1 Tuesday, 15 August 2006
2 [Status Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 [Accused not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.08 p.m.
6 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Good afternoon, all, ladies and gentlemen. We
7 have this status conference today in the case of the Prosecutor versus
8 Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, number IT-03-69, still pre-trial.
9 And may I have the appearances, please.
10 MR. RE: Good afternoon, Your Honour. For the Prosecution, David
11 Re, accompanied by Mr. Marek Michon, and our acting case manager,
12 Ms. Carmela Javier.
13 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you, Mr. Re.
14 For the Defence?
15 MR. KNOOPS: Good afternoon, Your Honour. For the Defence of
16 Mr. Stanisic, Mr. Geert-Jan Knoops. Thank you.
17 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. My
18 name is Zoran Jovanovic and I am counsel for Franko Simatovic. Thank you.
19 JUDGE HOEPFEL: As the accused both are on provisional release and
20 not present, may I ask you, I don't -- we don't appear to have received
21 any written consent that we can do it in their absence. Mr. Knoops, can
22 you --
23 MR. KNOOPS: Your Honour, the accused Mr. Stanisic is aware of
24 this status conference today and he has no objection that the Defence will
25 address Your Honour, if necessary, on his behalf while he's not present
2 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you. Mr. Jovanovic?
3 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, and the same applies
4 to the accused Simatovic. He is fully aware of the status conference that
5 is taking place today. I believe that he is following it via the
6 internet, and he's also informed about the 65 ter meeting that was held
7 yesterday. And there is no problem for us to hold this status conference
8 because my client is fully aware of it.
9 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Jovanovic.
10 As I am the new Pre-Trial Judge in this case, I was not here at
11 the last status conference, I am just recalling that this was on the 16th
12 of March, 2006, and due to organisational reasons, it had appeared that it
13 was not possible to hold in July again, so with the consent of all
14 parties, we fixed it for today.
15 Here is my proposed agenda for the conference: I first would like
16 to address personal issues of the two accused in private session. Then we
17 would talk about the timing for the next steps in the procedure,
18 especially the pre-trial brief, and then we would ask about the use of
19 evidence according to 92 bis and 89(F). I understand that these issues
20 have been addressed in yesterday's conference and so we will have an easy
21 job, I guess. I would additionally like to address the issue of extension
22 of time for one submission concerning legal aid, in the end. And then we
23 have to agree about the next status conference.
24 So let me first please go into private session.
25 [Private session]
11 Pages 556-557 redacted. Private session
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you very much.
24 So as to the timing of the next steps in this procedure, before
25 going into this question of the pre-trial brief, I would like to raise the
1 question to the Prosecution: When this case about will be ready for
2 trial, to your estimation? What would be your estimate? It certainly
3 will be desirable to start within the coming year. Can we expect that?
4 MR. RE: There are several things tied up in that, Your Honour, as
5 to whether the case is actually physically ready to start the trial. I
6 preface it by saying that even if the case were ready for trial today in
7 the sense that the evidence was all absolutely ready to go, the
8 Prosecution would still need a lead-in time of several months in terms of
9 contacting witnesses and getting trial teams together and organising, so
10 we are never trial ready in the sense that, unless it's something like a
11 very small contempt case, we can actually go straight into court. There
12 is always a lead time which is required.
13 To give you the short answer, I would hope we would be in a
14 position by the end of the year to be in that preliminary stage where we
15 are ready to go to trial.
16 I can give the indications as to what we are doing and why it is
17 taking that, to put it on the record. The trial preparation for this case
18 has some complexities in that of, I think, the 120 or so witnesses on the
19 list at the moment, some 75 have testified in other cases. We've
20 identified there are some 14 cases which overlap this case in one way or
21 another. Some very large ones, such as the Milosevic case and Krajisnik
22 case, and some smaller ones such as the Martic case, Bosanski Samac -
23 that's the Simic case - and so on. What we are doing at the moment, and
24 this is with a fairly small, skeleton staff, because priority has to be
25 given to cases which are listed for trial, in trial, or about to commence,
1 is that we are gathering together in respect of all the witnesses, all the
2 evidence from all of the trials, and we are trying to identify what we can
3 -- how we can best present the evidence to the Trial Chamber when the
4 time comes.
5 Our primary method of preparation at the moment is that we are
6 trying to prepare draft Rule 89(F) statements for every witness who we
7 would intend to call, and we are doing it in this way so that we can lay
8 out bear on the table, so to speak, everything we have. That is, we want
9 to put everything into a package, witness package for every witness. It
10 doesn't mean the witness, of course, will be called pursuant to Rule
11 89(F), it just means that we will be ready to go and, if necessary, the
12 89(F) package will be ready with every witness.
13 As Your Honour will appreciate, this process takes some time. We
14 have to gather all the evidence from each of the cases, all the exhibits
15 and so on, then we have to put them in a package and then we have to go
16 back to the witness and have them approve it. Once we have done that, we
17 will of course then present it to the Defence, and in two versions, one
18 footnoted to where the evidence is coming from, that is the prior
19 testimony, examination-in-chief, cross-examination, statements, evidence,
20 intercepts, wherever, exhibits, and then we will be ready to go. In that
21 sense, we will have our evidence in a comprehensive package.
22 The other complexity which we have set out in our filings earlier
23 when we sought, moved the Trial Chamber to delay the pre-trial brief, the
24 ordering of a consolidated pre-trial brief, is the question of archive
25 searches and the availability of material to the Prosecution which has
1 hitherto been unavailable. Material which, Prosecution has frankly set
2 out in its motion, was hidden from us by authorities in the former
3 Yugoslavia and it's become available to us only in the last few months,
4 and as you will appreciate, it takes a lot of time to prepare missions to
5 go to these archives, to search through them, to identify things on the
6 index, to identify relevant material, to analyse it and, if necessary,
7 translate it and disclose it.
8 So when you put all those things together, that is the lack of
9 priority with this case at the moment, the task of preparing witnesses and
10 exhibits because of the overlapping nature of this particular case and the
11 archive searches, it will take at least, I would think, four, five, six
12 months before we are in a position to say we are ready to go for trial. I
13 know it's a long way of saying it, but does that information assist the
14 Trial Chamber?
15 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. Indeed. That is very helpful. Your
16 strategy of linking these other sources up is very different. Testimonies
17 of other cases is really -- makes sense in any case.
18 As you discussed yesterday in your preparatory meeting, I think
19 there arose one issue which also shows how complicated things are, and
20 this is the testimony of Mr. Babic. You also were referring to that
21 yesterday. And here I just in general wanted to refer you to the decision
22 of Trial Chamber I concerning the use of this evidence, and this is now
23 subject to an interlocutory appeal to be filed by Mr. Milan Martic's
24 Defence, so I admit in any case it would make sense, or I would find this
25 advisable to wait with the pre-trial brief until the Appeals Chamber comes
1 up with a decision, with an interlocutory decision about this question of
2 exclusion of the Babic-related evidence. So this point I wanted to make
3 to assure you that you have time and it will make sense, it will
4 streamline the case even probably if we wait. But on the other hand I
5 wanted to make that point that we would like to see some tentative
6 schedule, like at the next status conference I would imagine we could be
7 more concrete then, I hope.
8 MR. RE: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE HOEPFEL: You understand me?
10 MR. RE: I understand you perfectly. I did neglect to mention the
11 matter of Milan Babic before. That's another complexity, as is the death
12 of a protected witness recently. So we've had two witnesses who provided
13 some fairly key evidence in this trial who are no longer available, and we
14 are also in the process of identifying whether the evidence they would
15 have given is available in-house or in the testimony or statements of
16 other witnesses who are on our list at the moment, or whether we have to
17 look outside for that. There is of course also the issue of the use we
18 could make under Rule 92 bis of Mr. Babic's testimony, given that he was
19 cross-examined up until a point on his death, and we certainly take your
21 But what I say is that the approach we are trying to take is to
22 get everything together in such a way that we have focused the issues down
23 to a point where everybody is completely aware of where we are coming
24 from, and hopefully we can reduce the number of witnesses we actually
25 call. If we spend more time in pre-trial getting it right, hopefully we
1 will cut down significantly on what happens when they actually come into
2 the courtroom.
3 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you very much. That would be really
4 valuable if the pre-trial stage would be used in that way to prepare the
5 trial. So thank you.
6 As for the Defence, would you like to react on that issues,
7 Mr. Knoops?
8 MR. KNOOPS: Thank you, Your Honour. No objections to the
9 comments. Thank you.
10 JUDGE HOEPFEL: And Mr. Jovanovic?
11 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, no, there is nothing
12 to say. I initiated a meeting in May with the Prosecutor's Office in
13 order to discuss the issue of the witness Babic, because a lot of the
14 pre-trial brief; i.e., many of the things in the pre-trial brief,
15 allegations, are based on this testimony. And also the submission
16 according to Rule 65 ter has been drafted in the following way. The
17 statements of the witnesses have been printed in two ways and one of the
18 ways points to the intention of the Prosecutor to admit part of the
19 statements that should be accepted according to Rule 92 bis. Since this
20 witness died, we have a problem, and that's why I wanted to learn the
21 position of the Prosecutor on this issue. And as you have just stated,
22 the decision of the Appeals Chamber in the Martic case will be very
23 significant. In that case, Milan Babic was examined viva voce in the
24 courtroom and the only thing that remained to be done was
25 cross-examination, and in that case, the situation is somewhat different
1 than we would have had. In any case, when the Prosecutor's Office comes
2 up with the final position, I hope they will let us know what that
3 position is and then we will be somewhat the wiser.
4 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Jovanovic. You're right, the
5 cross-examination could not be completed in the Martic case,
6 cross-examination of Mr. Babic. That was the problem. Thank you.
7 So as for the purely procedural issues, there seems nothing to be
8 wished right now to discuss. I think for next time, we will also -- today
9 may be too early -- discuss how we can get on with the agreed facts, but
10 that also is interlinked with the issues we decided before or we discussed
11 before. Yes.
12 So to these issues there is nothing else from your sides, from
13 both sides? Then I would like to go back and again in private session,
15 [Private session]
11 Page 565 redacted. Private session
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you.
8 As we are back in open session, we can now continue to discuss the
9 issue of a moderation of the conditions of provisional release of
10 Mr. Stanisic. There is a motion pending, which was, is, relating to a
11 time period which is already over, but I would imagine that if it would
12 change that motion to a certain future time period, which is appropriate,
13 which makes sense for the accused, Mr. Stanisic, and for his family, for
14 his father especially, then I would like you to ask to come forward with
15 such a new motion, which renders it unnecessary for us to decide about the
16 old motion. If you can do that in that form, and provide us with some
17 technical assistance regarding security measures, there are certain
18 conditions for Mr. Stanisic to report to police on a daily basis within
19 Belgrade, and now he would like to travel to this village, or it's a town,
20 I suppose, Backa Palanka, in Vojvodina, where also a police station of
21 course, I suppose, is, and then if you would come forward with some
22 specific guarantees from the Serbian government, without me being in the
23 position now to guarantee what the Chamber will decide, it would
24 definitely be helpful for the Chamber. Please, Mr. Knoops.
25 MR. KNOOPS: Yes, Your Honour. Your Honour, just for my
1 clarification, is it Your Honour's standpoint that the Defence has to seek
2 new or additional guarantees to ensure this specific visit? In other
3 words, is it Your Honour's view that the current guarantees do not cover
4 this specific situation? As Your Honour may be aware, we addressed this
5 issue yesterday during the Rule 65 ter conference and it's the
6 Prosecution's stance that indeed new guarantees are required. Yesterday,
7 we pointed to the difference between the Igalo office, so to say on the
8 one hand and the visit we are seeking for on the other hand, namely a
9 visit to the father of the accused and his mother's grave 65 kilometres
10 outside the municipality boundaries of Belgrade, and it's our view that
11 the current guarantees cover not only the whole territory of
12 Serbia/Montenegro but also the situation at hand. Of course, if it's Your
13 Honour's view that we have to request for additional guarantees through
14 the national council, the Defence is willing to do so but it will simply
15 take quite some time to get these additional guarantees and it's more for
16 us a matter of efficiency to raise it during this status conference.
17 As to the refiling of the motion, that will be no problem. We can
18 refile the motion and suggest another timetable for the prospective visit
19 we are seeking for.
20 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you very much. But this organisational
21 aspect is really rather complicated probably, and therefore, you should
22 try to find a flexible form but in a short notice form. The Ministry of
23 the Interior or of Justice would be then asked by you to reply, to give us
24 some feedback concerning this specific plan to travel there. So they
25 should know that, I suppose, otherwise Mr. Stanisic cannot easily go to a
1 police station and say, "Here I am and please give me this confirmation
2 and so on." So that has to be organised anyway. I don't want to make it
3 too complicated but --
4 MR. KNOOPS: Your Honour, if I may.
5 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Please.
6 MR. KNOOPS: If it's Your Honour's intention or at least stance
7 that a letter of the government could suffice, indicating that the same
8 measures will be in place such as security measures which are currently in
9 place to ensure this visit, instead of asking specific official guarantee,
10 a letter of the government saying that they are aware of this intended
11 visit and are willing to supervise that visit would be sufficient in Your
12 Honour's view?
13 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Yes, indeed. I would find this sufficient. Such
14 a letter would be fine.
15 MR. KNOOPS: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE HOEPFEL: That would be very helpful.
17 MR. KNOOPS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Thank you very much. And I didn't check the
19 geographical distance between the municipal border of Belgrade and the
20 town of Backa Palanka, but thank you for this information. The route from
21 Belgrade to the town of Backa Palanka is about 120 kilometres, and that is
22 not the point. I mean, it's more the internal organisation between the
23 police stations wherever they are located.
24 Thank you very much indeed for this cooperation, Mr. Knoops,
25 without me being able, as I said, to guarantee what the Chamber will
2 Then let me go to the last point in my list. This is -- yesterday
3 a new motion was submitted by Stanisic's Defence concerning a request for
4 more time to respond to the Registrar's indigency decision. The B/C/S
5 translation of the latter decision was handed to the -- to you, to the
6 Stanisic Defence, on the 3rd of August only, and on the other hand, you
7 request two months' time counting from this 3rd of August; am I right? So
8 this extension would be in the discretion of the Chamber respectively, in
9 my discretion as a Pre-Trial Judge according to Rule 127, and so I could
10 rule orally on this matter if the parties agree. Actually, the Prosecutor
11 made already clear that they don't have to comment on that in any way.
12 May I ask you.
13 MR. RE: To make it abundantly clear, the Prosecution takes no
14 view, or it does not intend to take any part in the deliberations relating
15 to legal aid for Mr. Stanisic.
16 JUDGE HOEPFEL: All right. Thank you.
17 So Mr. Stanisic -- Mr. Knoops, of course, I beg your pardon. I
18 have the question, if this would be fine for you, if I would give you an
19 extension for six weeks altogether, counted from the 3rd of August, could
20 you see yourself reach that deadline?
21 MR. KNOOPS: Your Honour, that would be manageable for the
23 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Very good. So it is ruled. The time period is
24 then extended to six weeks from the 3rd of August to respond to the
25 Registrar's indigency decision.
1 Thank you very much.
2 I think this is it. If nothing else is being raised by any of the
3 parties, I would conclude now this status conference. The two accused
4 will remain on this provisional release. We keep receiving these letters
5 from the Republic of Serbia, as the last one from the 27th of July, about
6 the two accused complying with these orders and conditions laid down in
7 the decisions of the Trial Chamber.
8 And so the next status conference will have to take place,
9 according to Rule 65 bis, in 120 days from today, and for the details, you
10 will hear from us, and if anything comes up for this conference, feel free
11 to communicate this to me.
12 Thank you very much. This is closed now, the session is closed.
13 Thank you.
14 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned
15 at 3.48 p.m.