Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 841

1 Thursday, 15 March 2001

2 [Initial Appearance]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.05 p.m.

6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the registrar call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour.

8 Case number IT-95-9-PT, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Milan

9 Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.

10 JUDGE ROBINSON: May we have the appearances, please.

11 MS. DEL PONTE: [Interpretation] Mr. President, good afternoon.

12 I personally am here in court, and my colleagues, Ms. Suzanne

13 Hayden and Mr. Gramski Difazio, who is a new Prosecutor, who has just

14 assumed that function. Just to tell you, that he is Australian by

15 nationality, that he was a prosecutor in Hong Kong, and that he is

16 originally Italian. Also on the side of the Prosecution, Ms. Diane Boles,

17 case manager.

18 That is all. Thank you, Mr. President.

19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.

20 For the Defence.

21 MR. PANTELIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. I am Defence counsel

22 Igor Pantelic from the Belgrade bar. As I can add, I am a one-man show.

23 I'm case manager; I'm Defence counsel; I'm assistant. Here I am. Thank

24 you.

25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Pantelic.

Page 842

1 Today we conduct the Initial Appearance of the accused Blagoje

2 Simic under Rule 62 bis. We must act in accordance with the provisions of

3 that Rule.

4 The accused has the right to have the indictment read to him or he

5 may waive the right.

6 Mr. Pantelic.

7 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour, we choose to waive our right to

8 hear the indictment. Also, my client is ready to plead in a cumulative

9 way for all counts, if it please the Court.

10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much.

11 Next we come to the pleas to the indictment. The Rules require

12 that the accused be informed that, within 30 days, he will be called upon

13 to enter a plea, or he may do so today if he so requests.

14 Again, Mr. Pantelic, I ask: Does your client understand the

15 indictment, and is he ready to plead today?

16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Due to the well-known fact that

17 he was publicly indicted since 1995 - six years is enough to be familiar

18 with the indictment - my client is ready to enter his plea today. He

19 doesn't need the 30-day period. Thank you.

20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. Will the accused stand.

21 [The accused stands up]

22 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm going to put the counts of the indictment to

23 you and you will plead either guilty or not guilty.

24 Count 1, paragraphs 29 and 31, allege offences of persecutions

25 against Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and other non-Serb civilians,

Page 843

1 committed on or about September 1991 to at least 31 December 1993, and

2 between 17 April 1992 to at least 31 December 1993.

3 In Count 1, you are specifically charged with persecutions on

4 political, racial, and religious grounds, a crime against humanity,

5 punishable under Article 5(H), 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute of the

6 Tribunal.

7 How do you plead?

8 THE ACCUSED B. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your

9 Honour. I plead by saying that I am not guilty.

10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Counts 2 and 3, paragraph 36 of the indictment,

11 allege offences of unlawful deportation and a transfer of hundreds of

12 Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and other non-Serb civilians, including

13 women and children and the elderly, from their homes in Bosanski Samac to

14 other countries or to other parts of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina

15 not controlled by Serb forces.

16 In Count 2, you are specifically charged with deportation, a crime

17 against humanity, punishable under Articles 5(D), 5(H), 7(1), and 7(3) of

18 the Statute.

19 How do you plead?

20 THE ACCUSED B. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

21 JUDGE ROBINSON: In Count 3, you are specifically charged with

22 unlawful deportation or transfer, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions

23 of 1949, punishable under Articles 2(G), 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute.

24 How do you plead?

25 THE ACCUSED B. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

Page 844

1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. You may sit.

2 [The accused sits down]

3 JUDGE ROBINSON: That concludes the stage dealing with pleas. We

4 have some other matters which need to be dealt with at this stage.

5 First, the question of disclosures. I want to be informed as to

6 whether that aspect of the pre-trial phase has been completed.

7 May I hear from you, Madam Prosecutor, first?

8 MS. DEL PONTE: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. Regarding the

9 disclosure of documents to Defence counsel, we are ready to disclose

10 everything. We have an agreement with the Defence so that the disclosure

11 may be done directly into the hands of the client, because Defence counsel

12 tells us that he will be leaving today. So he agrees that all the

13 documents be given directly to the accused. Of course, we have nothing

14 against that, that is, as far as disclosure is concerned. Thank you.

15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Pantelic.

16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour, I can confirm the statement of my

17 distinguished colleague, Prosecutor Madam Carla Del Ponte, and I can

18 inform the Trial Chamber that the Defence will act strictly in accordance

19 with the actual Scheduling Order. I would like to outline that we are

20 ready for a trial, so no extension of time nor any kind of procedural, I

21 would say, manoeuvres in order to postpone the already set trial date.

22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, as you're on your feet, I may mention

23 something which affects you. The Pre-Trial brief is due on the 26th of

24 March, as well as the witness list, and the Defence trial brief a month

25 later, on the 23rd. Now, you have 30 days from the completion of

Page 845

1 disclosures to file any preliminary motion, and depending on whether you

2 are going to file preliminary motions, that would clearly affect the dates

3 that we have set. Are you in a position to comment on this?

4 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Yes, Your Honour. I have an idea to give a

5 proposition to the Trial Chamber with regard to the dynamic of the

6 Pre-Trial phases prior to trial date. The first solution might be that a

7 special Scheduling Order for my client, Dr. Blagoje Simic, might be

8 issued, in the limits of the trial date.

9 The second possibility is that we could probably adjust the actual

10 Scheduling Order to postpone the Pre-Trial briefs from the Prosecutor, as

11 well as Defence Pre-Trial briefs and conference, let's say, if it's

12 possible, according to the availability of the courtrooms and according to

13 the administration, court administration, maybe in July, August, or

14 September, so that we could be ready for trial in October. Because we are

15 all familiar and we are all aware that almost the same situation in the

16 other cases with regard to the Pre-Trial Conference and Pre-Trial briefs

17 was the case. So between these two possibilities I think we could find a

18 proper solution.

19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, that's fairly helpful. I take it, then,

20 you will not be filing any preliminary motions.

21 MR. PANTELIC: I'm not in a position to give you the answer today,

22 Your Honour. I would need at least seven days to discuss legal matters

23 with my associates, with my colleagues, and then I will see whether or not

24 the Defence will file Pre-Trial motions. But even, as I said prior to

25 this hearing to my learned colleagues from the Prosecutor bench, even if

Page 846

1 the Defence would file Pre-Trial motions, it will not affect the date for

2 trial, because it is very obvious that we have enough time to resolve this

3 issue of Pre-Trial motions in the next few months.

4 JUDGE ROBINSON: We have a date fixed for the Pre-Trial Conference

5 on the 16th of May, and it is my intention to keep that date firm so that

6 whatever adjustments we make, we must make that with that date in mind.

7 Thank you, Mr. Pantelic, for your comments.

8 Madam Prosecutor, there are several ways in which we could

9 approach this matter. One way would be that you would present your

10 Pre-Trial brief as scheduled, on the 26th of March. I would presume it

11 would not be feasible for you to include the accused in that brief now,

12 but you could be afforded an extension of a particular period to submit an

13 attachment to that brief relating to the accused. How would you respond

14 to that?

15 MS. DEL PONTE: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. It is

16 true, the 26th of March is the date for the submission of the Pre-Trial

17 brief. The suggestion that you have made suits us absolutely, that is, to

18 have a few more days so that we can prepare a single document,

19 Mr. President. I'm in your hands as to the number of days, but in any

20 event, I do support that suggestion and it would be absolutely useful that

21 all the accused should be included in the same Pre-Trial brief.

22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Madam Prosecutor.

23 The senior legal officer.

24 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]

25 JUDGE ROBINSON: I have revised the schedule as follows: The

Page 847

1 Prosecution Pre-Trial brief to be submitted by the 9th of April - that's

2 an addition of two weeks - and the Defence Pre-Trial brief on the 7th of

3 May. So we still keep the Pre-Trial Conference date on the 16th of May.

4 Are there any other matters?

5 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]

6 JUDGE ROBINSON: The hearing stands adjourned.

7 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned at

8 2.21 p.m.