Case No. IT-03-67-PT


Judge Carmel A. Agius, Presiding
Judge Florence Ndepele Mwachande Mumba
Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti

Mr. Hans Holthuis

Order of:
18 November 2003







The Office of the Prosecutor:

Ms. Hildegaard Uertz-Retzlaff
Mr. Daniel Saxon

The Accused:

Vojislav Seselj

Standby counsel:

Aleksandar Lazarevic


TRIAL CHAMBER II ("Trial Chamber") of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 ("Tribunal");

BEING SEISED OF "Motion Number 23" filed by the accused Vojislav Seselj ("Accused") on 30 October 2003;

NOTING that the Accused in his Motion seeks, inter alia, certification pursuant to Rule 73 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("Rules") ("First Request") to appeal the "Decision on Motion Number 19", rendered on 30 September 2003 ("Impugned Decision"), wherein the Trial Chamber denied the Accused’s request to be visited by Bishop Filaret of Milesevo, stating that

[…] the Accused is entitled access to a representative of his own religion, and that this right is also laid down in Rule 68 and following of the Rules Governing the Detention of Persons Awaiting Trial or Appeal Before the Tribunal Or Otherwise Detained on the Authority of the Tribunal, […] that this right is not an unlimited one and certainly does not encompass the right of an accused to select himself the representative of the Orthodox Christian Church, but rather that he is entitled to establish contacts with "the ministers or spiritual advisers of the host prison" as regulated by the relevant Rules,1

NOTING FURTHER that the Accused also seeks authorisation from the Chamber to exceed the page limit in relation to certain preliminary motions already filed before the Trial Chamber and the Appeals Chamber on the form of the indictment and challenging the jurisdiction of this Tribunal ("Second Request");

NOTING the response of the Prosecution to the Accused’s Motion number 23, dated 10 November 2003, urging the Chamber to deny the Accused’s request for certification to appeal the Impugned Decision, and arguing that the Accused has identified no exceptional circumstances to justify a departure from the directives on page limits set out in the Practice Direction on the Length of Briefs and Motions ("Practice Direction"), and further arguing that the time period within which preliminary motions, such as motions challenging jurisdiction and motions alleging defects in the form of the indictment, may be filed pursuant to Rule 72 of the Rules has long since elapsed;

CONSIDERING, in relation to the Accused’s First Request, that during the Status Conference of 29 October 2003 the Presiding Judge of this Trial Chamber acknowledged that the Impugned Decision concerns an important issue which ought to be determined by the Appeals Chamber;2

CONSIDERING that under Rule 127(A)(ii) of the Rules, the Trial Chamber, upon good cause being shown, can recognise as validly done any act done after the expiration of a time limit prescribed by the Rules;

NOTING Section 7 of the Practice Direction on the Length of Briefs and Motions ("Practice Direction")3 which states that a Trial Chamber may grant authorization to exceed the page limits in the Practice Direction if the party seeking authorization provides "an explanation of the exceptional circumstances that necessitates the oversized filing";

NOTING that, although the Accused’s Second Request does not provide such an explanation, the Trial Chamber has, in view of the fact that the Accused conducts his own defence, carefully reviewed the exceptional circumstances which might necessitate a variation from the page limits foreseen in the Practice Direction;

CONSIDERING that the Trial Chamber, bearing great importance on the principle of equity, equality and the rights of defence, is of the firm belief that the matters raised by the Accused in his Second Request, namely challenges to jurisdiction and allegations of defects in the form of the indictment ("Matters"), could be classified as exceptional circumstances under Section 7 of the Practice Direction and justify exceeding the page limit foreseen in the Practice Direction;

CONSIDERING FURTHER that it would be in the interests of justice to provide the Accused with an opportunity to properly raise these Matters which fall within the ambit of Rule 72;


PURSUANT TO Rule 73(B) and Rule 127(A)(ii) of the Rules;

HEREBY RECOGNISES the First Request as being validly filed and GRANTS certification to appeal the Impugned Decision;


GRANTS the Accused three weeks, from the date on which he receives this Decision in the language which he understands, in which to file a single motion relating to challenges to jurisdiction and defects in the form of the indictment, which should not exceed fifty pages.


Done in English and French, the English version being authoritative.

Dated this 18th day of November 2003,
At The Hague
The Netherlands

Judge Carmel Agius

[Seal of the Tribunal]

1. Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj, Case IT-03-67-PT, Decision on Motion Number 19, 30 September 2003.
2. Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj, Case IT-03-67-PT, Status Conference, 29 October 2003, T. 163-164.
3. Practice Direction on the Length of Briefs and Motions, 5 March 2002, IT/184 Rev. 1.