1 Wednesday, 19 January 2005
2 [Initial Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 4.32 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
7 Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Case number
9 IT-97-25/1, The Prosecutor versus Savo Todovic.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Mr. Todovic, before we proceed any further, I want to make sure
12 that what is being said is being translated into your own language or in a
13 language which you can understand. Can you confirm that?
14 THE ACCUSED [No interpretation]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. You may sit down.
16 THE ACCUSED [No interpretation]
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Appearances for the Prosecution.
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good afternoon, Your Honour. The Prosecution
19 is represented today by trial attorney Christina Moeller. My name is
20 Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff, I'm the senior trial attorney on this case, and
21 we are accompanied by the case manager Sebastian Van Hooydonk.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, I thank you, madam, and good afternoon to you.
23 Appearances for the Defence.
24 MR. ZECEVIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Slobodan Zecevic for
25 the defendant Mr. Todovic.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good afternoon to you, too.
2 Before we proceed any further, let me give you some information.
3 I will first dwell on a few details related to the indictment and the
4 historical background to these proceedings.
5 On the 29th of November of 2001, following a specific request by
6 Madame Del Ponte, the Prosecutor of this Tribunal, Judge Liu Daqun
7 unsealed an indictment against Savo Todovic and Mitar Rasevic. The latter
8 of these two, that is Mitar Rasevic, was eventually transferred to this
9 Tribunal on the 15th of August of 2003 and is currently awaiting trial in
10 the Detention Unit of this Tribunal.
11 Originally, Savo Todovic and Mitar Rasevic were jointly charged
12 with Milorad Krnojelac in an indictment which was dated 11th of June of
13 1997. On the 15th of June of 1998, SFOR apprehended Krnojelac who was
14 subsequently transferred to this Tribunal to stand trial. Effectively he
15 stood trial, and this Trial Chamber, differently presided and composed, on
16 15th March 2002, sentenced him to 7.5 years' imprisonment. Following an
17 appeal, the Appeals Chamber delivered a judgement on the 17th of
18 September, 2003, and Krnojelac's sentence was effectively increased from
19 7.5 years to 15 years' imprisonment.
20 According to the indictment, and to ensure that filings relating
21 to the accused Rasevic were not confused with those in the ongoing
22 Krnojelac case, the Registrar decided to assign a new case number to the
23 case of Prosecutor versus Savo Todovic and Mitar Rasevic, namely case
24 number IT-97-25/1, which is effectively the reference number that we're
25 using for this case today.
1 The indictment has since been amended with relation to the accused
2 Rasevic but the operative indictment against Savo Todovic remains the
3 original indictment as confirmed by Judge Vohrah way back on the 17th of
4 June of 1997.
5 According to the indictment, on 7th April, 1992, Serb military
6 forces, which included Bosnian Serbs and citizens of Serbian descent from
7 other parts of the former Yugoslavia, began the occupation of Foca town,
8 which was completed on the 16th or 17th of April of that same year. As
9 soon as the Serbian forces controlled parts of the Foca town, military
10 police, accompanied by local and non-local soldiers, started arresting
11 Muslim and other non-Serbian inhabitants. Most, if not all, detainees
12 were civilians, civilians who had not been charged with any crime and were
13 mostly Muslim men from 16 to 80 years of age. This crowd included also
14 mentally handicapped, physically disabled, and seriously ill persons.
15 The Foca Kazneno-Papravni Dom, which will be referred later on as
16 KP Dom, one of the largest prisons in the former Yugoslavia, became the
17 primary detention facility for these men.
18 According to the Prosecution and according to the indictment, you,
19 Savo Todovic, worked in the KP Dom prison from the 4th of January, 1974,
20 until at least October 1994. 1994, not '74. As deputy commander of the
21 KP Dom prison staff from April 1992 until at least August 1993, the
22 Prosecution allege that you were second in command in the prison hierarchy
23 and had similar powers and duties as the camp commander.
24 According to the indictment, you were in charge of selecting
25 detainees for killing, beating, interrogation, forced labour, solitary
1 confinement, and also exchanges. According to the Prosecution, you were
2 also responsible for the punishment of detainees.
3 Finally, the indictment alleges that on numerous evenings, from
4 April until July of 1992, the KP Dom guards used prepared lists to select
5 detainees who were to be beaten, and most evenings you delivered the list
6 to the guards who then took the detainees to the administration building
7 for additional interrogations and beatings.
8 By order of the Vice-president of this Tribunal, dated yesterday,
9 18th January 2005, this case was assigned to Trial Chamber II, of which I
10 am the Presiding Judge. And by a further order of the same date, signed
11 by me, I appointed myself as the Pre-Trial Judge for the purposes and only
12 for the purposes of this initial appearance.
13 There is an important matter that I need to mention here before I
14 proceed any further. I don't know if you are aware of it or not. I would
15 presume that Mr. Zecevic who has been appointed, I know for the purposes
16 of this initial hearing, I would imagine that you are aware of it, but in
17 case you aren't, I'm just informing you of the following: In November,
18 precisely on the 1st of November of last year, the Prosecutor submitted or
19 filed what is known as a Rule 11 bis (A) motion to the President of the
20 Tribunal, requesting that a Trial Chamber be appointed for the purposes of
21 determining if this case should be referred to the authorities in Bosnia
22 and Herzegovina for prosecution in their own courts. The following day,
23 that is the 2nd of November, 2004, the President of this Tribunal,
24 President Meron, appointed a Trial Chamber which will in due course
25 determine this request. The priority, for the time being, lies with that
1 special Chamber to take such a decision, although the Prosecution is
2 required and remains charged with the obligation of implementing its --
3 the disclosure responsibilities that it has according to our Rules.
4 The present Chamber will focus on this case in more detail once a
5 decision by the other Chamber necessitates such course of action. In the
6 meantime, of course, until that matter is decided by the special Tribunal,
7 Status Conferences, if need be, will be summoned and convened according to
8 the Rules.
9 This is for your information, and I am sure that your lawyer, be
10 it Mr. Zecevic or anyone else, for that matter, if someone else comes for
11 the purpose of the pre-trial proceedings, will -- I'm sure will be able to
12 advise you accordingly.
13 I will now proceed with the initial appearance of the accused
14 pursuant to Rule 62 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and then
15 towards the end I will move to the most important formality of this
16 procedure; namely, to formally charge you in terms of the indictment.
17 One of my foremost duties in terms of Rule 62 is to ensure that
18 you are represented, and I notice that you are represented today by
19 Mr. Zecevic. I take it Mr. Zecevic has been appointed by the Registrar.
20 MR. ZECEVIC: That is correct, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And that you were advised accordingly, Mr. Todovic.
22 Do you have anything to say about your being represented today by
23 Mr. Zecevic?
24 THE ACCUSED [No interpretation]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I did not receive interpretation.
1 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I know that Mr. Zecevic
2 has been designated to represent me today.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Later on, I will be giving you an
4 opportunity to enter a plea on the various counts of this indictment, but
5 before I do so and before I come to the crux of the procedure, I would
6 like to put to you some questions.
7 The first question that I would like to put to you is could you
8 please give us your full name and surname.
9 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm Savo Todovic.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, do you have any nicknames? Are you
11 also named -- known by any nicknames?
12 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, I have no nickname.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: What is your date of birth?
14 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I was born on the 11th of December,
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And where were you born?
17 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I was born in the village of
18 Celebici, near Foca.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: And what is the address at which you resided before
20 you were arrested? If you want to give this in private session, we will
21 go into private session and you will give it in private session.
22 Otherwise, you can give it in open session. It's up to you.
23 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I would prefer to do it in private
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Are the immediate members of your family informed
14 about your arrest?
15 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I surrendered
16 voluntarily, and my family knows this. I have not been arrested.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: That's the way you describe it, but the embassy of
18 your country, are you aware whether they have been informed of your
19 surrender and subsequent arrest?
20 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I do not know whether the embassy of
21 my country has been told of my voluntary surrender, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: And the same applies to your transfer and detention
23 in the unit. Your family knows about that, I suppose?
24 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, my family knows I'm
25 here. As for the embassy, I do not know whether they have been informed
1 or not.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you like me as the Pre-Trial Judge to inform
3 anyone, including your embassy, of the fact that you are here facing these
4 procedure -- proceedings?
5 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, there is no need for
7 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honour, if I may be of assistance.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
9 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm aware by talking to Mr. Todovic that the liaison
10 officer for Republika Srpska, Mr. Trivun Jovicic, has met with
11 Mr. Todovic, so I believe that the embassy of his country is informed
12 about it.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I am sure that is the case, Mr. Zecevic. And
14 I am also informed by my staff that essentially the travel transfer
15 arrangements were coordinated with the diplomatic representatives.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: That is correct, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So -- you may sit down, Mr. Todovic.
18 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: The fact of your arraignment here today and your
20 initial appearance entails a number of rights, procedural and substantive
21 rights, that you enjoy both under the Statute of this Tribunal and under
22 the Rules of this Tribunal. These rights are based on the universally
23 recognised and applied basic fundamental Rules of a fair trial in
24 particular, but also rights relating to one's personal freedom.
25 I would like to invite the registrar to read out to you the
1 relevant two articles of our Statute which list out the various rights to
2 which you are entitled, and these rights you have from the beginning until
3 the end of all these proceedings.
4 Registrar, could you please read out Article 20 first.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Article 20: "Commencement and conduct of trial
7 "The Trial Chamber shall ensure that a trial is fair and
8 expeditious and that proceedings are conducted in accordance with the
9 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, with full respect for the rights of the
10 accused and due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses.
11 "A person against whom an indictment has been confirmed shall,
12 pursuant to an order or an arrest warrant of the International Tribunal,
13 be taken into custody, immediately informed of the charges against him,
14 and transferred to the International Tribunal.
15 "The Trial Chamber shall read the indictment, satisfy itself that
16 the rights of the accused are respected, confirm that the accused
17 understands the indictment, and instruct the accused to enter a plea. The
18 Trial Chamber shall then set the date for trial.
19 "The hearing shall be public unless the Trial Chamber decides to
20 close the proceedings in accordance with its Rules of Procedure and
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you please read out Article 21 now.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Article 21: "Rights of the accused.
24 "All persons shall be equal before the International Tribunal.
25 "In the determination of charges against him, the accused shall
1 be entitled to a fair and public hearing, subject to Article 22 of the
3 "The accused shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty
4 according to the provisions of the present Statute.
5 "In the determination of any charge against the accused pursuant
6 to the present Statute, the accused shall be entitled to the following
7 minimum guarantees, in full equality:
8 "To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he
9 understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him;
10 "To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his
11 defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;
12 "To be tried without undue delay;
13 "To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or
14 through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does
15 not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance
16 assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require,
17 and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient
18 means to pay for it;
19 "To exam, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to
20 obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the
21 same conditions as witnesses against him;
22 "To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot
23 understand or speak the language used in the International Tribunal;
24 "Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Registrar.
2 And the first thing I want to know is whether you have understood
3 the import, the extent - you may remain seated, Mr. Todovic - whether you
4 have understood the import, the extent of these rights as read out to you.
5 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: If you require any information or any explanation
7 from me, please let me know.
8 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] There is no need, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: The first thing I obviously need to inquire from you
10 is whether you have been served, whether you have received a copy of the
11 indictment in your own language.
12 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Have you read it?
14 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I have read it but I saw it for the
15 first time two days ago, and the time period is very short, so I haven't
16 really been able to comprehend it in its entirety.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: But are you aware of its contents? Do you know what
18 you are being charged with?
19 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I am going to inform you -- you may sit down.
21 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: -- what you are being charged with, and one of the
23 reasons is because later on I'm going to ask you whether you want to enter
24 a plea to these charges. You have several counts, as I will be
25 explaining. But according to Rule 62(A)(iii), I am bound to inform you
1 that within 30 days of today, you will be called upon to enter either a
2 plea of guilty or a plea of not guilty on each count, but you have also
3 got the option of entering a plea one way or another, today. You also
4 have the right to remain silent on this, in which case obviously the 30
5 day period will come into force and I will call upon you in the course of
6 that period for a plea on your part.
7 Is it your desire to enter a plea today? Because from what you
8 told me, you seem to require a little bit more time to consider your
10 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you may allow me a
11 period of time as provided for by the regulations of this Tribunal, I
12 would like 30 days within which to plead.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: You will have up to 30 days, up to 30 days from
15 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: However, I still feel that I have a responsibility -
17 you may sit down - to go through the procedure as follows: According to
18 the Rules, I'm supposed to read out the entire indictment to you, and that
19 I cannot postpone until another 30 days. You can, however, waive this
20 right, and we can dispose of reading the entire indictment today.
21 What is your position on this?
22 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I waive that right.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So the indictment will not be read. You
24 may sit down. The indictment will not be read, but it is the practice, at
25 least the practice that I have adopted in previous cases, and some of my
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 colleagues, too, that since these are public proceedings, we go through
2 the counts so that the public, that includes also victims, are fully aware
3 of what the accused is being charged with.
4 I already gave some indication, some information, some background
5 information on the facts, on the events which lie at the base of this
6 indictment. There are several counts. Basically there are 18 counts that
7 you are facing, Mr. Todovic.
8 The first count against you is a charge of persecution on
9 political, racial, and/or religious grounds, this being a crime against
11 The second count is a charge of torture, again this being a crime
12 against humanity.
13 There is, then, the third count, which is also a charge of
14 torture, but this time torture is being charged as a grave breach of the
15 Geneva Conventions of 1949.
16 And once more, torture is being charged in the fourth count as a
17 violation of the laws or customs of war.
18 In the fifth count, you are being charged generically of inhumane
19 acts as a crime against humanity.
20 And in the sixth count, you are charged with wilfully causing
21 serious injury to body or health of various persons, this being a grave
22 breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
23 In the seventh count, you are charged with cruel treatment of
24 individuals, this being a violation of the laws or customs of war.
25 And in the eighth count, you are being charged with murder, this
1 being a crime against humanity.
2 In the ninth count, you are charged with wilful killing, this
3 being a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
4 And once more, on the tenth -- in the tenth count, you are charged
5 with murder, this being a violation of the laws or customs of war.
6 In the 11th count, you are charged with imprisonment, this being a
7 crime against humanity.
8 And in the 12th count, you're charged with unlawful confinement of
9 civilians as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
10 In the 13th count, you are charged with inhumane acts as a crime
11 against humanity.
12 And in the 14th count, you are charged with wilfully causing great
13 suffering as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
14 In the 15th count, you are charged with cruel treatment as a
15 violation of the laws and customs of war.
16 And in the 16th count, you are charged with enslavement as a crime
17 against humanity.
18 In the 17th count, you are charged with various instances of
19 inhumane treatment as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
20 And finally, in the 18th count, you are charged with slavery, this
21 being a violation of the laws or customs of war.
22 For the record, the Pre-Trial Judge notes that the accused has
23 asked to be allowed time within the Rules, within Rule 62(A)(iii) to enter
24 a plea on each and every one of these counts, a request that is being
25 acceded to.
1 There are very few things left, and we will go through them one by
3 One of the things that will be done in the next few days is I will
4 appoint a Pre-Trial Chamber which will be dealing with the pre-trial stage
5 of this case parallel with but also in expectation of the decision that
6 will be taken in due course by the special Chamber charged with the
7 decision of -- on the motion presented by the Prosecution under Rule 11
8 bis (A) that I referred to earlier.
9 Either I or the Pre-Trial Judge or Chamber will schedule a Status
10 Conference pursuant to Rule 65 bis (A) of the Rules of Procedure and
11 Evidence, and this will be held within the statutory 120 days starting
12 from today. The purpose of such Status Conference and subsequent ones
13 will be twofold. First is to organise and facilitate the preparation of
14 the trial; and secondly, so that the Pre-Trial Judge will have an
15 opportunity of seeing you in person to ensure that you are being treated
16 well and to also be made aware of any complaints or any requests that you
17 might have. Subsequent Status Conferences will be held within the
18 statutory period following the first one.
19 I will also be instructing the Registrar straight away to start
20 the ball rolling to fix a date for the trial. Of course don't expect the
21 Registrar to be in a position to fix the date of your trial in the very
22 near future, because that depends very much on the progress of the Status
23 Conferences and also of the proceedings pending before the special Chamber
24 dealing with the 11 bis (A) Prosecution motion.
25 While all this is going on, you will be detained in custody, but I
1 am under an obligation to draw your attention to a right that you have to
2 file an application for provisional release. I would refer you to Rule 65
3 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, which deals with this matter with
4 provisional release. There are certain conditions that need to exist
5 before this Tribunal concedes provisional release, and I would address you
6 to that particular provision. I'm sure that your counsel, your lawyer,
7 will be able to assist you in relation.
8 I turn to my left and look at the Prosecution team. It's almost
9 needless, superfluous to remind you, but I do remind you that you have
10 Rule 66 pending on your head, and this imposes you a time limit of 30 days
11 within which to disclose to the Defence, to the accused, in a language
12 that he understands, all the supporting material which accompanied the
13 indictment when confirmation was sought. If you haven't done so, please
14 do so within the statutory time limit. Yes.
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, we are actually in a position to
16 distribute these materials because we have prepared them in advance.
17 However, as it is not clear that Mr. Zecevic will be the permanent
18 counsel, we will retain them with us until we know who is the permanent
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I would imagine you have them already from the
21 Rasevic, so it shouldn't be a problem.
22 Last major point I would like to make: Mr. Todovic and
23 Mr. Zecevic, you and maybe your successor, I address you to Rule 72(A) of
24 our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, pursuant to which you have a 30-day
25 period within which you can file any preliminary motion mentioned in that
1 Rule once you have received all the supporting material in accordance with
2 Rule 66. So the 30-day period for the time being remains in abeyance
3 until the disclosure that I mentioned earlier has been effected, and it
4 will start running from the day service takes place.
5 Mr. Todovic, if it is not your intention to retain Mr. Zecevic,
6 then I encourage you to contact the Registrar through the officers in the
7 Detention Unit to start the ball rolling if you wish some other counsel,
8 some other lawyer to be appointed to represent you.
9 Also, as I tried to explain through the reading of Article 21 by
10 the registrar, you are also entitled to legal aid if you do not have
11 adequate means according to the Rules of this Tribunal within which to
12 provide for your own defence, but that is something that you can take up
13 with the Registrar and in which I will not involve myself here. I'm just
14 advising you of it.
15 I do not have anything else to say, except that I will first refer
16 to you, towards the Prosecution, to see whether you would like to raise
17 any matter at this stage before we adjourn.
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And you, Mr. Todovic, or you,
20 Mr. Zecevic, is there anything, any matter that you would like to raise?
21 MR. ZECEVIC: No, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Todovic?
23 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: But before we conclude, I want to make sure that
25 since your return, you have been treated well by -- since your arrest and
1 up to now, you have been treated well?
2 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, from the moment of my
3 surrender until today, I have been treated in a professional and correct
4 manner and I have no complaints.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have any health matters that you would like
6 to raise? In which case we can also go into private session. Do you need
7 my intervention with the Detention Unit commander on matters relating to
8 any particular needs that you may have? We can go into private session if
9 you need to.
10 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, there is no need. I'm
11 in good health.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Please, Mr. Todovic, the
13 Trial Chamber is always at your disposal should there be any complaints
14 relating to anything. You can address those directly or through your
15 lawyer, and I can assure you that we will give them our utmost attention.
16 We are going to adjourn today. You will appear again before this
17 Trial Chamber within the 30-day period so that we can proceed with your
18 plea, which can be either one of guilty or one of not guilty. You can
19 also remain silent, in which case your silence will be taken as tantamount
20 to a plea of not guilty.
21 The Initial Appearance sitting is adjourned, thank you.
22 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned
23 at 5.17 p.m.