1 Tuesday, 7 July 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you please
6 call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good afternoon, Your Honours.
8 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
9 Vojislav Seselj.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
11 Today is Tuesday, the 7th of July, 2009. Let me first greet
12 Mr. Seselj, Ms. Dahl and her entire team of the OTP, not to forget, of
13 course, the court reporter, who was already working this morning with me
14 on another case and is now working again. Good afternoon to you,
15 Mr. Usher, and all the people assisting us.
16 We are now in open session, so for the time being I shall not
17 deal with the witness who's about to start testifying.
18 But very briefly, Mr. Seselj, I would like to address a few
19 administrative issues. I'll give you the floor, but please be brief,
20 because we have a lot on our plates today.
21 First of all, the issue of the videos. Since your associates
22 cannot make it to The Hague
23 recordings could be sent to the office in Belgrade and will be kept by
24 the representative of the Registry in Belgrade, and on a specific date
25 and at a specific time suitable to them, the associates could view them
1 there. In this way, we would not have to pay flights and per diems for
2 accommodation. So rather than having your associate come to The Hague
3 we could send the video recordings to Belgrade.
4 Does this suit you or not?
5 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Judges, given that you have
6 suspended my two legal advisers, Zoran Krasic and Slavko Jerkovic --
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. I'm not getting
8 the French interpretation.
9 Please start again.
10 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Given that you have
11 suspended --
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There seems to be a problem,
13 Registrar. Can you please check. It may be that they are on the
14 Albanian channel.
15 You can start now. Thank you.
16 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Given that you have
17 suspended my two legal advisers, Zoran Krasic and Slavko Jerkovic, I have
18 no possibility to have their assistance in reviewing these video
19 recordings, either in The Hague
20 Until their status is reinstated in this case, this question is simply
21 meaningless to put.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for being short in
23 your observations.
24 The second topic. You know that the Trial Chamber, and I, in
25 particular, are worried about your health, following articles in the
2 examine you. A Serbian doctor was suggested by the Registry, so we
3 thought, quite innocently, that that wouldn't cause a problem, and we
4 have just learned from the Registry that you have a problem with it,
5 because you say that the doctor belongs to a political party that is
6 opposed to yours. I don't know how you came to know in which party he
7 is. He's not here to do politics, but he's here to give his point of
8 view as a medical expert. So do you still refuse to see him?
9 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] When the prison medical
10 officer told me that a cardiologist from the Military Medical Academy
11 from Belgrade
12 into a private session? - that's Dr. Dragan Dindjic [phoen] from the
13 Military Medical Academy
14 some inquiries with my friends in Belgrade about who he was. And I've
15 been told that he is a member of the Democratic Party and that he's a
16 personal physician of Boris Tadic, the president of the republic. In
17 view of that fact, I absolutely have no trust in him, and I therefore
18 refuse to have any contact with him. I have forbidden the detention
19 medical officer to provide my medical records to him because it is
20 exclusively a discretionary right of mine to decide who can have access
21 to my medical records.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. This is now on the
23 record. We were not aware that he was the personal doctor of President
25 Very quickly, do you have any special question to address to the
1 Trial Chamber?
2 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] I have only two questions.
3 Firstly, the video recordings of the court proceedings, I would
4 like to remind you, gentlemen, Judges, that at the time you have ruled --
5 or, rather, Judge Antonetti ruled, as a Pre-Trial Judge, and this ruling
6 existed from the previous stage only before I had been given video
7 recordings. Now I'm being given DVDs of trials. I have received them on
8 a regular basis, after each session. However, the case manager,
9 Marina Ragus, told me that there was some problems with the video
10 recordings of the 8th of January, when, in a closed session, a protected
11 witness, 065, testified via videolink. He was a very important witness,
12 but the video recording does not contain any of his answers to the
13 questions asked. We intervened with the Registry on several occasions,
14 and their final answer was that there was no video recording or audio
15 recording of that testimony, that there was only an official transcript
16 in English.
17 You know very well that I don't trust this official transcript at
18 all, and this immediately gave rise -- suspicion that somebody
19 deliberately destroyed both recordings, audio and video, in order to
20 falsify the official transcript. What else could I think?
21 Now, this brings another problem, and that is my right to
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I was, indeed,
24 informed by a member from the Registry some ten days ago that there was a
25 technical hitch. I'm always surprised when we have technical problems,
1 but there, there was. What you have just said was confirmed in the
2 Registry's memo. Unfortunately, I did not have time to look at the
3 English text and the French text again.
4 Let me explain. When we speak, you see, the transcript, the
5 LiveNote's on your screens, and that's the authoritative text, overnight
6 it is sent to Canada
7 chose to send it to Canada
8 version. I'm going to read again the 100 pages or so in English and in
9 French, and should there be anything suspicious, I'll tell you. But
10 right now, I'm unable to say anything about it because I've not yet had
11 an opportunity to look at the text.
12 However, if the audio recording has disappeared because for some
13 reasons, some technical reasons, there was no recording, all we have left
14 is the transcript in English and in French.
15 So the Judges will be able to look into the matter. One solution
16 might be to call the witness again, or we might think that what has been
17 done is enough. But that's all I can tell you right now.
18 Second topic, please.
19 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Going back to the previous
20 topic, I hereby submit that you instruct the Registry to have this
21 official transcript immediately translated into Serbian so that I can
22 review its contents and, if necessary, make some objections. But this is
23 again relying on memory and, therefore, unreliable.
24 Concerning the video recording and the loss of the audio
25 recording, I think that the testimony of this witness is fully
1 disqualified with respect to the possibility of proving any culpability
2 based on his evidence. I think you're aware of that.
3 You also know that every transcript here has to be corroborated
4 by either video or audio recording. Otherwise, the transcripts would
5 have been verified and authenticated in a different way after each
6 session. This is how it is being done in the European Court, where there
7 are no audio or video recordings provided.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Is that all? No other topic?
9 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 Quite briefly, since I promised to remind you of this every time,
11 in view of the fact that the Trial Chamber, presided by you,
12 Judge Antonetti, is not conducting these proceedings within the set
13 time-limit, I think that this is a blatant violation of my right to a
14 fair trial, and therefore I demand that all members of the Bench
15 individually state the reasons for their breaching my right to a fair
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you know, it was a majority
18 decision. I expressed my opinion, as you know. Please read my many
19 interventions on the issue in that respect.
20 But regarding what I've said so far, let me add this: If you are
21 of the view that the trial is too long, you know the case law of the
22 European Court of Human Rights that says that in certain circumstances,
23 the accused, who is in provisional detention, may be asked to be
24 released, and you are free to do so, and you can try to get a state to
25 provide guarantees in keeping with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,
1 and the Trial Chamber, if seized of the matter, will discuss and make a
2 determination, because there can always be an appeal by the Prosecutor,
3 and the Appeals Chamber is the one that has the final word. So this is a
4 procedural means available to you if you are of the view that your
5 custody is unreasonably long.
6 Let's moved to closed session.
7 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Please, before you move into
8 a closed session, I have to tell you one more thing.
9 If my detention has been unreasonably long, this is not solely my
10 problem. This is the problem for the Trial Chamber as well. The Trial
11 Chamber has to state whether my detention has been unreasonably long or
12 not. I could object to other things, but on this specific issue I have
13 no objections directly to you, Mr. Antonetti. Your colleagues, however,
14 should state their opinions on that.
15 Secondly, concerning provisional release, you know very well that
16 there is not a single state that will provide guarantees for me. If the
17 Rules of Procedure provide that a country or the government should
18 provide guarantees, there is no such provision envisaged that -- there is
19 going to be no country providing such guarantee, or that the accused is
20 unwilling or reluctant to accept this guarantee. Therefore, my right to
21 a fair trial and my right not to be unreasonably detained for a long time
22 depends -- does not depend on the will of a third party. It depends
23 solely on the Trial Chamber, whether you adhere to the law or not. There
24 is not a single country in the world that would consider such a long
25 detention reasonable, that the suspect or the accused has to wait for a
1 trial for five years, as I have done. If that is a fact, then the Trial
2 Chamber should seek a solution, not me. Don't put impossible demands and
3 requests on me to find a state that would provide guarantees for me,
4 because I know in advance there is no such state willing to provide such
5 guarantees. Why is that? In my country, there is a pro-Western,
6 mafia-type, treacherous government. I wouldn't accept their guarantees
7 for the life of me. I'd rather die. Why would, then, on the other hand,
8 any foreign government provide any guarantee for me? There's no ground
9 for that, either.
10 But it is not my duty to find a way out of this situation. That
11 is your duty, and you are not doing it. Apparently the majority of
12 members of the Trial Chamber don't believe that there should be a
13 solution sought.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you know that the
15 trial can resume very quickly when the other Trial Chamber, which is
16 seized of various procedural matters, has completed its work. Recently,
17 the other Trial Chamber issued a decision finalising a contempt of court
18 proceeding. A decision has been issued. Let us hope that other issues
19 will be issued and that the trial could resume shortly.
20 We were just five hours away from the Rule 98 bis procedures,
21 maybe a little longer, if there is a decision by the Trial Chamber on the
22 extension of time asked by the Prosecutor. We're just in the last leg of
23 the Prosecution case. All there is left is that small tools -- short
24 tools to put an end to the Prosecution case, and we'll be there. I'm
25 waiting, just as you are. I hope there will be a solution soon.
1 THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have
2 insisted several times to be told whether there is any other proceedings
3 being conducted except for the proceedings for the contempt of court. I
4 haven't received any information to that effect. (redacted)
10 Now, what does that have to do with the current proceedings and
11 what the implications are? I don't see any. Perhaps there are some
12 implications. Perhaps someone is hopeful that on the basis of the
13 acquittal, a Defence lawyer can be imposed on me in the continuation of
14 the process, which is impossible.
15 There is no judgement scheduled for July. It may be handed down
16 in September. Then it needs to be translated into Serbian for me, which
17 will take another month, and we'll be in October. Then I have a
18 fortnight to lodge an appeal. That means by mid-November. Then I have
19 another two months to lodge an appeal. That's mid-January. While the
20 Appeals Chamber is deliberating on my motions, and I also have the right
21 to appeal the rebuttal of the Prosecution, we will be in the summer next
22 year. And if this judgement becomes final, you cannot act upon it
23 forthwith, because any judgement that is not final cannot be deemed valid
24 and cannot produce any new legal consequences, except that it is going to
25 perpetuate and prolong my detention, and it will go on like that for
1 probably 30 or 40 years more.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, let's move into
3 closed session, and let's check that we can see the witness.
4 [Closed session]
11 Pages 14570-14617 redacted. Closed session.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.38 p.m.
18 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 8th day of July,
19 2009, at 2.15 p.m.