Case No. IT-03-69-PT

The Prosecutor v. Stanisic

DECISION

THE REGISTRAR,

CONSIDERING the Statute of the Tribunal as adopted by the Security Council under Resolution 827 (1993), and in particular Article 21 thereof;

CONSIDERING the Rules of Procedure and Evidence as adopted by the Tribunal on 11 February 1994, as subsequently amended, and in particular Rules 44 and 45 thereof;

CONSIDERING the Directive on Assignment of Defence Counsel (hereinafter "the Directive"), as adopted by the Tribunal on 28 July 1994, as subsequently amended, and in particular, Article 19(A)(i) thereof;

CONSIDERING the Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel Appearing Before the International Tribunal (IT/125 REV.1) (hereinafter "the Code of Conduct"), and in particular Articles 9 and 13 thereof;

CONSIDERING that on 17 October 2003, Mr. Jovica Stanicic (hereinafter "the Accused") submitted a request to the Registrar to withdraw Mr. Vladan Vukcevic as lead counsel and to assign Mr. Gerardus Godefridus Johannes Knoops, assigned temporary co-counsel in the present case on 17 September for a period of 30 days;

CONISIDERING that the Accused cited a general loss of confidence in the ability of Mr. Vladan Vukcevic;

CONSIDERING that prior to the temporary assignment of Mr. Knoops in the present case, Mr. Knoops was, on 10 June 2003, assigned as legal consultant in the appeal of Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic pending before the Tribunal;

CONSIDERING that in a waiver signed 29 September 2003, Mr. Vasiljevic consented to the assignment of Mr. Knoops in the present case and that the Registrar further ascertained that there was no conflict of interest resulting from the assignment of Mr. Knoops to the present case;

CONSIDERING that on the basis of Article 19 of the Directive, the Registrar may withdraw the assignment of counsel at the request of the accused if is in the interest of justice;

CONSIDERING that upon the assignment of Mr. Vladan Vukcevic, he had satisfied the Registry that his assignment was in the interest of justice and would not occasion any additional delays or costs as a result of the fact that he did not speak one of the working languages of the Tribunal;

CONSIDERING that the Registrar assigned Vladan Vukcevic on the following conditions:

CONSIDERING that these conditions are no longer all satisfied;

NOTING that in light with the Tribunalís case law, the Accusedís right to choose counsel, as provided for in Article 21 of the Statute is not absolute and must be exercised within the confines of the legal aid system applied by the Tribunal;

NOTING that at this stage of the proceedings, the withdrawal of Mr. Vladan Vukcevic will not have any impact in the allocation of resources to the case or in the Accused's right to a fair trial;

CONSIDERING that the Accused understands that the Registry will not allocate any additional funds as a consequence of the replacement of lead counsel;

NOTING that in accordance with Article 9(D) of the Code of Conduct, Mr. Vladan Vukcevic is obliged to surrender any papers and property to which the client or the Tribunal is entitled;

NOTING that in accordance with Article 13(A) of the Code of Conduct, Mr. Vladan Vukcevic remains subject to a continuing duty of confidentiality of the client's affairs and shall not reveal to any other person, other than to members of his team who need such information for the performance of their duties, information which has been entrusted to him in confidence or use such information to the client's detriment or to his own or another client's advantage;

CONSIDERING that Mr. Knoops is on the Rule 45 list of counsel who are eligible to be considered for an assignment as counsel and is a member of the Association of Defence Counsel;

CONSIDERING FURTHER that Mr. Knoops meets the requirements for assignment as set forth in Article 14 of the Directive;

FINDING that the reasons put forward by the Accused completely satisfy the Registrar that this would constitute withdrawal of counsel "in the interest of justice" under Article 19(A)(i);

CONSIDERING that for the purpose of establishing whether the accused satisfies the requisite conditions for assignment of counsel, the Registrar may inquire into his means and request the gathering of any information or the production of any documents to verify the request;

CONSIDERING that Article 11(B) of the Directive provides that in order to ensure that the right to counsel is not affected while the Registrar examines the declaration of means laid down in Article 7 (B) and (C) and the information obtained pursuant to Article 10, the Registrar may temporarily assign counsel to a suspect or an accused for a period not exceeding 120 days;

NOTING that the Accused submitted his declaration of means on 30 July 2003;

DECIDES to withdraw Mr. Vladan Vukcevic and to assign Mr. Knoops as lead counsel to the Accused for a temporary period of 24 days, which represent the remainder of the 120-day period, effective as of 23 October 2003.

David Tolbert
Deputy Registrar

Dated this Twenty-third day of October 2003
At The Hague
The Netherlands