Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 379

1 Friday, 7 July 2000

2 [Open session]

3 [Initial Appearance]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 3.01 p.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, let the Registrar call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: The case number IT-95-08, the Prosecutor versus

8 Dusko Sikirica.

9 JUDGE MAY: I'll hear the appearances.

10 MS. HOLLIS: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Brenda Hollis, Dirk

11 Ryneveld and Daryl Mundis appear on behalf of the Prosecutor.

12 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. My

13 name is Veselih Londrovic. I am an attorney from Bijeljina, and at the

14 initial appearance I shall represent the accused Dusko Sikirica.

15 JUDGE MAY: Very well. As you say, this is the initial appearance

16 of this accused and the first matter to be dealt with concerns the

17 accused's pleas to the indictment.

18 Mr. Londrovic, two questions for you, please, if you would deal

19 with them. First of all, I take it that the accused has received a copy

20 of the indictment in a language which he understands?

21 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

22 JUDGE MAY: I also take it that you've had the opportunity of

23 going through it with him so that he understands it.

24 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

25 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. As you also know, the accused must enter a

Page 380

1 plea to the indictment within 30 days of today's date or he may do so

2 today. So I must ask you this: Does he wish to enter pleas today to the

3 indictment or are you going to ask for an adjournment for him to do so?

4 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have acquainted the

5 accused with his rights according to Article 92 in the Rules of Evidence

6 and Procedure and he will enter a plea today.

7 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Finally this, before he enters his plea,

8 the accused can have the indictment read out in full in court, but he can

9 waive that right. So I must ask you: Does he want the indictment read

10 out in full or does he waive the right?

11 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I assumed that the

12 indictment would be read in full and I did not discuss this matter with

13 the accused. I did not ask him whether he wanted to waive that right.

14 JUDGE MAY: Would you like to have a word with him now?

15 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] If you will permit me a minute.

16 JUDGE MAY: Yes.

17 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

18 [Counsel confers with accused]

19 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the accused Dusko

20 Sikirica waives the right to have the indictment read out in full.

21 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

22 Mr. Sikirica, will you stand, please?

23 [Accused stands]

24 JUDGE MAY: Your counsel has said that he discussed the indictment

25 with you and you wish to enter pleas today; is that right? Could you

Page 381

1 speak into the microphone so it's recorded.

2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct.

3 JUDGE MAY: I'm now going to read the counts in the indictment to

4 you and you should enter a plea to each. Kindly confine your answers to

5 guilty or not guilty.

6 The counts in the indictment relate to events in Bosnia and

7 Herzegovina in the period between April and August of 1992. Count 1

8 charges you with genocide punishable under Articles 4 (3)(a), 7(1), 7(3)

9 of the Statute of the Tribunal. How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?

10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

11 JUDGE MAY: Count 2 charges you with complicity to commit genocide

12 punishable under Articles 4(3)(e), 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute. How do

13 you plead: guilty or not guilty?

14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

15 JUDGE MAY: Counts 3 to 5 relate to events in the Prijedor area

16 and specifically in the Keraterm camp in the period between the 24th of

17 May and the 30th of August, 1992. Count 3 charges you with persecutions

18 on political, racial or religious grounds, a crime against humanity,

19 punishable under Articles 5(h), 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute. How do you

20 plead: guilty or not guilty?

21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

22 JUDGE MAY: Count 4 charges you with inhumane acts, a crime

23 against humanity, punishable under Articles 5(1), 7(1) and 7(3) of the

24 Statute. How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?

25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

Page 382

1 JUDGE MAY: Count 5 charges you with outrages upon personal

2 dignity, a violation of the laws or customs of war as recognised by

3 Article 3(1)(c) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 punishable under

4 Articles 3, 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute. How do you plead: guilty or

5 not guilty?

6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

7 JUDGE MAY: Counts 6 to 9 relate to events in Keraterm camp on the

8 25th of July, 1992 and you are charged as follows: Count 6 murder, a

9 crime against humanity, punishable under Articles 5(a), 7(1), and 7(3) of

10 the Statute. How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?

11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

12 JUDGE MAY: Count 7 charges you with murder, a violation of the

13 laws or customs of war as recognised by Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva

14 Conventions of 1949 punishable under Articles 3, 7(1), and 7(3) of the

15 Statute. How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?

16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

17 JUDGE MAY: Count 8 charges inhumane acts, a crime against

18 humanity, punishable under Articles 5(1), 7(1) and 7(3) of the Tribunal.

19 How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?

20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

21 JUDGE MAY: Count 9 charges you with cruel treatment, a violation

22 of the laws or customs of war, as recognised by Article 3(1)(a) of the

23 Geneva Conventions of 1949, punishable under Articles 3, 7(1), and 7(3) of

24 the Statute. How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?

25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

Page 383

1 JUDGE MAY: You may sit down.

2 Ms. Hollis, it would be convenient to discuss the future progress

3 of this case. The position is this: that this accused is charged, of

4 course, with a number of other accused in the same indictment, and the

5 trial for two of those accused, Messrs. Dosen and Kolundzija, has been set

6 down to start on the 6th of November. And so my first question is this:

7 Will the Prosecution be ready for trial against this accused on the 6th of

8 November?

9 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, the Prosecution at this point can tell

10 you that we will endeavour to be ready, but we cannot assure the Court

11 that we will be ready.

12 JUDGE MAY: Well, it's clearly desirable, if possible, that the

13 accused is tried with others on the same indictment. May I inquire what

14 difficulties there may be in being ready for trial?

15 MS. HOLLIS: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.

16 Your Honour, it is the Prosecution's preference that the three

17 accused be tried together because this accused, being alleged to be the

18 commander, would be held, in our view, accountable for the crimes for

19 which the other two are charged as well, so that a trial of all three

20 together certainly would be the best use of judicial resources and also

21 the best for witnesses.

22 Now, the issue that we find ourselves facing, Your Honour, is that

23 this accused was, in our view, the commander of this camp throughout its

24 existence, and therefore, in our view, responsible for all the crimes that

25 were committed by everyone both who worked in the camp and who came to the

Page 384

1 camp. This enlarges the scope of the disclosure and the scope of the Rule

2 65 ter submissions that the Prosecution must make. To the extent there is

3 overlap with the other two accused, which there is, then of course the

4 submissions would be the same. However, there are other incidents in the

5 camp and other charges that would be in addition to those facing the other

6 two accused.

7 The Prosecution has already set into motion searches through our

8 databases to prepare ourselves to provide complete disclosure regarding

9 this accused for all incidents within the Keraterm camp. Based upon the

10 results of that disclosure, we would be able to prepare the Rule 65 ter

11 submissions. Because of other requirements that we have within the Office

12 of the Prosecutor, we have asked for time estimates on the completion of

13 these searches. The completion of the first two categories of searches

14 which we have requested, the completion of those searches would be on the

15 28th of July, according to the information we have received from our

16 computer personnel.

17 We have two additional categories of searches to ensure that we

18 capture all relevant evidence for the Keraterm camp. Those searches would

19 not be completed until sometime in August. The plan that the Prosecution

20 has in place, Your Honour, is that as the searches progress, we will

21 receive the product of these searches as they are created. We will then

22 incorporate the product into disclosure and into Rule 65 ter entries.

23 However, we could not complete that process until the searches were

24 completed. So we believe in order to complete that process

25 comprehensively, we would be looking at a September or October time

Page 385

1 frame.

2 We had indicated, Your Honour, regarding the other two, that we

3 felt for a comprehensive 65 ter submission, it would be approximately the

4 same time frame, but that is what we have estimated based on the time for

5 the searches and the time to put together the results of those searches.

6 JUDGE MAY: Well, the date for disclosure under the Rules would be

7 the 4th of August for the supporting material.

8 MS. HOLLIS: That, Your Honour, we have requested. In regard to

9 the supporting material, we have approximately 30 pages of the supporting

10 material that still need to be translated into a language the accused

11 understands. Approximately two weeks ago we submitted that material. As

12 soon as we were aware of the arrest, we submitted that for translation.

13 We requested from the trial team that that material be provided to us by

14 the 10th of July. I have endeavoured over the last several days to

15 determine the status of that translation request. I have been told today

16 that through some process somewhere, the Translation Unit was told a later

17 date and that, as of now, they feel they cannot give it to us until the

18 21st of July. We will try to expedite that.

19 In the meantime, all but 30 pages of the supporting material will

20 be provided to the accused next week in a language that he understands,

21 and then we will be awaiting the B/C/S on the last 30 pages. So the

22 supporting material we will provide within the time period. It's the

23 66(A)(ii) disclosure and the 65 ter disclosure and submissions that

24 require this expanded search, Your Honour.

25 JUDGE MAY: It's a matter for you to consider what course you are

Page 386

1 going to take with this trial, and arranging it, if possible, so that it

2 takes place at the same time as the trial of the others, because that

3 really would be, as far as I can see, in everybody's interest. You may

4 like to consider restricting the scope of the trial as far as this accused

5 is concerned rather than widening it. As I say, it's a matter for you to

6 consider, but obviously there are strong arguments, which you've already

7 mentioned, for having him tried, this accused tried, at the same time as

8 the others in the indictment.

9 MS. HOLLIS: And Your Honour, we certainly don't want to expand

10 the scope beyond what is already charged. In regard to the existing

11 charges, the Prosecution certainly takes your point, and we'll review the

12 existing indictment and the incidents in light of your comments, Your

13 Honour.

14 JUDGE MAY: If you can set the timetable going before the 4th of

15 August, it would mean that there may be a reasonable chance of this trial

16 taking place in November. I'll hear what Mr. Londrovic has got to say

17 about it in a moment.

18 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, I would just reiterate: Regarding the

19 supporting material, it is our intention to provide all of the supporting

20 material, including that 30 pages, before the 4th of August; we hope no

21 later than the end of the third week in July.

22 JUDGE MAY: Is there anything you want to say in addition about

23 progress before I turn to the Defence?

24 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, I will indicate to you that in regard to

25 disclosure under 66(A)(ii) that there is overlap, as far as witnesses are

Page 387

1 concerned, between this Keraterm case and the case involving Kvocka et al.

2 And to the extent that there is overlap in the witnesses, which there is,

3 then we will be able to expedite the disclosure, because we've already

4 prepared the comprehensive disclosure for the Kvocka case. So we believe

5 that between 15 and 18 witnesses may be common witnesses and we would be

6 able to expedite the 66(A)(ii) disclosure for those witnesses.

7 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.

8 Mr. Londrovic, clearly, if at all possible, it's desirable that

9 the trial of this accused should take place at the same time as the trial

10 of the others on the same indictment, which means by the 6th of November,

11 or on the 6th of November. Clearly, any preliminary motions, as you know,

12 have to be in within 30 days of disclosure, which will be a date sometime

13 in August, I anticipate. Beyond that, are you going to be in a position

14 for trial by the 6th of November?

15 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, first of all, I have

16 to say that I have still not been selected as the Defence counsel of

17 Mr. Dusko Sikirica. I have been asked today by Mr. Dusko Sikirica and the

18 Registry to appear at his Initial Appearance, and Mr. Dusko Sikirica is

19 still considering which of my colleagues will be his lead counsel.

20 I have information to the effect that the accused Sikirica has

21 received only the indictment so far, and I trust that the Prosecution will

22 respect the terms of Rule 66(A)(i) and will disclose the material within

23 the prescribed time limit, so that I would not like to take the

24 responsibility of saying on behalf of the Defence counsel of Mr. Sikirica

25 whether or not they will be ready for trial by the 6th of November, 2000,

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Page 389

1 because I'm not certain that I will be in the Defence team. Of course, I

2 fully understand the endeavours of the Chamber and of the Prosecution to

3 have a trial at the same time as the other accused.

4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Londrovic, I hear, of course, what you say about

5 it. You should inform those who are going to undertake the Defence that

6 the Trial Chamber expects the matter to be ready for trial on the 6th of

7 November. And if you are in the team, have that in mind yourself. Now,

8 I'm going to consider any future dates. Is there anything that you want

9 -- anything else you want to say, Mr. Londrovic?

10 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Only one more matter. I have

11 advised Mr. Sikirica that in my opinion, this issue should be resolved

12 within the next week, that he should not delay his decision or think about

13 it too long about who his Defence team should be.

14 JUDGE MAY: That is clearly right, if I may say so, given the

15 timetable. It's more pressing than usual. Yes, thank you.

16 [Chamber confers with legal officer]

17 JUDGE MAY: A Status Conference has already been arranged in the

18 case of the other two accused for the 13th of September. This accused

19 will be added to that, so the next date for hearing is the 13th of

20 September and, Mr. Londrovic, perhaps you would pass that on to whoever is

21 going to represent the accused that the matter will be in Court next on

22 that date.

23 Meanwhile, the accused will be detained in the United Nations

24 detention unit awaiting trial. The matter is now adjourned.

25 -- Whereupon upon the hearing is adjourned at 3.27 p.m.