1 Tuesday, 18 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused not present]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.38 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We were due to have evidence by the videolink
6 this morning, and I see that in fact it is now in operation and,
7 therefore, is effectively part of the court. I see the witness is there,
8 and we'll deal with the situation as it now arises.
9 We had a report earlier - why we sit late - that the accused was
10 unwell. We now have a report from the doctor to the effect that his blood
11 pressure is increased. A consultation with the cardiologist is
12 recommended, together with rest for a few days.
13 Effectively, in the absence of the accused, it will be impossible
14 to hold the hearing, the whole purpose being for him to cross-examine the
16 Mr. Nice, if there's anything you want to say about it, of course
17 we'll hear you, and we'll also hear from the amicus if there's anything
18 they want to add.
19 MR. NICE: I'm alarmed to hear that it's a few days that are
20 required. I've spoken via the video-conference link with the witness,
21 General Marinovic, this morning, and I think he's hearing what I'm saying
22 now. He was certainly in a position to attend on a later date this week
23 were it possible to have taken his evidence via video-conference link this
24 week. I hadn't asked him about his availability on any later date, and
25 indeed I don't know what difficulties there may be with keeping the
1 videolink equipment in Dubrovnik beyond today, tomorrow, or Thursday. It
2 may be that it would be appropriate for Your Honour to ask the witness
3 that, not least to establish contact between the Court and the witness,
4 the witness having made the efforts he has to be available to us.
5 JUDGE MAY: Well, the position is simply this: I am afraid we
6 can't go on. The accused is unwell, and the witness will have heard it,
7 and I'm sorry that he's been troubled in this way.
8 MR. NICE: What I was suggesting is that we can ask him now
9 whether he might be available next week.
10 JUDGE MAY: If you want to ask him, do.
11 MR. NICE: Yes. General Marinovic, can you hear me?
12 He has a language assistant with him.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but -- yes.
14 MR. NICE: Can you help us just with this --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, but --
16 MR. NICE: If by chance it's not possible for your evidence to be
17 taken this week, would you be in a position to assist next week?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As it's in the cause of justice, I
19 am available to you every day, although it is difficult for me to give you
20 any guarantees with respect to my health.
21 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
23 MR. NICE: Nothing else I can say.
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Kay.
25 MR. KAY: Yes. Plainly the Court can't conduct proceedings in the
1 absence of the accused. The issue we'd like to raise is really what is
2 left of this week and the timetable, because we have to consider how we
3 spend our time.
4 This week was a week where we were not sitting on Friday, and the
5 indications, from what we have heard, it being a few days of illness that
6 is expected, is there really any prospect of this case sitting again this
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, at the moment we can't tell you that. The
9 answer we have is rest for a few days and a consultation with the
10 cardiologist. I suggest the best course is that we will assess the
11 situation as soon as we can. On the other hand, if it's possible to sit
12 later in the week, we should most certainly take that opportunity and not
13 lose time.
14 So we will let you know as soon as we can if we're not going to
16 MR. KAY: That was all I was really concerned with was that
17 information gets passed to us.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The Chamber will do this: We will ask for a
21 full medical report and for the cardiologist to report, if he can,
22 tomorrow. We will then be in a position to reassess the situation for the
23 rest of the week.
24 General, I'm sorry, as I've said, that you've had to come and that
25 we haven't been able to take your evidence and indeed that the equipment
1 was not ready, as it should have been, yesterday. But we will rearrange
2 your evidence at a later date, and if you would stay in touch, please,
3 with the Court. We will try and fix a hearing which is convenient to you
4 and convenient to the Court too.
5 I'm going to deal with one other matter. I don't think it need
6 concern you. It's purely an administrative matter. It's this:
7 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, you are -- thank you for coming in. Just to deal with
8 the remainder of the 92 bis witnesses who we've got to consider, we will
9 consider at the first opportunity, first of all the transcript witnesses
10 relating to Vukovar. There are seven of those. We will then deal with
11 the witnesses, as it were, from the periphery. I'm just talking
12 geographically: Baranja, Bacin, Saborsko, Lipovaca and Bruska.
13 I should say the witness can go, of course, if he wants, at the
14 end of the videolink. No need for him to remain.
15 There are about 14 or 15 witnesses there. I was going to ask you
16 this: You've had a chance to reconsider, in order to save time and indeed
17 to make our consideration that much more efficient. Are there any
18 witnesses on the list who you no longer intend to call?
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, we have -- we had already
20 addressed the witness Stringer.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And I have said that we don't want to call
23 this one.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: But in relation to the peripheral witnesses,
1 there's actually just one witness per village, more or less.
2 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And we would -- we will reconsider it, but
4 it's not very likely that we can drop any of these.
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: But of course when we have your decision on
7 the 92 bis, whether it is with cross-examination or not, then we, of
8 course, need to think about it in a different way.
9 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
10 Mr. Nice, unless there's anything else we can usefully do, we will
11 adjourn and give notice as soon as we can when the Court will next
13 MR. NICE: Two things. First, just notice which will be on the
14 transcript so the accused can read it: I said yesterday we would not be
15 calling 97. There has been some reconsideration. It remains possible
16 that we will him. I'll keep you posted on that.
17 Secondly, we were looking at the possibility of a gap in this
18 week's schedule because of the problems with the videolink and the
19 disappearance from the list of the man originally listed as a witness for
21 I should tell the Chamber that we face this problem: That the
22 Victims and Witnesses Unit is not able to bring us witnesses at short
23 notice, and anything less than five days is regarded as unacceptably short
24 notice. So that when we have a gap, as it looked as though we might have
25 a gap for reasons outside our control, and we looked for a comparatively
1 local witness who we could bring in today to give evidence on Thursday -
2 because that would be less than five days' notice - that was not a
3 possibility that could be considered.
4 I draw it to your attention. I don't seek any relief, but I
5 desire that you should understand the difficulties that putting together
6 the various functions of this Tribunal pose. We're doing all we can,
7 obviously, to have enough witnesses available that there should be no
8 gaps. If we have too many witnesses available we fall foul of the
9 complaint that we're wasting their time and spending very large quantities
10 of money. It's a difficult balancing exercise.
11 As for myself, I have a personal commitment on Thursday. I'll
12 tell you through your officers what it is. I think I'm satisfied that I
13 will in fact put the interests of being here above that other commitment,
14 but nevertheless, it will help me to know tomorrow, if it's possible,
15 whether we're going to be sitting on Thursday. That's all.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, how are the five days' notice
17 explained? I of course accept what you say, but just for my own
19 MR. NICE: If we seek to call a witness without giving five days'
20 notice, VWU cannot do it.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's what I wanted to have explained.
22 MR. NICE: I'm afraid I can't explain it.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: You can't. Yes.
24 MR. NICE: But they have an enormous workload to serve a large
25 number of courts, and limited staff. I can't speak for them, I can only
1 report what the position facing us is. And the only way we can possibly
2 occasionally get round that is if we circumvent the VWU arrangements and
3 bring a witness in under our own system, but that, I think, brings in all
4 sorts of other difficulties of one kind or another and is also really
5 contrary to the principle of the Tribunal that victims and witnesses are
6 handled by an independent unit, which brings many advantages for the Court
7 and for the witnesses. That's the problem.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
9 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn and we will sit at a date
10 which will be notified.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned sine die
12 at 9.53 a.m.