Case No. IT-01-42-A

IN THE APPEALS CHAMBER

Before:
Judge Wolfgang Schomburg, Pre-Appeal Judge

Registrar:
Mr. Hans Holthuis

Decision of:
9 May 2005

PROSECUTOR

v.

PAVLE STRUGAR

_________________________________________

DECISION ON DEFENCE REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF TIME

_________________________________________

The Office of the Prosecutor:

Mr. Mark J. McKeon

Counsel for Pavle Strugar:

Mr. Goran Rodic
Mr. Vladimir Petrovic

 

I, WOLFGANG SCHOMBURG, a Judge 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");

BEING SEIZED OF the "Defence Request for Variation of Time Limit to File Appellantís Brief", publicly filed by counsel for Pavle Strugar ("Defence") on 25 April 2005 ("Defence Request"), in which the Defence requests an enlargement of time to file an Appellantís brief on 20 July 2005, or 60 days after the filing of the B/C/S translation of the Judgement which has been rendered by Trial Chamber II on 31 January 2005 ("Judgement"), if this translation is completed after 20 May 2005;

NOTING the "Prosecution Response to Defence Request for Variation of Time Limit to File Appellantís Brief", publicly filed by the Office of the Prosecutor ("Prosecution") on 27 April 2005 ("Response"), in which the Prosecution submits that the Defence has failed to demonstrate that an extension of time of 60 days is justified in the circumstances of this case, but consents to an extension of time of 25 days after the receipt of the Judgement in the B/C/S translation;

NOTING that the Defence did not file a reply;

NOTING that the Notices of Appeal of both the Defence and the Prosecution have been filed on 2 March 2005;

NOTING that the Defence states that it has been informed by the Registry that the B/C/S translation of the Judgement is to be filed on 17 May 2005;

CONSIDERING that the Defence argues that (i) Pavle Strugarís ability to instruct his counsel on the Appellantís brief depends on his capability to read the Judgement in a language he understands; (ii) that the appeal in this case will be large and complex; (iii) that a 60 days extension will be enough when bearing in mind Pavle Strugarís age and overall health condition; and (iv) that similar requests for variation of time limits to file an Appellantís brief were granted in many cases before the International Tribunal, inter alia, the Brdjanin case and the Blagojevic and Jokic case;

CONSIDERING that the Prosecution argues in the Response that, inter alia, the Brdjanin case and the Blagojevic and Jokic case are different from the present case in terms of size and complexity and that the Defence can commence drafting the Appellantís Brief before the B/C/S translation of the Judgement becomes available;1

NOTING that Rule 111 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("Rules") provides that "[a]n Appellantís brief setting out all the arguments and authorities shall be filed within seventy-five days of filing of the notice of appeal pursuant to Rule 108";

NOTING that the present deadlines for both the Defence and the Prosecution to file an Appellantís briefs is 17 May 2005;

CONSIDERING that a defence counsel in a case before the International Tribunal is under an obligation to give absolute priority to observe the time limits as foreseen in the Rules;

CONSIDERING that any delay of filing the Appellantís brief will have an avalanche-effect to time limits for the filing of any Respondentís brief and brief in reply, as these are calculated from the date on which the Appellantís brief is filed;

CONSIDERING that the expeditiousness of proceedings forms part of the fundamental principle of fair trial;

CONSIDERING that Rule 127(A) and (B) of the Rules provides, inter alia, that on good cause being shown by motion, any time prescribed by the Rules can be enlarged;

CONSIDERING that it is in the interests of justice to allow Pavle Strugar adequate time to read the Judgement in a language he understands and to consult with counsel before filing his Appellantís brief pursuant to Rule 111 of the Rules and that this constitutes good cause within the meaning of Rule 127(A) of the Rules;2

CONSIDERING that the Defence is perfectly capable of commencing work on the Appellantís brief while the translation of the B/C/S translation of the Judgement is being prepared;3

CONSIDERING that the Defence did not sufficiently demonstrate that the "accusedís age and overall health condition" prevent him from being able to follow the proceedings and to assist counsel in the preparation of the Appellantís brief;

NOTING that the Appeals Chamber has previously held that in a complex case 50 daysí time during which the accused has access to a B/C/S translation of the judgement in a language he understands should be sufficient to enable him to assist his counsel in the preparation of his Appellantís brief;4

CONSIDERING that the alleged complexity of this case is not a factor justifying an extension of the 60 days sought by the Defence, but instead merits an extension of 25 days following Pavle Strugarís receipt of the B/C/S translation of the Judgement;

RECALLING that in the "Decision on Request for Extension of Time", issued on 1 March 2005, the Pre-Appeal Judge has directed the Registrar to inform the Bench about the day on which the translation of the Judgement has been served on the accused in B/C/S;

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS,

PURSUANT TO RULES 127(A) AND RULE 107 OF THE RULES,

GRANT, in part, the Defence Request for variation of time limit to file its Appellantís brief;

ORDER the Defence to file its Appellantís brief, if any, not later than 25 days after the filing of the B/C/S translation of the Judgement;

 

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

Dated this ninth day of May 2005,
at The Hague,
The Netherlands.

__________________
Wolfgang Schomburg
Pre-Appeal Judge

[Seal of the International Tribunal]


1. Response, paras 5-10.
2. Cf. Prosecutor v. Brdjanin, IT-99-36-A, Decision on Motions for Extension of Time, 9 December 2004, p. 3.
3. Cf. Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic, IT-02-60-A, Decision on Vidoje Blagojevicís Motion for Extension of Time in which to file his Notice of Appeal and on Dragan Jokicís Motion for Extension of Time in which to file his Appeal Brief, 14 April 2005, p. 4.
4. Cf. ibid; cf. also Prosecutor v. Brdjanin, IT-99-36-A, Decision on Motions for Extension of Time, 9 December 2004, p. 6 (also citing other Appeals Chamber cases finding that a period of 30 and 40 days, respectively, was justified, p. 4).