed, 25 February.
6. However, the Registry – following the incorrect stance it took when the document was presented for filing – did not send copies of the prosecution’s document to counsel for the appellants by facsimile transmission until 26 February, thereby denying the appellants the full period permitted by Rule 113 for their Briefs in Reply. Accordingly, the time for filing the Briefs in Reply is extended by one day.11
Done in English and French, the English text being authoritative.
Dated this 28th day of February 2002,
At The Hague,
Judge David Hunt
[Seal of the Tribunal]