Case No.: IT-02-54-T


Judge Patrick Robinson, Presiding
Judge O-Gon Kwon
Judge Iain Bonomy

Mr. Hans Holthuis

Decision of:
6 July 2004







The Office of the Prosecutor

Ms. Carla Del Ponte
Mr. Geoffrey Nice
Mr. Dermot Groome
Ms. Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff

The Accused

Mr. Slobodan Milosevic

Amici Curiae

Mr. Steven Kay, QC
Prof. Timothy L.H. McCormack
Ms. Gillian Higgins


THIS TRIAL CHAMBER of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 ("the International Tribunal"),

NOTING the hearing held on 5 July 2004 and the oral submissions made by the parties and Amici Curiae,

NOTING the request of the Accused to be given at least one additional month before he is required to present his case,

NOTING ALSO the confidential "Report by the Registrar Pursuant to the Trial Chamber’s ‘Omnibus Order on Matters Dealt With at the Pre-Defence Conference’", filed on 25 June 2004, reporting on the number of days lost by the Accused due to his illness and the occasions when the Accused’s legal associates were prevented from visiting him due to his illness,

CONSIDERING that the Trial Chamber has determined, and advised the Accused in court, that it will allow the Accused further time for preparation of his defence at a suitable juncture in the proceedings,

NOTING the history of this case, which has been marked by a number of interruptions due to the Accused’s ill health, amounting to the loss of 66 trial days by 25 February 2004, and also the illness of the Accused during the three month period allocated to him for preparation of his defence case,

NOTING, in particular, the latest medical report from Dr. van Dijkman, dated 2 July 2004, which indicates that the Accused requires rest until at least 9 July 2004 and has a health problem which Dr. van Dijkman expects to recur,

NOTING the submissions of the Accused concerning his unfitness to attend court,

NOTING the "Reasons for Decision on the Prosecution Motion Concerning Assignment of Counsel", issued by this Trial Chamber on 4 April 2003, in which it set out the reasons why it would not impose defence counsel upon the Accused at that stage, and also held as follows:

However, the right to defend oneself in person is not absolute...there may be circumstances…where it is in the interests of justice to appoint counsel. No such circumstances have, as yet, arisen in this trial. However, as the Trial Chamber has said, it will keep the position under review….A Trial Chamber has indeed an obligation to ensure that a trial is fair and expeditious; moreover, where the health of the Accused is in issue, that obligation takes on special significance…[W]hile ensuring that the trial is fair and expeditions, a Trial Chamber must also ensure that the rights of the accused, as set out in Article 21 of the Statute, are not infringed.1

NOTING ALSO the "Decision on Prosecution’s Motion for Order Appointing Counsel to Assist Vojislav Seselj with His Defence", issued by Trial Chamber II on 9 May 2003, in which the Trial Chamber held that it is competent to assign standby counsel in the case of a self-represented accused against his wishes and ordered the assignment of standby counsel,2 who has now been assigned,

NOTING that the basis for the assignment of standby counsel and the ways for standby counsel to operate set out in that Decision are not exhaustive,

NOTING the provisions of Article 20(1) of the Statute of the International Tribunal ("Statute") and the obligation of the Trial Chamber in terms thereof to ensure that the trial is conducted in a fair and expeditious manner,

CONSIDERING that it is in the interests of the Accused and the broader interests of justice that this trial be conducted and concluded within a reasonable period of time,

CONSIDERING FURTHER that it is incumbent upon the Trial Chamber to identify measures for the continuation of the trial which are efficient, sensitive to the health of the Accused, and conducive to the fair and proper presentation of his defence,

CONSIDERING ALSO that it is now necessary to carry out a radical review of the future conduct of the trial,

NOTING the submission of the Amicus Curiae, Mr. Kay, that, in light of the recent deterioration of the health of the Accused, it may be time to consider the fitness of the Accused to stand trial,

NOTING the submission of the Prosecution, in response, that there is no basis for consideration of the fitness of the Accused to stand trial at all, but that the time has now come for counsel to be imposed to assist the Accused in part in the presentation of his case,

CONSIDERING that there is no evidence that the Accused is not fit to stand trial at all, but there is evidence that the health of the Accused is such that he may not be fit to continue to represent himself, and that his continuing to represent himself could adversely affect the fair and expeditious conduct of the trial,

NOTING the practice in civil law countries, including Serbia and Montenegro, requiring the assignment of counsel in serious criminal cases,3 in which accused and counsel have a right of audience,

NOTING the continued unwillingness of the Accused to instruct counsel,

CONSIDERING that it may be necessary to assign counsel to the Accused, and/or adopt other measures to ensure a fair and expeditious conduct of the trial,

CONSIDERING, in view of the significance of such a step, that it is appropriate that the Accused should be medically examined by an additional independent consultant cardiologist,

CONSIDERING FURTHER that it is appropriate for the Trial Chamber to take steps now to be in a position, should it be necessary to do so because of further significant interruptions to the progress of the trial, to consider assigning counsel either to assist the Accused in the preparation and presentation of his case or, in exceptional circumstances, to take over the conduct of the defence,

PURSUANT TO Articles 20 and 21 of the Statute and Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Tribunal


  1. The trial is adjourned until Wednesday, 14 July 2004, at which time, subject to the medical condition of the Accused, it will recommence;

  2. The trial will thereafter be adjourned on Wednesday, 21 July 2004 until Tuesday, 31 August 2004, thereby allowing the Accused additional time in which to prepare for the presentation of his case;

  3. The Registrar will identify to the Trial Chamber counsel who might be assigned to the case, should the Trial Chamber order such assignment;

  4. The Registrar will identify a cardiologist, with no prior involvement in the treatment of the Accused, and instruct that cardiologist to carry out an examination of the Accused and consider all relevant information pertaining to his health in the context that he represents himself and report quam primum to the Trial Chamber on the fitness of the Accused to continue to represent himself and the likely impact on the trial schedule should he continue to do so.


Done in English and French, the English text being authoritative.

Judge Robinson

Dated this sixth day of July 2004
At The Hague
The Netherlands

[Seal of the Tribunal]

1. Prosecutor v. Milosevic, "Reasons for Decision on the Prosecution Motion Concerning Assignment of Counsel", 4 April 2003, at paras. 40-41.
2. Prosecutor v. Seselj, "Decision on Prosecution’s Motion for Order Appointing Counsel to Assist Vojislav Seselj with His Defence", 9 May 2003.
3. See examples set out in ibid, at paras. 16-17. Reference to the position in the law of Serbia and Montenegro is to the Criminal Procedure