IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
Judge Claude Jorda, Presiding
Judge Fouad Riad
Judge Almiro Simões Rodrigues
Mr. Jean-Jacques Heintz, Deputy-Registrar
21 May 1998
SIMO ZARIC, alias SOLAJA
DECISION ON DEFENCE APPLICATION
FOR LEAVE TO USE THE NATIVE LANGUAGE
OF THE ASSIGNED COUNSEL IN THE PROCEEDINGS
The Office of the Prosecutor:
Ms. Nancy Paterson
Mr. Borislav Pisaveric
1. Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (hereinafter "the Tribunal") received an application from the Defence, filed on 3 March 1998, for leave to use the native language of the assigned counsel in the proceedings (hereinafter "the Application"). The Prosecutor filed her response on 10 March 1998. The Defence did not file a reply to the Prosecutors objection.
The Trial Chamber will first analyse the claims of the parties and then discuss all the points of contention.
I. CLAIMS OF THE PARTIES
2. In his Application, the Defence counsel requests that the Trial Chamber grant him leave to use his native language in all written communications at trial. In support of his Application, he specifies that his language is also that of the accused, asserts that its use would ensure a more efficient and expeditious defence of the said accused, and recalls that the accused voluntarily surrendered to the Tribunal.
3. In its response in objection, the Prosecution relies on the principles derived from the jurisprudence of the Tribunal according to which all motions, all written arguments and other documents shall be filed in one of the working languages of the International Tribunal. It asserts moreover that the resulting workload for the translation services would significantly lengthen the duration of proceedings.
4. The Trial Chamber notes first that Mr. Borislav Pisarevic was assigned to the defence of the accused by the Registrars decision of 18 March 1998, pursuant to Article 11 of the Directive on the Assignment of Counsel, and that the costs of the defence of the accused shall therefore be borne by the Tribunal.
5. Rule 3 of the Rules, "Languages", provides:
"(A) The working languages of the Tribunal shall be English and French.
(B) An accused shall have the right to use his or her own language.
(C) Other persons appearing before the Tribunal, other than as counsel, who do not have sufficient knowledge of either of the two working languages, may use their own language.
(D) Counsel for an accused may apply to the Presiding Judge of a Chamber for leave to use a language other than the two working ones or the language of the accused. If such leave is granted, the expenses of interpretation and translation shall be borne by the Tribunal to the extent, if any, determined by the President, taking into account the rights of the defence and the interests of justice.
(E) The Registrar shall make any necessary arrangements for interpretation and translation into and from the working languages."
6. It appears from this Rule that the only relevant provision in this case is paragraph (A). In fact, paragraph (C) concerns any persons other than Defence counsel and paragraph (D) permits envisaging only a situation in which the counsel speaks neither of the working languages of the Tribunal, nor that of the accused, which is not the case at hand.
7. As regards the interpretation of Sub-rule 3(A), in its decision of 25 September 1996, Trial Chamber II noted that:
"Implicit in the concept of "working languages" S...Cin Rule 3(A) is that all papers which are filed with the International Tribunal be either in English or French. Neither Article 21(1) not Article 21(4)(a) entitles the accused to submit or receive motions in his language because these do not fit within the parameters of the evidence upon which the Trial Chamber will base its determination of the charges against him. The provisions of Article 21(4)(a) and (f) do not entitle the Defence to have the Registrar expend the enormous time and cost required for the translation of motions into the language of the accused. The Trial Chamber determines that all motions are to be filed in one of the working languages of the International Tribunal. This requirement applies to all motions, memoranda and similar documents and all correspondence between the parties and to and from the International Tribunal."
The Judges fully agree with this opinion.
8. Furthermore, as regards the Defence submission that granting the requested leave would facilitate and expedite the proceedings, the Trial Chamber considers that the end result would be the contrary. Indeed, the additional work to be borne by the translation services would be considerable and would directly result in slowing the proceedings as well as substantially increasing Tribunal fees.
9. Lastly, the Trial Chamber does not see how the voluntary surrender of the accused to the authorities of the Tribunal would justify the application of a special arrangement concerning the working languages of the proceedings.
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS,
The Trial Chamber,
RULING inter partes and unanimously,
DISMISSES the Defence Application for leave to use the native language of the assigned counsel in the proceedings.
Done in French and English, the French version being authoritative.
Done this twenty-first day of May 1998
At The Hague
Presiding Judge, Trial Chamber I
(Seal of the Tribunal)