1 Tuesday, 20 October 2009
2 [Status Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 4.33 p.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, kindly call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good afternoon, Your Honours.
9 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
12 Today is Tuesday, 20th of October, 2009.
13 Good afternoon, Mr. Seselj. Good afternoon to the outstanding
14 representatives of the OTP, and all people assisting us.
15 Mr. Seselj, the Trial Chamber is going to read out three
16 decisions. The very first decision is extremely important. I'm going to
17 read it out slowly so that the interpreters can convey its contents
18 faithfully, inasmuch as each and every word of the decision counts.
19 First decision. Mr. Seselj, as you know, the Trial Chamber was
20 seized by the Prosecution of an additional request of the imposition of
21 counsel. It was filed on the 28th of August, 2009. This addendum to the
22 request is added to the initial motion requiring imposition of counsel to
23 you. The motion had been filed on the 29th of July, 2008. The addendum
24 had been filed on the 14th of November, 2009 [as interpreted].
25 In its decision of the 25th of November, 2008, and the decision
1 of the 24th of March, 2009, the Trial Chamber had decided to stay its
2 decision on the motion and the addendum thereto.
3 At this juncture and in light of new information made available
4 to the Trial Chamber, the Trial Chamber has decided to dismiss the motion
5 of the 29th of July, 2008, the addendum or supplemental request of the
6 24th of November, 2008, and the supplement of the 28th of August, 2009,
7 and has decided not to impose a counsel to you. The reasons underlying
8 the decision will be conveyed in writing in the coming few weeks.
9 The Trial Chamber also stresses that in order to meet some of the
10 concerns expressed by the Prosecution with regard to protecting
11 witnesses, the Trial Chamber will also decide alternative measures which
12 will enable the witnesses to be protected, whilst safe-guarding your
13 right to self-representation.
14 Mr. Seselj, I've just read out this decision concerning you, and,
15 in a nutshell, the Trial Chamber dismissed the Prosecution's motion on
16 imposition of counsel. This means that you will keep defending yourself
17 without any counsel. For technical reasons, the Trial Chamber will issue
18 its written decision in the coming weeks.
19 Oral ruling of the 20th of October, 2009, on the accused's oral
20 motion for Mr. Zoran Krasic's privilege status to be restored.
21 Mr. Seselj, at the hearings of the 18th of August, 2009, and
22 10th of September, 2009, you asked the Trial Chamber for one of your
23 advisers or associates, Mr. Zoran Krasic, who had a privileged status,
24 the status having been stayed by a Registry decision of
25 28th of November, 2008, for this privileged status to be restored to him.
1 Since then, the Trial Chamber was notified that on the
2 15th of September, 2009, you filed an appeal before the President of the
3 Tribunal against the Registry decision of the 10th of September, 2009,
4 which confirmed the above-mentioned decision of the
5 28th of November, 2008. So you've rightly used the remedies that were
6 available to you under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
7 The Trial Chamber recalls that in its decision of the
8 9th of April, 2009, the Appeals Chamber re-affirmed that a Trial Chamber
9 cannot avail itself of a right that has been expressly attributed to
10 another authority and that the intrinsic power of a Trial Chamber to
11 intervene in order to ensure a fair trial can only be stopped once all
12 the remedies have been tried. Therefore, the Trial Chamber is of the
13 view that at this juncture of the trial proceedings, it has no competence
14 to rule on your motion, but that it could possibly intervene once the
15 remedies provided by the Rules have been used and inasmuch as this matter
16 would relate to the protection of your fundamental rights to a fair
18 So, in one word, Mr. Seselj, regarding Mr. Krasic, one has to
19 wait until a decision has been taken by the President of the Tribunal on
20 your appeal, and in the event that the President of the Tribunal were to
21 make a decision that would not suit you, you could always seize this
22 Trial Chamber of the matter.
23 Last oral ruling of the 20th of October, 2009, on Motion 426 of
24 the accused filed on the 6th of October, 2009.
25 Mr. Seselj, you filed a motion before the Trial Chamber - it was
1 filed on the 6th of October, 2009 - regarding allegations of mistreatment
2 at the Detention Unit of the United Nations, and you complained that the
3 authorities of the UNDU had refused to pass on DVDs to your associates.
4 The Trial Chamber observes that Rules 80 and 81 of the Rules on the
5 detention system allows accused to file a complaint regarding detention
6 conditions. This is a procedure which is detailed in Articles 1 to 7 of
7 the said Regulations on a filing by a detainee of a complaint.
8 The Trial Chamber is of the view that for similar reasons to
9 those underlying our oral decision on restoring the privileged status to
10 Mr. Krasic, the Trial Chamber is not competent now to rule on your
11 motion. However, if need be, the Trial Chamber will be able to intervene
12 once the remedies expressly provided for will have been used and inasmuch
13 as the matter pertains to protecting your fundamental right to fair
15 The Trial Chamber wishes to add that it has, in any event, been
16 informed by the Registry that the issue of passing on the DVDs has
17 already been solved.
18 So, Mr. Seselj, regarding Motion 426, we are telling you that you
19 first have to seize the President of the Tribunal of the matter, and only
20 then, only if your concerns are not met, then you can seize the
21 Trial Chamber.
22 This is what I was to tell you since last time we met.
23 Mr. Seselj, do you have anything to say? And then I'll ask the
24 same question of the Prosecution.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I would have a few words to
1 say, with your permission, by way of comment to your decisions. And I've
2 prepared something separate which is not directly related to your
3 decisions, but I wanted to raise it at this Status Conference.
4 Gentlemen, Judges, I have to say, quite frankly, that that is the
5 decision that I had expected you to take, because regardless of the
6 hullabaloo that I raised about all that, I never questioned your moral
7 integrity and professional dignity. I have to recognise and acknowledge
8 that here and now.
9 The decision to reject the Prosecution's request for imposition
10 of counsel is the only proper one because you could impose counsel only
11 if I were to disrupt proceedings in the courtroom, and if you threw me
12 out once, twice, three times, and then you see that things cannot carry
13 on that way, then that's the only situation in which you would be
14 justified in imposing counsel. So you understood all this and made the
15 right decision.
16 Your other two decisions, I think, are correct and proper too;
17 you've made the right decisions there. And I'm ready to wait and see
18 what the President of the Tribunal will decide, Judge Mehmet Guney, since
19 the President and Vice-President of the Tribunal have separated
20 themselves from that decision-making, since they took part earlier on in
21 certain Trial Chambers which dealt with my case earlier on.
22 I hope that your decision means that we'll be able to continue
23 the proceedings over the next few days and to hear the remaining
24 witnesses over a period of 15 hours and 15 minutes -- 5 hours and 15
25 minutes, and that the Prosecution will use its time rationally and will
1 give up on witnesses which do not support the indictment; that is to say,
2 witnesses about conduct or anything else, because we've had enough
3 witnesses of that kind, and nobody can be convicted for conduct. They
4 can only be convicted for having committed a crime. So the Prosecution
5 will have enough time, and it's up to them to use that time rationally
6 and wisely, because thus far they've used up a lot of time to no avail.
7 Now, can I say what I wanted to raise at this Status Conference
8 right now, or are you going to give the floor to the Prosecutor so that
9 he can state his views?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'll ask the Prosecutor to
11 proceed later. You can continue.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I prepared to raise -- I'm prepared
13 to raise a motion today or, rather, to raise an issue which I did
14 something a few years back in writing. Now I have new arguments, and
15 other things have come to pass within the space of these two years which
16 give me additional scope to raise this issue and problem.
17 In Anglo-Saxon law, an important role is played by the so-called
18 doctrine of abuse of proceedings, of due process, and since the
19 Rules of this Tribunal is based on Anglo-Saxon law, with elements of the
20 Continental, of course, modified to a certain extent, I think that this
21 doctrine of abuse, especially as its application has been confirmed at
22 the International Court in Rwanda, can, in this case, too, be applied.
23 I've been here for seven years already, barring four months, but
24 we can round that off, and I'm sure those four months will pass by very
25 quickly. Anyway, my trial was not completed within a reasonable space of
1 time. I waited for the start of trial for four or five years, and then
2 during those five years, my procedural rights were violated
3 systematically. Since the very day that I appeared in February 2003 in
4 The Hague courtroom, the Prosecutor has done his best to impose counsel
5 because they saw their only chance if I was imposed counsel.
6 Now, Judges, I filed motions and requests for lack of respect for
7 the Court and told you the kind of methods that the Prosecutor used,
8 trying to barter with potential witnesses, bribe them and so on. They
9 succeeded in some cases; not in others. And you were able to see just
10 how many witnesses gave false testimony in this courtroom, and you were
11 able to see also how I dealt with -- found it very easy to deal with
12 witnesses like that. And that unfortunate witness 008 was an example in
13 point, the most illustrious example, in fact. So there are quite a few
14 elements there to which you can apply the concept of abuse of due
16 Now, I found a House of Lords ruling, House of Lords, of course,
17 in Great Britain, I mean, dated the 24th of June, 1993. It was in the
18 case the Queen against Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court,
19 Ex Parte Bennett. I'm going to quote from that very briefly:
20 "The Court has the discretionary right to stop any criminal
21 proceedings if there is the fear that the trial could represent an abuse
22 of due process, itself."
23 Under 1, because it is impossible, usually due to the time gone
24 by whereby the accused has not been given due trial and --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker kindly slow down and repeat
1 that, please. Thank you.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Seselj, the interpreter asks if you could
3 speak more slowly and repeat your last sentence because they didn't catch
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Shall I repeat point 2? I think
6 that's enough.
7 Now, to ask of the Court to try an accused under circumstances of
8 a specific case represents, for that Court, a violation of the feelings
9 for correct procedure and justice.
10 Now, I've already put forward excerpts from Carla Del Ponte's
11 book whereby Zoran Djindjic had to entreat -- had to -- for me to be
12 arrested and never to return from The Hague, and he's not the only
13 politician who pleaded that this be done. I mentioned this even before I
14 mentioned Carla Del Ponte's book. But once I read her book, I saw there
15 were other politicians, too, of the pro-Western orientation who, even
16 before Zoran Djindjic, one or two years before, in fact, made such
17 requests of Carla Del Ponte, and she writes about this very openly, and
18 it's evidence for the Crown. It shows that there has been abuse of due
19 process here in this case, too, just as the whole -- as if the whole
20 doctrine was actually based on this particular example taken from
22 So what was the aim and goal there? The people who raised the
23 indictment knew in advance that I wasn't involved in any war crime. I
24 knew that, too, because for 10 years I provoked The Hague Tribunal to
25 accuse me and said that I would pack my bags and go to The Hague as soon
1 as the indictment was raised, and I even bought my plane ticket before
2 the indictment was served on me. So I wasn't afraid of that, nor did I
3 want to escape from it. But the goal was to do away with me from Serbian
4 political life, to remove me from Serbian political life. And now, since
5 it is obvious that no crimes can be proved against me by an abuse of due
6 process, the Prosecutor is demanding that the completion of this trial be
7 prolonged as much as possible, that it can last -- that it should last
8 for as long as this Tribunal lasts, whatever the outcome might be. So
9 this, too, is a form of abuse of due process.
10 Another point that I wish to raise is this: With the abuse of
11 due process, the question is opened -- is broached that if such abuse
12 exists, whether the International Court is realising its discretionary
13 right to refuse to try the accused. Secondly, the International Court
14 shall realise his discretionary right by refusing to try an accused if
15 there is express violation of the rights of the accused. And I think
16 that my stay here in The Hague for seven years, without a judgement of
17 the first instance, is sufficient proof that my rights have, indeed, been
19 In another case, the Barayagwiza case at the International Court
20 for Rwanda, in a decision pursuant to an appeal, it is stressed that the
21 discretionary right of abolishing the indictment is being done in light
22 of serious violations of the right of the accused, which were shown to be
23 detrimental to the integrity of the Court.
24 Now, I think that this whole procedure -- all these proceedings
25 against me have brought into question the integrity of the Tribunal, not
1 the integrity of the Trial Chamber, but the integrity of
2 The Hague Tribunal, as such, if The Hague Tribunal had any integrity to
3 begin with, which is questionable, and I would have raised that question
4 based on the cases tried here before, the conduct of counsel of the
5 Prosecutor, the witnesses, and so on and so forth. Many of the things
6 the Prosecutor did in this trial, the Prosecution did in other cases, but
7 nobody stopped them there.
8 Now, why am I telling you all this? It is because I think the
9 time has come that you, as members of the Trial Chamber, should give
10 thought to the matter and decide whether or not the elements exist here
11 which the doctrine of abuse of due process considers to be sufficient to
12 make a judgement and to reject -- to dismiss the indictment because of
13 serious violations of my rights as the accused. Of course, if you were
14 to make a decision of that kind, it would perhaps deprive me of the
15 possibility of, in two or three years' time, being triumphant,
16 definitively triumphant, when I break down the whole indictment and the
17 whole Prosecution case. But for the moment, the question is whether it's
18 worth waiting those three years to achieve that result. And since I'm in
19 a dilemma -- I'm faced with a dilemma here, whether to wait those three
20 years or not, I leave it to you to decide, because I shall adjust to any
21 of the two variants.
22 I don't mind doing battle with the Prosecution, and I think you
23 were able to see that I even take pleasure in it, because I find myself
24 in my element here in the courtroom. However, is there anything new to
25 be said here at all? That's the question, when the expert witnesses and
1 the Prosecution witnesses, in fact, overruled all the alleged counts
2 against me. You had the first expert witness about hate speech. What
3 was his name? It doesn't matter. But, anyway, in the courtroom he said
4 that he found no elements of hate speech, where I was concerned. He set
5 up a scale from 1 to 5, and he ranked my speeches at around number 3 and
6 that they didn't actually reach the level of hate speech.
7 Then you had the military expert - what was his name; Theunens,
8 was it? - who was working for the Prosecution. And he said that there
9 was no attack in Hrtkovci against the civilian population. If their
10 expert says that there was no attack, then what are we discussing here?
11 There's no crime, no crime of persecution, nothing. You can't apply
12 Article 5 of the Statute in that case.
13 You were able to see that famous statement saying that I -- about
14 Zvornik and the crimes there, and that the event the witness was talking
15 about had taken place two years beforehand, so he wasn't able to locate
16 it properly. And you see how the testimonies differ between the three
17 witnesses who said that I said in Vukovar that not a single Ustasha was
18 allowed to leave alive, and all of them were instructed by
19 General Aleksandar Vasiljevic. One says "in the house," the other says
20 "in front of the house," the third person says "on the street," and it
21 turned out that this particular fact was actually recorded in a notebook
22 of one of those witnesses. So those are just some characteristic
24 And remember the witness who appeared in the courtroom here
25 because the Prosecutor helped him gain permanent residence in some
1 western country. You will also recall the other witness with a large
2 criminal dossier who, during the examination here, gave up on everything.
3 Remember another witness for which the Prosecution had established that
4 he was, in fact, lying, and then you brought counsel here to see that he
5 doesn't repeat the lies and prevent him from going to prison. So we've
6 heard all manner of things here.
7 Now, not to take up more time, I have made my request, raised my
8 points. I hope they will be food for thought, and that you'll be able to
9 make a ruling and decision in the matter. But, at any rate, I think that
10 you should decide, if the Prosecution is not ready, that we should carry
11 on the trial straightaway and that the Prosecutor should bring forth
12 other witnesses, and then the abuse of due process will have been quite
13 evident, and it's up to you to prevent that.
14 So that's what I wanted to say. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 Mr. Seselj, the Trial Chamber has listened to you, and if we
17 understood correctly, you are making an oral motion this afternoon on the
18 legal basis of abuse of due process, based on a decree of the
19 House of Lords in London according to which a trial can be stopped by a
20 Trial Chamber if there is serious violations of the right of the party
21 involved. And you're also grounding this on a decision made by the ICTR.
22 The Trial Chamber has been seized of your oral motion. The
23 Prosecutor, of course, can answer. I'm sure he will make a written
24 submission to answer this because this is quite an important question.
25 And the Trial Chamber will eventually rule on this motion.
1 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] If I may, I would like our
2 accused to clarify something.
3 In his last sentence, I thought I understood that all this will
4 depend -- all this depends on the fact that the Prosecutor will not
5 continue listening to witnesses. Is that what you said, or did I
6 misunderstand you? You said -- did you say if the Prosecutor decides not
7 to call his last witnesses? Is that what you said?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I think that the
9 interpretation was not quite accurate, Ms. Lattanzi. I said that if the
10 Prosecutor is not able to bring witnesses into the courtroom immediately.
11 Well, I know that it's hard for you to rule, and it would be a precedent
12 in The Hague Tribunal, so it would be hard for you, as the Trial Chamber,
13 to make a decision of this sort, although I believe that all the
14 prerequisites have been met for that. However, I think that what should
15 be of primary importance for you, as the Trial Chamber, when you assess
16 the situation, when you see whether the Prosecutor is able to continue
17 the presentation of their case or, rather, bring in their witnesses next
18 week, or not. If we're going to wait for a new year to go by, and then
19 if we wait for the spring and who knows how long, then all of it makes no
21 I believe that the conditions are right for you to make this
22 decision immediately, regardless of whether the Prosecutor is going to
23 call his witnesses immediately or not. However, what would be very
24 important for you, in making such a decision, is precisely what I
25 referred to, whether the Prosecutor is capable of bringing their first
1 witness in a week or in 10 days or not.
2 I hope that now the interpretation was better and that you
3 understood my point.
4 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I want to say that the
5 interpretation was very accurate. I believe that I was the one that was
6 not accurate enough when I repeated what had been said. But I'm still in
7 the dark.
8 Your motion depends on whether we know whether the trial can
9 resume in the next week to come, yes or not? I'd like to know whether
10 your motion depends on this or not, whether this motion is actually
11 coming into effect immediately.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, you have simplified my motion
13 now. But I do agree with that interpretation of yours, basically,
14 although that is not exactly the way I had formulated it.
15 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, could you give
17 us the position of the Prosecutor on this motion? And I would like to
18 know whether you would like to address some other topics.
19 MR. MARCUSSEN: Good afternoon, Your Honours.
20 I would like to address a number of issues that have raised
21 today, and, of course, I'll also say some brief things about the request
22 by Mr. Seselj.
23 But first I just wanted to inform the Court that in addition to
24 Ms. Biersay and Ms. Bosnjakovic, we have also Safeena Rashid and
25 Amar Bosto with us today, who are our legal interns, just so Your Honours
1 know who are with us in court.
2 Your Honours, with respect to the oral application made by the
3 accused, first of all, I would submit that the accused should be directed
4 to put -- make a written motion on these issues if he wishes to pursue
5 these matters. It was not clear whether or not the accused is seeking
6 reconsideration of a previous decision by the Trial Chamber and,
7 therefore, is invoking that there are new factual circumstances that he's
8 relying on; whether he's merely repeating submissions that he has already
9 made numerous times, and so that's the repetition of an already-made
10 motion; or whether he's actually bringing a new motion. So I think it
11 would be proper for the Chamber to direct the accused to put these things
12 in writing so we get clarity on these issues.
13 The brief position of the Prosecution is that, first of all, any
14 delay there has been in the trial is attributable to the accused, and
15 there have been a hunger strike, there have been numerous other filings
16 that Your Honours are aware of which shows why these delays have occurred
17 in the trial. So there is no basis for the accused's request on that
19 The allegations about the Prosecution tampering with witnesses
20 and false witnesses are improper and have no factual basis.
21 The accused had earlier raised the issue of Carla Del Ponte's
22 book, and I believe we've made a filing showing that he's actually not
23 even quoting the book correctly.
24 There's no basis for the allegation that the Prosecution is
25 trying to come up with procedural problems simply in order to keep the
1 accused here because we fear that he will eventually be acquitted.
2 And all the arguments he has made about the perceived lack or his
3 alleged lack of evidence in the case have nothing to do with the abuse of
4 process. Those are maybe arguments that he can make at the 98 bis stage,
5 once we come to that.
6 So that is a very short position of the Prosecution on the issues
7 raised by the accused. But as I said, if the accused actually seriously
8 wants to pursue this, we would submit that he should file a written
9 motion. If Your Honours will not grant that, we will, of course, as you
10 directed, file a written response to what the accused has said today.
11 But if these matters are to be litigated in a proper way, we think the
12 accused should commit these writings so that his arguments become clear,
13 because they are, of course, important.
14 The last thing I wanted to address was the Trial Chamber's
15 decision on the Prosecution request to terminate self-representation.
16 The Prosecution will consider, once we see the written decision,
17 whether or not we will seek to appeal the decision pursuant to
18 Rule 73(C)(ii), so we will see. But I guess that means there will be
19 some further delay at least until we see a written decision and seven
20 days after that.
21 So that is what I had to say to Your Honours at this stage.
22 Thank you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 Mr. Seselj, the Prosecutor is raising two issues, and you should
25 answer this very specifically. First, he believes, and, of course, it's
1 his point of view, that you should make a written motion regarding the
2 issue that you just raised. That's the first issue raised. So we would
3 like you to tell us your position on this.
4 Secondly, the Prosecutor would like to know whether your motion
5 on abuse of due process is only the follow-up of other motions or whether
6 this is a brand-new motion.
7 Now, personally, I must add, after what my fellow
8 Judge Ms. Lattanzi said, I must say I would like you to tell us whether
9 this motion for abuse of due process is directly subordinated to the
10 resumption of the trial or whether it is fully disconnected of it.
11 As you see, we have three questions for you, and you have the
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, when I presented my
14 requests, I did not directly link that to the continuation of the
15 Prosecution case. When Judge Lattanzi intervened, then I modified my
16 motion, as it were, and adjusted it to that, or, rather, I made it
17 conditional upon the ability of the OTP to continue the presentation of
18 their case within a week, at maximum. My hair has gone grey over all
19 these years. I cannot sit in this cell any longer and wait for the
20 beginning of these proceedings.
21 Mr. Marcussen has been here for over two years now. He should
22 know that this is not a repetition of a motion. This is a renewed
23 motion. That is to say, I have already filed a motion on the basis of
24 the doctrine of abuse of process. However, this is not a mere repetition
25 of the erstwhile motion, asking you to present your views on that,
1 because I submitted that first motion before the trial started. If my
2 memory serves me well, this was in October 2007. This motion now, I'm
3 submitting two years later, two years into the trial, that is, and the
4 trial should have been over for quite a while now had it not been for
5 this enormous gap. And that gap of - what was it? - two or three years
6 last year, had it not been for those two, this trial would have been
7 brought to an end, for sure; not only the Prosecution case, but also the
8 Defence case and the final arguments, the judgement, everything. All of
9 it would have been completed by now. So I've responded to that as well.
10 I have to respond to yet another matter. Mr. Marcussen says that
11 it is my fault that the proceedings are taking this long, and my hunger
12 strike as well. How stupid. Can you imagine? Well, my hunger strike
13 was a consequence of the illegal decision to take away my legal right to
14 defence. I was willing to gamble with my own life in order to defend
15 that right of mine, and the Appeals Chamber said that I was right, rather
16 than the OTP or the Trial Chamber that passed this kind of an unlawful
17 decision. The hunger strike helped me win back my right or defend my
19 Had I been a fool and had I agreed to assigned counsel, the
20 proceedings would have been completed a long time ago already. However,
21 the alleged Defence and the OTP would have cooperated in the courtroom to
22 prove, quote/unquote, all the theses of the Prosecution; that is to say,
23 that I had no defence, and then they could get away with anything. Since
24 I had a proper defence, no go for everything that they had to say. So
25 there's quite a difference, there's a vast difference.
1 So why did I wait for five years before the proceedings started?
2 Why did I wait for three years? Mr. President, you probably remember
3 this. Just in order to test things, after 15 months in prison in 2007,
4 since it wasn't likely that the trial would start any time soon, I asked
5 the Trial Chamber to let me go home to allow me to wait for the beginning
6 of the trial. However, they refused my request because I had no
7 guarantees, and I had no one to get guarantees from. The Registry asked
8 the Dutch government, the Dutch government guaranteed that they would
9 provide security for me from the prison to the airport, but those were
10 the only guarantees that I could get. It's not my fault that there was
11 no one there to give any guarantees for me, or the fact that I could not
12 accept any guarantees from someone who has no moral credibility
13 whatsoever. That would have been offensive for me. It is better to die
14 than to accept such guarantees.
15 The OTP said to me then that they planned the trial to start
16 towards the end of 2004. You received this document from the Prosecution
17 at the time, and that was one of the reasons why I did not go home in
18 2004. The trial did not start in 2004, it did not start in 2005. They
19 were looking for a Judge who was ready to trample upon all morality and
20 to impose counsel on me. It wasn't easy for them to find a Judge like
21 that. Regardless of what I think of Judge Agius or the third member,
22 whoever he was - I think it was Kevin Parker - you did not allow this
23 imposition of counsel. So then they thought that they found a
24 Trial Chamber that would do that. However, they were no match for me,
25 whatsoever. And, of course, it had to end in a fiasco for them.
1 I did not do anything to drag my feet with regard to these
2 proceedings. You saw how strict I was in terms of the time allotted me
3 to question witnesses. Not a single day was lost on account of my
4 actions. I was never sick -- or, rather, I was sick, but I came to court
5 even when I was sick. All the reasons for delays in the proceedings are
6 related to the Prosecution. I did not even say, when I was ill, that I
7 was ill, and, nevertheless, I came to the courtroom.
8 It is the Trial Chamber that squandered their time. First of
9 all, they asked for Judge Harhoff to be recused for no reason whatsoever,
10 and we lost a month. Then they asked for a stay in the proceedings in
11 order to be able to talk to me. Just think of that. May/June last year,
12 it was, remember what Prosecutor Mundis asked for? And then when I
13 refused and when I said that they were too late, then they asked for a
14 stay in the proceedings. Then we had those two months lost, and now,
15 since February, we've lost eight months already. During those eight
16 months, we used perhaps only two weeks or so, perhaps four working days,
17 if I remember things correctly.
18 So all the reasons for a waste of time and loss of time are on
19 the Prosecution side. And as the House of Lords says, abuse of process
20 occurs usually because of delays. The one single reason that the
21 House of Lords provides in this ruling of theirs of the
22 24th of June, 1993, is delays, usually it is delays.
23 The key question here is: Are we late or not? Is seven years
24 excessive or not? And are these seven years due to the gravity of the
25 proceedings? No. You've seen this review of witnesses. They come in,
1 they're questioned by me, by the OTP. You saw the post-mortems. I did
2 not question anything. The proceedings ran smoothly all the time. Of
3 course, there were notes of a polemic in the courtroom, and that is only
4 to be expected of any serious proceedings. The proceedings ran smoothly,
5 and, nevertheless, they could not be completed.
6 I think I have no reason to address you in writing, because that
7 is the only way in which the OTP can delay your decision-making even
8 further. However, the key thing about which Mr. Marcussen did not speak
9 is the question: On which day is the Prosecution ready to continue their
10 case? Are they ready to continue tomorrow? I stand ready, here and now.
11 Tell me which witness comes next, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or
12 next week, if you don't have enough time this week. Do you want me to
13 help you have a witness brought in here? Tell me, out of these remaining
14 10 witnesses, tell me, who are the most important ones. I will phone
15 them, and I will ask them to come. I will ask them kindly. You want to
16 do it that way? Because there are some witnesses here who, in the
17 meantime, were -- became Defence witnesses. At first, they were
18 blackmailed, intimidated, et cetera, and now they fear nothing any
19 longer. I can call them. You will see, Judges, what their preliminary
20 statements say, and you will see that basically there's nothing in there
21 either. And that's it, that's it. Let's have this done and over with.
22 Here I am, making an offer to help them, but let's have
23 Mr. Marcussen say when are they prepared to call their first witness. If
24 they are going to appeal your decision, that does not necessarily mean
25 that your decision should be implemented later. Your decision should be
1 implemented as of today, when it was made public. Let us see what
2 Appeals Chamber would accept their grounds for appeal. I find that very
3 questionable. I don't think you're even going to give them certification
4 to appeal, because that is abuse of process, generally speaking. They
5 just want more time to be wasted.
6 What else is there to be decided upon? If my behaviour here in
7 court were unbearable, if I were fighting with the guards, or if I were
8 physically assaulting the Prosecutor, or if I were throwing things at
9 witnesses, or if my language were indecent vis-a-vis the members of the
10 Trial Chamber, or if I were doing anything else which would lead you to
11 throw me out of the courtroom - and of course you do have the right to do
12 that, if an accused person misbehaves, you have the right to remove that
13 person from the courtroom, once, twice, three times - it is only then
14 that you could throw the accused person out and then impose counsel
15 because of his improper behaviour.
16 You could get angry at me several times because of the method in
17 which I question witnesses and presenting various matters. The
18 Prosecutor could be dissatisfied, and often they were dissatisfied, but
19 those are not the reasons that would lead you to throw me out of the
20 courtroom, because I never brought you into that situation. You never
21 had any reason to throw me out of the courtroom. Therefore, it would be
22 senseless for you to impose counsel on me. And it is also pointless to
23 drag our feet further, to continue this discussion any further.
24 Let us have Mr. Marcussen say when we are going to finally deal
25 with these remaining 5 hours and 15 minutes. As a Trial Chamber, you
1 have saved them quite a bit of time already, and there is no reason for
2 you to grant them more time than originally envisaged. So let us see
3 whether the Prosecutor can conclude his case by the end of November, at
4 the latest, and then I'll have time for the Defence case, and let us see
5 what else needs to be done for the Defence case. Am I going to take care
6 of this myself? Am I going to have associates? Let's see what the
7 situation will be.
8 There are different ways of presenting a Defence case, from my
9 point of view. One is if I defend myself with full capacity, with the
10 assistance of my associates; for example, the way things were handled in
11 the case of Mr. Slobodan Milosevic, or will I be deprived of all of these
12 rights and will I, quite literally, defend myself all by myself? Well,
13 that's what the timing depends on, how long all of this is going to take.
14 However, let's clarify all of these matters here and now. There
15 is no need to have a new Status Conference to see when we are going to do
16 that. We are all here now. We see where we stand, and now let us
17 continue. If the Prosecution team are incapable of going on, I believe,
18 Judges, that you have no other option but to rule on dismissing the
19 indictment, as such, because of the doctrine of abuse of process.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Seselj, you
21 have answered Mr. Marcussen, and your reply is on the transcript.
22 This hearing is also meant to look into the conditions of
23 detention and your health.
24 Let me tell you that this afternoon we received an expert report,
25 the cardiologist from the Belgrade Military Academy. Generally, we
1 should discuss this in closed session, but you told us that as far as
2 your health was concerned, everything could be said publicly. So I
3 believe that we can address this topic publicly.
4 This report is written in English. It must be translated into
5 your own language so you can read it. It's a 60-page-long document. I
6 have looked into it before the hearing, and basically it comes to the
7 same conclusions as the one drawn up by the physician of the UNDU. It's
8 a serious work, obviously. However, I would like to attract your
9 attention on page 12 of this report, and on the recommendation made on
10 item 5. The expert says the following, and I quote:
11 "There can be stress during the hearing."
12 And according to the expert, this stress must be treated
13 preventively, possibly by medicine. So when we are sitting in a hearing,
14 please stay calm, stay cool and collected. You usually do this, but
15 please stay cool and collected, and don't lose your temper.
16 The cardiologist is telling us, in this 60-page-long report, in
17 this interesting report, which is backed by research made in different
18 countries, notably in the US, it's true that, you know, during a hearing
19 people can have a heart attack and just die. This is a possibility. And
20 I want to keep you alive, so I want you to stay cool and calm.
21 You will read this report, and 10 important recommendations are
22 stated in this report. And as far as number 5 is concerned, I believe
23 that you are the only one that can follow it, that can abide by it. Once
24 you have the report in hand, please look at it carefully. It will also
25 be disclosed to the physicians in the UNDU. But what really struck me in
1 this report was the problem with hearing stress or, you know,
2 hearing-related stress. I know what it's like to be in a hearing, you
3 know. Some Judges, also sometimes feel some stress. So you must
4 absolutely be cool.
5 Now, regarding your health, Mr. Seselj, could you tell us how you
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I feel exceptionally
8 well. I have no health problems, except for the standard asthma that I
9 take medicaments for and keep under control.
10 As far as stress situations go, you know what, I never had a
11 situation of stress in the courtroom examining witnesses and Prosecution
12 expert witnesses. All the stress situations were linked to the
13 insistence of the Prosecutor to violate my rights -- process rights.
14 It's a stress to have to wait for eight months to hear whether the trial
15 is going to continue or not. That's stress. Another stress situation is
16 to wait to hear whether somebody's going to try and have counsel imposed
17 upon me again or not, although I was fairly relaxed in that respect and
18 even stopped responding to requests made by the Prosecution because I had
19 every trust in your moral dignity. So I don't think we need to discuss
20 my stresses and my stress situations.
21 I feel for Ms. Christine Dahl and Mr. Mundis, who had far greater
22 stress situations when their witnesses failed in court, and with
23 Ms. Biersay and Mr. Marcussen, whose witnesses also failed in this
24 courtroom. It wasn't easy for them to take; it wasn't pleasant for them.
25 But when I'm successful in examining a witness, my adrenaline gets going.
1 Sometimes I might appear to be a little euphoric, but it's euphoria
2 because I was successful and was pleased with it. So it's not a
3 classical situation of stress. Of course, happiness and joy can lead to
4 stress, too, but the sadness that the Prosecution had to face when their
5 witnesses failed, I think they were in a far greater situation of stress
6 than I was.
7 So it's a good thing that Mr. Mundis and Ms. Dahl have left this
8 trial, this case, because commensurate to their weight -- to their
9 height, they were far more overweight than I am. With this Prosecutor,
10 the probability of having a heart attack in the courtroom is less, due to
11 their weight. I think we could place bets on whether who's -- on who's
12 going to have a heart attack, whether I am or somebody in the
13 Prosecution. I hope you won't mind -- hold it against me for making that
15 But I just wanted to say that I don't have any health problems,
16 and I'm ready and willing to have the trial continue as soon as tomorrow.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. At least
18 we feel reassured.
19 Yes, Mr. Marcussen.
20 MR. MARCUSSEN: I can make my observations later. I wanted to
21 address the re-formulation or the re-casting of the accused's motion, but
22 I can wait if there's another issue that Your Honours wanted to deal with
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, do tell us about the
1 MR. MARCUSSEN: As I understand, the accused has modified his
2 oral motion, and so he's now seeking a continuation of the trial.
3 The trial is currently adjourned because of a decision rendered
4 by the majority of the Chamber, I believe, in February of this year.
5 Your Honour, Mr. President, you pointed out to the accused on the
6 6th -- at the Status Conference on the 16th of June this year, that the
7 accused had not, despite your -- despite you stressing the importance of
8 this decision to the accused, and despite stressing his possibility of
9 appealing, he had not appealed the decision; and you made the point that
10 surely we would be hearing these arguments being repeated later on. And
11 I'm referring to transcript pages 14554 and 14555.
12 It would seem to me that actually this is the exact same issue
13 coming up again. The accused is challenging in court the adjournment
14 decision which he failed to appeal. So on that basis, we would submit
15 that the request, as it was re-cast here in court today, should be
17 Thank you, Your Honour.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to say something?
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Seselj.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'm a little worried and
21 anxious over the way in which Mr. Marcussen is thinking. The decision
22 you took eight months ago was not a decision that held fast for time --
23 for all time. I assume that you made your decision because in what the
24 Prosecution asked of you there were certain indications on the basis of
25 which you considered that such a decision was the proper one to take.
1 Now, it's been eight months since then, and nobody has put
2 forward a single shred of evidence or proof that I or my associates
3 intimidated the witnesses, bribed them, blackmailed them, exerted
4 pressure on them, threatened them, or anything like that. Now, if eight
5 months was not sufficient time to bring evidence of that kind forward to
6 support the claims made by the Prosecution, what do you need, 18 months?
7 How long do you need? Because had you had a shred of evidence, you would
8 have initiated proceedings for contempt of court, wouldn't you? But you
9 didn't have any such evidence or proof. And then you decided to do the
10 contempt of court bit because of a book that I published before the
11 beginning of trial, and you found some Judges there who were ready to
12 convict me of that without even having read the book.
13 However, now the Appeals Chamber -- well, the appeal is still
14 being translated, and it's not easy to respond to an appeal, because in
15 the whole book there's not a single piece of text written by me. The
16 book is a collection of documents, and none of these documents
17 individually was confidential at all and, thus, not accessible to the
18 public. And when you collect all these documents into a whole, then
19 somebody, carefully reading, could be able to conclude who the protected
20 witnesses are who are referred to. Well, this is a precedent. None of
21 this has ever happened in the justice system. And I'm going to study all
22 the international crime -- criminal law textbooks, all of them. I'll
23 going to go through all of them to see if I can find anything like that.
24 And I expect the judgement to fall through, to be dismissed, because the
25 book is a collection of documents, and none of those documents are
1 confidential. The Trial Chamber didn't even read the book. It hasn't
2 been translated, but they compared page 212 and 846, and then they said
3 that those who read what is written on page 212 and what reads -- those
4 who read page 846 will be able to draw the conclusion, et cetera,
5 et cetera.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: I don't think that this forum is the correct
7 forum to make your submissions in relation to the judgement that was
8 rendered by Trial Chamber II. We understand that it's under appeal, and
9 there is nothing we can do about it.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, my fellow Judge is
11 perfectly right. I was about to tell you the same. It is under appeal.
12 Let the Appeals Chamber do its work. But I'd like the following to be on
14 The Judges -- the three Judges of this Trial Chamber have never
15 had in their hands any book whatsoever that would have been written by
16 you. Never in my life have I had a book from you. This must be said.
17 Also, regarding the issue of the videos. In the coming hours,
18 tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the Trial Chamber is going to file a
20 Oh, I see. The legal officer tells me that it has already been
21 filed. Very good. Since it has been filed, but until it has been
22 translated, it may take some time, therefore I'm going to convey to you
23 the contents of the decision, especially the disposition thereof, which
24 is important.
25 On the 20th of March, 2008, you required from the Prosecution
1 disclosure of all the videos they might have. At the hearing of the
2 12th of June, 2008, the Prosecution said that the videos needed 11 hard
3 disc drives and that there were over 1600 hours of video footage. Then
4 several events followed.
5 The Prosecution seized the Trial Chamber of a motion for the
6 videos to be returned, because the Prosecution realised that it had made
7 a mistake and had disclosed videos that you were not to receive.
8 The disposition of the decision is as follows: The Trial Chamber
9 orders that the index should be confidential from now on and that within
10 a month following this decision, video footage that can be disclosed to
11 the Trial Chamber [as interpreted] should be made available to the
12 privileged associates of the accused in a room of the Liaison Office of
13 the Tribunal in Belgrade, made available for that purpose, and containing
14 all the necessary equipment for the viewing. The privileged associate
15 should not be authorised to make copies of the video footage or take them
16 out of the room where they will be allowed to view them.
17 Fourthly, the Registry will take all necessary steps to enable
18 the accused and his privileged associates to use the video footage for
19 their Defence case in this case; for instance, by organising in due time
20 the viewing by the Trial Chamber of excerpts that would be deemed
21 appropriate by the accused or his privileged associates.
22 Fifthly, the video footage should be returned to the Prosecution
23 once a final judgement has been rendered in the present case.
24 The decision also contains a paragraph, paragraph 23, and there
25 is also paragraph 24. They are interesting paragraphs, and you will have
1 an opportunity to read them in their entirety, as well as the decision.
2 So this decision says that for the time being, some videos are
3 with the Tribunal's Registry. The Prosecution can take them back without
4 the Trial Chamber having to do anything about it. Secondly, the index
5 that sums up or lists all the videos should be a confidential document.
6 You've had this for a year, so now you are under the obligation, you and
7 your associates, to keep the index confidential.
8 Then, the decision also says that the Registry will make
9 available to your privileged associates the videos -- the relevant videos
10 for your case, and, of course, they will be viewed by your associates.
11 The Trial Chamber instructs the Registry to do all that is necessary for
12 that to happen and work.
13 You know better than anybody that initially there were at least
14 6.000 hours of video footage to be viewed, and the Trial Chamber took
15 particular attention, when drafting the decision, to saying that your
16 associates will not be allowed to make copies of the videos. This means
17 they will go to Belgrade, they will view the footage, they will take
18 notes if necessary, but they are not allowed to make copies and take the
19 copies with them when they leave.
20 So this is the decision as it was issued. Read it, please, read
21 this decision on the videos. But, given the urgency of the matter, I
22 thought it was my obligation to read the disposition, because the
23 decision was filed but it's not yet been translated into your own
25 Mr. Seselj, do you want to add anything regarding the videos?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'd just like to remind you
2 that at the moment I just have one legal associate with the privileges
3 provided for by the Rules and a case manager. Otherwise, two others have
4 been suspended. So I'm not physically able to avail myself of those
5 rights that I am accorded under your decision. One man can't get through
6 all that. If the President of the Tribunal or the person, Mehmet Guney,
7 whom he handed over his powers, if he restores the status of these two
8 associates, and if I add Dejan Mirovic, who has been a good adviser to
9 me, especially in this attempt of court case, perhaps we would be able to
10 get through the whole job. But if I have just one associate and one case
11 manager, or one legal adviser and one case manager, then that's
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, indeed, we have to wait
14 until the President of the Tribunal makes a decision. We'll see what he
15 will say about Mr. Krasic being restored or not.
16 I must discuss a point with my fellow Judges.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Marcussen, yes, I discussed
19 with my colleagues because following Mr. Seselj's oral motion on an
20 alleged abuse of due process and on the need, as he says, to resume the
21 trial proceedings straightaway, you are given 14 days to disclose your --
22 15 days to disclose your answers to him. Well, Rule 126 says "14 days,"
23 but the Trial Chamber gives 15 days.
24 MR. MARCUSSEN: Thank you, Your Honours, for your generosity, and
25 I hope it would not be seen as some undue delay of the trial that you
1 have granted us an extra day.
2 Now that I am on my feet, I would just note that I think at
3 transcript page 29, line 22, there is a reference to the Trial Chamber,
4 the videos being disclosed to the Trial Chamber. I think it should have
5 been "to the accused." It probably was a slight mistake in the
7 Thank you, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Marcussen.
9 One last topic.
10 Mr. Seselj, some time ago you seized the Trial Chamber of an
11 issue related to the recording of a protected witness's testimony. I'm
12 not going to give any name or any date of the testimony. I had told you
13 what we'd learned. Following a technical problem that occurred, the
14 audio track and the video track is just nonexistent, there's no such
15 thing, so the only trace left of that witness's testimony was the English
16 transcript. The English transcript was translated into your language.
17 We are, therefore, in a position now to give you the entire testimony and
18 the entire hearing. That's the only medium we have, that's all we have.
19 You know that when I speak, when you speak, when the Prosecutor
20 speaks, or when a witness speaks, everything we say is transcribed in
21 realtime and appears on the screen in front of you, but it is in English,
22 not in the other official working language, French, or your own language.
23 But should a problem occur, in terms of translation, then we can check by
24 checking the audio track. But in this case, unfortunately, for technical
25 reason only, the tape does not exist. All we have left is the English
1 text that has now been translated into B/C/S.
2 Hence my question: The fact that you have received, in your
3 language, the entire hearing -- the entire proceedings of that hearing,
4 is that enough for you?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as far as I
6 remember, the testimony of that witness contained nothing that was
7 problematic with respect to the Defence interests. I think that I
8 successfully examined him here. And all I wish to check is that somebody
9 might have introduced something into the transcript that didn't exist in
10 the oral examination. Then I would let you know in writing. But if
11 nothing was added to what was actually stated in the courtroom, then that
12 will suffice, as far as I'm concerned, because my associates, anyway,
13 take down the hearing from the tape, they transcribe it, and then I can
14 use it, because otherwise I can't use the tapes. That would be quite
15 impossible. They take it down in writing for me. I'm a visual type of
16 person. I can only function if I have something written down on paper in
17 front of me. I can't make notes on a screen when something is screened.
18 But, anyway, if there's a problem, I'll let you know in writing.
19 And I hope that the Registrar will hand the document over to me after
20 these proceedings.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But I'm going to
22 give you the text straightaway. Here it is. Everything is in it. The
23 Usher is going to take this document and pass it on to you straightaway.
24 Well, failing other topics to be addressed, since everybody has
25 expressed themselves and addressed the various issues, the hearing is now
2 My thanks to all the people who were here today.
3 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned
4 at 5.56 p.m.