Case: IT-97-24-A


Judge Theodor Meron, Pre-Appeal Judge

Mr. Hans Holthuis

Decision of:
23 February 2004







Counsel for the Prosecutor:

Mr. Norman Farrell

Counsel for the Defence:

Mr. Branko D. Lukic
Mr. John R. Ostojic


I, Theodor Meron, President 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 ("International Tribunal") and Pre-Appeal Judge in this case,1 am seised of the “Prosecutor’s Urgent Motion Regarding Defects in Milomir Stakic’s Brief on Appeal of 1 February 2004” (“Motion”), filed by the Prosecution on 11 February 2004.

The Motion submits that the Appellant’s Brief filed by Milomir Stakic (“Appellant”) in this matter does not comply with the Practice Direction on Formal Requirements for Appeals from Judgement, Document IT/201 (“Practice Direction”). The Motion argues that the Appellant’s Brief contains arguments that lack necessary references to the Trial Chamber’s Judgement, the record, or authorities. The Motion also submits that the Appellant’s Brief occasionally advances a set of multiple errors but simply includes one or two references as illustrative examples. The Motion contains an annex that sets out several instances where the Prosecution believes the Appellant’s Brief contains insufficient references to supporting material.

The Appellant responded on 18 February 2004, claiming that the 412 footnotes in the Appellant’s Brief prove that the brief is in compliance with the Practice Direction.2 The Prosecution has advised that it will not file a reply.

There is no need to examine each and every alleged deficiency set out in the annex to the Motion to conclude that there are several assertions in the Appellant’s Brief that are insufficiently supported and citations to jurisprudence that are insufficiently precise. For example, several footnotes cite to jurisprudence without identifying specific paragraph or page numbers.3 Some paragraphs characterize the Trial Chamber Judgement or proceedings without citing to particular paragraphs or transcript passages.4 In light of these evident imprecisions, the Prosecution’s Motion has merit.

In the circumstances, the best approach is to allow the Appellant a short period of time to refile an Appellant’s Brief containing precise references. The Appellant should take the annex to the Motion into account in this regard, although it should not be treated as an exhaustive list of citations that are to be supplemented.

I remind the Appellant and his counsel that failure to supply precise citations to sources, including paragraph and page numbers sufficient to permit the Prosecution and Appeals Chamber to identify the source of all facts, errors, and propositions asserted, can result in the Appeals Chamber disregarding arguments asserted in the brief. It is in the Appellant’s own interest that the citations in his brief be as clear and precise as possible in order to avoid having arguments dismissed on appeal without full consideration because they are insufficiently developed.

The Appellant is advised that the refiled brief may not contain arguments or sections that were not included in the brief filed on 1 February 2004. Any arguments not already included in the 1 February brief will not be considered on appeal.

The Appellant has indicated that 14 days would be a sufficient period of time for his counsel to refile his Appellant’s Brief. The Prosecution will likewise be given an extension for the filing of its response brief.

For the foregoing reasons, the Prosecution’s Motion is GRANTED. It is ORDERED that the Appellant may refile his Appellant’s Brief containing precise references, but without adding any new argument, on or before 8 March 2004. It is further ORDERED that the Prosecution may file its response on or before thirty (30) days after the date of the refiling of the Appellant’s Brief.


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

Dated this 23th day of February 2004,
At The Hague,
The Netherlands.

Theodor Meron
Pre-Appeal Judge

[Seal of the Tribunal]

1. See Order Assigning Judges to a Case Before the Appeals Chamber and Appointing Pre-Appeal Judge, 14 August 2003.
2. Appellant, Milomir Stakic’s Response to the Prosecution’s “Urgent Motion Regarding Defects in Milomir Stakic’s Brief on Appeal of 1 February 2004,” 18 February 2004.
3. E.g., Appellant’s Brief, nn. 83, 86, 91, 235, 243, 245.
4. E.g., Appellant’s Brief, paras. 60, 76, 83, 153.