1 Wednesday, 28
2 [Open session]
3 [Initial Appearance]
4 --- Upon commencing at 4.03 p.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may be seated, please.
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-97-24-I, the Prosecutor of the Tribunal versus others and Milomir
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] First of all, I would like to
12 say good afternoon to the interpreters and to the audio-visual booth and
13 be sure that everybody can hear me. Thank you.
14 And I would like to say good afternoon to the public who has come
15 to witness this hearing. These are part of the preliminary hearings, that
16 is, the initial appearance of the accused, which is covered by Rule 62 of
17 our rules.
18 Let me now turn to the Prosecutor, Ms. Susan Somers. Would you
19 please tell us who is representing the Prosecution?
20 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. For the Prosecution team,
21 Susan Somers. Also present --
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Microphone, please.
23 MS. SOMERS: I apologise. For the Prosecution team, Susan Somers.
24 Also with the Prosecution, Daniel Saxon, Kapila Waidyaratne, and
25 Ms. Denise Gustin.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Let me thank you very much.
2 Let me now turn to the Defence, although we know one another,
3 Mr. Lukic. Would you please introduce yourself, to say the bar you
4 represent, and what your qualifications are at the Tribunal. In any case,
5 as you have presented them to the registrar.
6 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Thank you for giving me
7 the floor. I am Branko Lukic, lawyer from Doboj, Republika Srpska, BNH,
8 and I have master degree in law.
9 Today I am representing Mr. Milomir Stakic only on this initial
10 appearance. I suggested to Mr. Stakic to find a permanent lawyer as soon
11 as possible.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Lukic. You may
13 be seated. Thank you.
14 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I would like to turn now to
16 Mr. Milomir Stakic who is appearing today for the first time further to an
17 indictment which was prepared against him.
18 Mr. Stakic, would you please rise. Would you clearly state your
19 name and your first name.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Milomir Stakic.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] The date and place of your
22 birth, please.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 19th of January, 1962, in Maricka in
24 Prijedor municipality.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] What is your profession, please,
1 and what is your residence, the residence you occupied before coming here.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am a doctor, a general
3 practitioner, currently undergoing specialisation, my residency for
4 physical therapy until my arrival here in The Hague. That was what I have
5 been doing. I did my residency in Belgrade in the Federal Republic of
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Are you married?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] And do you have children?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. I have two children.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, Dr. Stakic. This is
12 your Initial Appearance before the Tribunal. Of course, it is a
13 significant formality, but you must be present and conscious, with your
14 attorney, of what is going on, because this is the time since your arrest
15 when you are once again given the opportunity to familiarise yourself with
16 all of the charges which the Prosecutor has brought against you and which
17 were confirmed by a Judge, until such time as evidence is presented in a
18 adversarial proceeding.
19 For things to be clear, Dr. Stakic, I am going to ask first the
20 registrar to refer to the constituent text which give to you several
21 rights and which will then allow you to move to the most important part of
22 this appearance, that is, to ask you whether you wish to plead guilty or
23 not guilty, and to know that if you plead guilty or not guilty, the Court
24 will know. For the time being, please be seated, Dr. Stakic.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Dr. Stakic, please pay careful
2 attention to the reading out of this text. I can say this to your counsel
3 as well, but of course I'm sure that your counsel is very familiar with
5 Madam Registrar, would you please read out the Articles 20 and 21
6 of the Statute, and 62 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
7 SENIOR LEGAL OFFICER: [Interpretation] Mr. President, excuse me.
8 Perhaps the reading could be done in French. That would be better.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Please proceed.
10 SENIOR LEGAL OFFICER: [Interpretation] Article 20 of the Tribunal,
11 Commencement of Trial Proceedings:
12 [As read]
13 1. The Trial Chambers shall ensure that a trial is fair and
14 expeditious and that proceedings are conducted in accordance with the
15 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, with full respect for the rights of the
16 accused and due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses.
17 2. A person against whom an indictment has been confirmed shall,
18 pursuant to an order or an arrest warrant of the International Tribunal,
19 to be taken into custody, immediately informed of the charges against him
20 and transferred to the International Tribunal.
21 3. A trial should not commence until the accused is physically
22 present before the International Tribunal and the indictment is read out,
23 and to be sure that the rights of the accused are to be respected,
24 confirms that the accused has understood the contents of the indictment
25 and orders him to plead guilty or not guilty. The Chamber then sets the
1 date for the trial.
2 4. The hearings shall be public unless the Trial Chamber decides
3 to close the proceedings in accordance with its Rules of Procedure and
5 Article 21, The Rights of the Accused:
6 [As read]
7 1. All persons shall be equal before the International Tribunal.
8 2. In the determination of charges against him, the accused shall
9 be entitled to a fair and public hearing, subject to Article 22 of the
11 3. The accused shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty
12 according to the provisions of the present Statute.
13 4. In the determination of any charge against the accused
14 pursuant to the present Statute, the accused shall be entitled to the
15 following minimum guarantees, in full equality:
16 (a) to be informed promptly and in detail, in a language which
17 he understands, of the nature and cause of the charge
18 against him;
19 (b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of
20 his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own
22 (c) to be tried without undue delay;
23 (d) to be tried in his presence and to defend himself in person
24 or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be
25 informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this
1 right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any
2 case where the interests of justice so require, and without
3 payment by him in any such case if he does not have
4 sufficient means to pay for it;
5 (e) to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and
6 to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his
7 behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
8 (f) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot
9 understand or speak the language used in the International
11 (g) not to be compelled to testify himself or to confess guilt.
12 Rule 62 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal,
13 Initial Appearance of the accused:
14 [ As read]
15 Upon transfer of an accused to the seat of the Tribunal, the
16 President shall forthwith assign the case to a Trial Chamber. The accused
17 shall be brought before that Trial Chamber or a Judge thereof without
18 delay and shall be formally charged. The Trial Chamber or the Judge shall
19 1) satisfy himself or herself of the right of the accused to counsel is
20 respected; 2) to have or have the indictment read to the accused in a
21 language the accused speaks and understands, and satisfy itself, himself
22 or herself, that the accused understands the indictment.
23 Inform the accused that within 30 days of his initial appearance,
24 he or she will be called upon to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on
25 each count, but that should the accused so request, he or she may
1 immediately enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on one or more counts.
2 If the accused fails to enter a plea at the initial or any further
3 appearance, enter a plea of not guilty on the accused's behalf.
4 In case of a plea of not guilty, instruct the registrar to set a
5 date for trial.
6 In case of a plea of guilty, if before the Trial Chamber, act in
7 accordance with Rule 62 bis; or, if before a Judge, refer the plea to the
8 Trial Chamber so that it may act in accordance with Rule 62 bis.
9 Instruct the registrar to assess such other dates as appropriate.
10 Thank you.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Olivier
12 Fourmy for having read out these texts.
13 Let me now turn to Mr. Branko Lukic. Has Dr. Stakic received a
14 copy of the indictment in a language which -- in his own language, and has
15 he understood its contents? Would you answer that question, please?
16 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour. He received the indictment, and he
17 received it in the language he understands, and he read it thoroughly.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Were you able to speak with
19 Dr. Stakic about it?
20 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour. We had a lengthy discussion, and we
21 discussed the whole indictment in detail.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic.
23 You may be seated.
24 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Dr. Stakic, would you rise,
1 please. Have you received the indictment in your own language?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I have, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Have you understood its content?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Are you prepared today to tell
6 us whether you plead guilty or not guilty to the counts?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I am prepared to enter my plea,
8 Your Honour.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So that everything is clear,
10 Dr. Stakic, we are going to proceed as follows: The registrar is going to
11 read out the indictment. You will remain seated while she reads it, and
12 when we reach the count, I'm going to ask you to rise and I will ask you
13 whether you plead guilty or not guilty.
14 Have you understood what I've said, and do you agree?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] For the moment, you may be
18 Mr. Lukic, I would like to know whether you agree to our reading
19 only part of the indictment, that is, paragraphs 3, 10 to 12, and 19 to
20 26. Do you agree?
21 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours, we are ready even to waive our right to
22 have the indictment read, but we leave it to the Chamber to decide how to
23 deal with this matter.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may be seated. One moment,
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic,
3 for having cooperated with us, but the Trial Chamber nonetheless believes
4 that in respect of information for the public, some information should be
5 given, and so the Chamber orders that the relevant paragraphs be read out,
6 that is, paragraphs 3, 10 to 12, and then 19 to 26.
7 Madam Registrar, please proceed.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
9 Paragraph 3: Milomir Stakic was born on 19th February 1962 in the
10 municipality of Prijedor of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1992,
11 he served as the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor
12 municipality and as a member of the municipality of Prijedor Crisis Staff.
13 He is a doctor of profession and is currently serving again as president
14 of the municipality of Prijedor.
15 Paragraph 10: During the period from 29th of April, 1992, to the
16 31st of December, 1992, Milomir Stakic was both a member of the
17 municipality of Prijedor Crisis Staff and the president of the Municipal
18 Assembly of Prijedor.
19 In his role as a member of the Crisis Staff, Milomir Stakic was
20 part of the body that held executive power in the municipality of Prijedor
21 at all times relevant to this indictment and the body referred to in
22 paragraph 5 above.
23 As the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, Milomir
24 Stakic occupied the most important position on the Crisis Staff in terms
25 of the de jure authority. He had the final voice and authority in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 deciding all issues within the municipality.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Stakic, excuse me, would you
3 please rise.
4 Continue, Madam Registrar.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Count 1: Genocide. Between 19 -- April 1992 and
6 January 1993, others and Milomir Stakic did, in the territory of the
7 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by their acts and omissions, commit
9 Beginning in the spring of 1992, the Crisis Staff of the
10 municipality of Prijedor, including others and Milomir Stakic, planned,
11 organised and implemented the creation of a number of detention facilities
12 or camps, including the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps. These
13 camps were staffed and operated by military and police personnel and their
14 agents, under the control of the Bosnian Serb military and civilian
15 members of the Crisis Staff. In addition, other Bosnian Serb police,
16 military, and civilians not directly assigned to the guard staff of the
17 camps had unfettered access to all of the detention facilities and
18 operated in conjunction with the personnel in control of these detention
20 In none of the camps were the detainees afforded proper judicial
21 process and their internment was not justified by military necessity.
22 They were detained primarily because of their religious and ethnic
23 identification. The conditions in the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje
24 camps were abject and brutal. Bosnian Serb military and police personnel
25 in charge of these facilities, their staff, and other persons who visited
1 the camps, all of whom were subject to the authority and control of the
2 Crisis Staff, killed, sexually assaulted, tortured, and otherwise
3 physically and psychologically abused the detainees in the camps.
4 At Omarska and Keraterm, the camps were deliberately operated in a
5 manner designed to inflict upon the detainees conditions intended to bring
6 about their physical destruction with the intent to destroy, in part, the
7 Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat people as national, ethnic, or religious
8 groups. Serious violations of international humanitarian law of a similar
9 pattern were committed in both Omarska and Keraterm camps. Detainees were
10 continuously subjected to or forced to witness inhumane acts, including
11 murder, rape, sexual assault, torture, beatings and robbery, as well as
12 other forms of mental and physical abuse. Daily food rations provided to
13 detainees amounted to starvation rations. Medical care for the detainees
14 was insufficient or non-existent, and the general hygienic conditions
15 prevalent at these camps were grossly inadequate.
16 At Omarska, prisoners were crowded together with little or no
17 facilities for personal hygiene. They were fed starvation rations once a
18 day and given only a few minutes to go to the canteen area, eat and then
19 leave. The little water they received was often foul. Prisoners had no
20 changes of clothing and no bedding. They received no medical care.
21 Killings and severe beatings of prisoners were commonplace. The camp
22 guards, who were both police and military personnel, and others who came
23 to the camp and physically abused the prisoners, used all manner of
24 weapons during these beatings, including wooden batons, metal rods and
25 tools, lengths of thick industrial cable, rifle butts and knives. Both
1 female and male prisoners were beaten, raped, sexually assaulted, tortured
2 and humiliated. Hundreds of the detainees, whose identities are known and
3 unknown, did not survive the camp.
4 Keraterm camp was located the a former ceramics factory in
5 Prijedor. Conditions for prisoners were similar to those in Omarska camp.
6 Detainees were so crowded in the four rooms that, on many occasions, they
7 could not lie down. The detainees were not permitted to move around
8 freely in the camp. Whether detained in the rooms or on the open area
9 outside, they were only allowed to move when specifically permitted to do
10 so, usually only to receive their starvation rations or to go to the
11 toilet. On a daily basis, the camp leadership, the camp guards, who were
12 both police and military personnel, and others who came to the camp to
13 abuse the detainees, subjected the detainees to inhuman conditions,
14 physical violence, constant humiliation, degradation, and fear of death.
15 Many detainees were executed in the camp. On one night in July 1992, more
16 than 150 military-aged men from the Brdo region were executed. Severe
17 beatings were commonplace. All manner of weapons were used during these
18 beatings, including wooden batons, metal rods, baseball bats, lengths of
19 thick industrial cable, rifle butts and knives. The beatings, sexual
20 assaults, tortures and other cruel and humiliating actions were generally
21 inflicted in full view of other detainees and were accompanied by
22 derogatory and humiliating comments to the victims or their families and
23 general threats to the other detainees. After they were beaten, tortured,
24 or sexually assaulted, the detainees were carried, dragged, or forced to
25 crawl back into their rooms, without any form of care for their injuries.
1 Hundreds of detainees, whose identities are known and unknown, did not
2 survive the camp.
3 Trnopolje camp was established at the site of a former school and
4 adjacent buildings in Trnopolje village. It was the largest camp and the
5 location to which Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat women, children, and
6 elderly were taken. Some men of military age also managed to go directly
7 to the Trnopolje camp. The buildings in the camp were quickly filled and
8 the remaining detainees had to find shelter in makeshift huts of plastic
9 and excess materials or remain out in the open fields. The hygiene
10 facilities were grossly inadequate. Minimal rations were provided on a
11 sporadic basis, with female detainees eventually being allowed to leave
12 the camp to forage for food in the surrounding village. The camp served
13 as the staging point for the mass deportation of all those who survived
14 the initial attacks and camp regime. It also served a much more sinister
15 purpose: the sexual assault, rape, and torture of many of the women
16 detained there by camp personnel, who were both police and military
17 personnel, and by other military units from the area who came to the camp
18 for that specific purpose. In many instances, the women and girls were
19 taken from the camp and raped, tortured, or sexually abused at other
20 locations. In addition, many prisoners, both male and female, were
21 killed, beaten, and otherwise physically and psychologically maltreated by
22 the camp personnel and other Serbs and Bosnian Serbs who were allowed into
23 the camp.
24 Between 30 April 1992 and 31 December 1992, others and Milomir
25 Stakic, in concert with others, planned, instigated, and ordered the
1 establishment of the camps at Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje and the
2 detention therein of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from the
3 municipality of Prijedor under conditions calculated to bring about the
4 physical destruction of the detainees, with the intent to destroy part of
5 the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat groups, as such. Further, between 30
6 April 1992 and 31 December 1992, others and Milomir Stakic knew or had
7 reason to know that their subordinates who staffed the detention
8 facilities were killing or causing serious physical or mental harm to
9 Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats with the intent to destroy them, in
10 part, as a national, ethnic, or religious group, or had done so and failed
11 to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to
12 punish the perpetrators thereof.
13 By these acts and omissions, others and Milomir Stakic were
14 complicit in the commission of genocide, punishable under Articles 4(3)(e)
15 and 7(1) and (3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Madam
18 Dr. Stakic, do you plead guilty or do you plead not guilty to the
19 single count of genocide?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I plead not guilty, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. We have taken note
22 that Dr. Stakic has pleaded not guilty to the count of genocide.
23 Madam Registrar, please note that Dr. Stakic has pleaded not
24 guilty to the count.
25 Mr. Lukic, and for the Prosecutor as well, I'd like to provide a
1 small explanation. The Chamber has decided to replace the name of Simo
2 Drljaca and Milan Kovacevic by the word "others" because, as you know,
3 those individuals are deceased, and therefore we are saying "others." I'm
4 only saying this so that things be clear.
5 Dr. Stakic, you may be seated.
6 We must now anticipate how we're going to organise the case.
7 There are two preliminary questions which I would like to ask the
8 Prosecutor so that we be aware of what it is that we are speaking of. I
9 don't know if you are in a position, Ms. Somers, to answer the question.
10 Does the Prosecutor wish to amend the indictment, yes or no?
11 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, the Prosecution indeed will be amending
12 the indictment and has undertaken steps to do so already.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Another question, Ms. Somers:
14 Can you tell us why the Prosecutor did not do that when the indictment was
15 amended in respect of the other person, Milan Kovacevic?
16 MS. SOMERS: Having inquired into some of the history of the
17 amendments with co-defendants, it appears that decisions to wait until
18 apprehension were made. In part, the Prosecution has an obligation at the
19 time of arrest to review the state of the evidence, indeed, and amendment
20 is most common, having made such a review. It is also imperative to
21 review the state of jurisprudence that has changed since 1997. And having
22 taken these factors into account upon the arrest of the accused Stakic, we
23 have undertaken to make the necessary amendments and we'll file according
24 to Rule 50 in due course. I have indicated this to Mr. Lukic prior to the
25 session commencing.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, Ms. Somers. Do you
2 have any idea as to when you are going to present an amended indictment?
3 MS. SOMERS: It would be difficult to give an exact date to be
4 held to. I can indicate to the Chamber that work has already been
5 undertaken in that direction, and given the various time limits that we
6 have in terms of other Rules being triggered, we will do so as speedily as
7 possible and we will keep whatever Defence counsel is assigned current on
8 the state of things.
9 I have also spoken, if I may indicate to the Chamber, with
10 Mr. Lukic about the normal documents which would accompany the
11 appearance. Because we have discussed, first of all, that Mr. Lukic is
12 making only a temporary appearance, it appears, at this time, he has
13 indicated to me, and perhaps the Chamber will inquire directly of him,
14 that he would not wish to accept now the documents which would go with the
15 1997 indictment, but rather, when permanent counsel is assigned, to make
16 the determination or have that individual make the determination.
17 Further, if other materials for the new indictment, in fact, assuming it
18 has been already confirmed, are available, that may alter the timing of
19 the delivery. I do wish to indicate, however, that the Prosecution is,
20 with due diligence, working on this.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But in any case, Ms. Somers, in
22 respect of Rule 66 of the Rules, that you in some way have just mentioned,
23 is the Prosecutor prepared to transmit the documents which accompanied the
24 confirmation to a counsel as soon as that counsel is appointed?
25 MS. SOMERS: Yes, Your Honour. In fact, the Prosecution has today
1 the documents that were accompanying that particular indictment. All but
2 19 have been translated into English. Nineteen pages, excuse me.
3 Nineteen pages, not nineteen documents. And therefore, as soon as said
4 counsel is appointed, we are prepared, certainly, to speak.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We will wait until the registry
6 assigns counsel, Dr. Stakic. And we want the registrar to tell us when
7 the date of that assignment will be so we can set up a Status Conference
8 to see where we stand. And I would also tell you that the Trial Chamber
9 is going to appoint a Pre-Trial Judge, and at the appropriate time it will
10 inform you of who that person is.
11 I think there are no further issues to be dealt with.
12 Mr. Lukic, are there any other things you would like to raise
14 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours, no, we don't have any further questions.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
16 And for the Prosecutor?
17 MS. SOMERS: No, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Let me now turn to Dr. Stakic.
19 Would you rise, please. I'm going to give you the floor so that
20 you can speak about your medical condition and your detention conditions
21 and to tell us whether there are any other statements that you would like
22 to make right now. I give you the floor.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] At this time, Your Honour, I do not
24 have any statements to make.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. You may be seated,
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] As I said, we will inform you of
4 the date of the Status Conference and we will wait until the Registry
5 tells us when the counsel will be assigned. For the time being, there are
6 no further issues to deal with. I adjourn the Court and I wish you a
7 pleasant afternoon.
8 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance
9 adjourned at 4.45 p.m.