1 Thursday, 14 March 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [Defence Closing Statement]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.31 p.m.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-98-32-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Mitar Vasiljevic.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
10 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 [Interpretation] Your Honours, before I give you my final
12 conclusions, I shall touch briefly upon several issues which have been the
13 subject of the closing arguments of the Prosecution and therefore I was
14 unable to deal with them in the Defence final trial brief, so I will draw
15 attention only to a few points which I consider to be important, where
16 there are discrepancies between what the Prosecution has concluded as to
17 some exhibits and the Defence viewpoint of these. I shall deal with this
18 very quickly, I hope, and then I will go on to give you my final
19 conclusions, which I did not manage to do last Friday.
20 One of the issues raised by the Prosecution in their closing
21 arguments was that a person named Susnjar was, together with the accused,
22 Mitar Vasiljevic, in Prelovo, and that this person is one of those
23 suspected of having taken part, with Milan Lukic, in some criminal
24 offences. In my submission, the evidence that has been adduced and the
25 examination of all the witnesses who were in Prelovo at the time and who
1 remained in Prelovo after Mitar Vasiljevic's departure shows clearly that
2 the person whose last name is Susnjar has a different first name from the
3 first name mentioned in some witness testimonies. This person remained in
4 Prelovo after Mitar Vasiljevic's departure, so he wasn't there at the same
6 If this indeed is the same person at all as the person mentioned
7 by some OTP witnesses, I believe that this has not been determined,
8 established beyond doubt.
9 Another point raised by Mr. Groome in his closing arguments and
10 something that Mitar Vasiljevic is blamed for is connected with the bottle
11 of brandy from which he and Mujo Halilovic drank on the 14th of June in
12 Pionirska Street. With reference to the statement given to the
13 Prosecution in which he allegedly said that Mujo had bought the bottle of
14 brandy. I remember that during the cross-examination of Mitar Vasiljevic,
15 he stated that if he did say something like this, he apologised and he had
16 made an error, but that he thought he hadn't said anything like that and
17 there are two parts of his interview with the investigators from which it
18 does not follow that Mujo went to get the brandy, although in my
19 submission, this is not of crucial importance, especially if we bear in
20 mind that Witness VG87 saw Mitar Vasiljevic with a bottle of brandy and it
21 was certainly the same bottle before this group arrived and before he met
22 Mujo Halilovic at all.
23 With respect to the testimony of Witness VG117, who was examined
24 in the rebuttal, I explained in detail why, in my view, this testimony is
25 not reliable and why it should not be believed.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, we don't want to hear it again. We have
2 got it in writing and you referred to it the other day. Please, let's get
3 on to material which is new.
4 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour. [Interpretation] Just one
5 sentence that Mr. Groome said in his closing arguments that's all I want
6 to comment on. And he said that the witness said nothing bad about Mitar
7 Vasiljevic on that day, that was said in Mr. Groome's closing arguments to
8 support the claim that although the witness did not say anything bad about
9 Mitar Vasiljevic, this means she should be believed. It's true that she
10 said nothing bad except that she saw him on that day, but one should bear
11 in mind whether anyone made a list at all and if it was Mitar or someone
12 else who was not a representative of the Red Cross who did this, why
13 wasn't it someone from the Red Cross? Because the witness did not say
14 that anybody else at any other time made lists, and we all know that Mitar
15 Vasiljevic, as he himself said, never worked for the Red Cross.
16 However, I shall not dwell on this.
17 As regard the evaluation of Witness VG79 who spoke about the
18 Drina River incident, Mr. Groome in his closing arguments evaluating what
19 Mitar Vasiljevic said to the investigators when he spoke of what he knew
20 about this, said that knowing about the testimony of VG79, he adjusted his
21 testimony to fit in with this. However, and I remember this happened at a
22 later date, it can easily be established that this witness, VG79, gave his
23 first statement on the 19th of January, 2001, while Mitar Vasiljevic made
24 his statement to the investigator in November 2000. So even -- so it's
25 not possible that he even knew about the existence of this witness whose
1 statement was made to the Defence -- to the OTP much later.
2 And finally, let me say a few words about a matter that has been
3 discussed extensively here, but I think I have not mentioned it in my
4 closing arguments and that is the red arm band which some Defence
5 witnesses said reminded them of an arm band worn by member of the Red
6 Cross. In view of the fact that Mitar Vasiljevic's wearing of this arm
7 band has turned out to be an important point in this trial, I wish to
8 present a brief evaluation of this fact as follows: In the milieu in
9 which he lived, it was quite usual for arm bands of this type to be worn
10 by anyone who was in charge of any sort of law and order, including
11 orderlies, people in charge of keeping order at rallies, gatherings and so
12 on, so it may have been reminiscent of a Red Cross arm band but it was in
13 fact an ordinary arm band showing that he had some sort of duty that he
14 was an orderly.
15 When I spoke of the medical evidence, one of the exhibits, P138,
16 and that is the medical history from the Uzice hospital, was a subject of
17 much discussion because there were some deficiencies in that document,
18 such as the failure to fill in one of the columns on the front page, the
19 column where the date and time of injury is entered. I have spoken about
20 this already so I will not go into it today.
21 Also, the doctor who admitted Mitar Vasiljevic did not enter the
22 fact that his injury was due to a fall from a horse, but rather that he
23 was injured on the battlefield. This has also been explained in detail
24 and I will now only briefly ask you, when you look at this evidence, and
25 evaluate the authenticity of this documentation, to pay special attention
1 to Exhibit D52, which is the expert opinion of the institute of forensics,
2 which was compiled at the request of the Office of the Prosecutor, from
3 which it follows clearly, and is evident, which typewriters were used to
4 fill in which columns and which show quite clearly that the typewriter
5 used in the psychiatric ward really was the one used on all four pages of
6 this medical history, only in those columns or places where a doctor in
7 the psychiatric ward could have entered a diagnosis. The same goes for
8 the orthopaedic ward, where two different typewriters were used, and the
9 one that was used to fill in the first part of the case history was filled
10 in at the time of admission and has different characteristics again, as
11 established by these experts. In my view, this is a clear -- this is
12 clear proof of authenticity and the deficiencies to which attention has
13 been drawn by the Prosecution indicate that this really is an authentic
14 document, because had somebody wanted and had someone been able to forge
15 such a document, they would certainly have filled in all the columns and
16 mentioned the fall from the horse, as well as the date and time of the
17 injury on the front page. Because then that sort of document would have
18 been useful as evidence. This is obviously an authentic document which
19 has deficiencies which have been explained by the witnesses.
20 I omitted, when discussing the testimony of VG79, to ask Exhibit
21 D1 to be shown on the video or rather on the ELMO, and this is a sketch
22 made by the witness in his own hand, which is part of the evidence. I
23 wish to ask now for this to be shown in private session, because the
24 document is under seal.
25 JUDGE HUNT: We have copies of it, though.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
2 JUDGE HUNT: All right. We will show it on the ELMO, but it
3 should not be part of the public broadcast.
4 Mr. Domazet this is going to cause terrible problems. We have to
5 pull all the blinds down. Can't we just look at our copies of it?
6 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE HUNT: You tell us what you want us to see in it.
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I merely wanted us to
9 see clearly from the copies which are otherwise available that the
10 witness, unlike VG32, never drew any fourth person on the side of those
11 who had come with the seven civilians whose number is not in dispute.
12 I think that this exhibit best shows that the fourth individual,
13 and I provided my explanation both in the brief and during my closing
14 arguments, that is that the fourth individual which was not seen by the
15 witness and consequently not drawn by the witness, was Mitar Vasiljevic.
16 And one last issue that I should like to comment upon from the closing
17 arguments by my learned colleague, Mr. Groome. He clearly stated that he
18 did not believe that Mitar Vasiljevic went to fetch the horse that day at
19 all, that he rode the horse and that he injured himself while riding the
20 horse, and he gave us an example saying that it was on that afternoon that
21 Mujo Halilovic offered two cows to Mitar Vasiljevic for him to keep and
22 look after because he was leaving and he was leaving the cattle behind,
23 and an as Mitar Vasiljevic himself said, he refused it because he was not
24 in a position to do so. So that must have been the argument to support
25 Mr. Groome's claim that the horse in Mitar Vasiljevic's story is a pure
1 fabrication. Let me respond to this briefly. And also address the reason
2 why Mitar Vasiljevic went to fetch this horse, which according to the
3 information that he had was tied, which means that this horse would have
4 remained there and probably would not have survived if nobody had come to
5 look after it.
6 I believe I have already stated that in view of the fact that he
7 was very fond of horses and riding in general, he probably thought of
8 keeping the horse for himself for a while, but be that as it may, the
9 truth is that he went to fetch the horse and that he rode the horse. As
10 for the cows that he refused, even if he could have them for free, it is
11 this particular fact that shows that Mitar Vasiljevic was not the kind of
12 man who would have taken anybody else's property, and that never in any
13 situation, even with the Prosecution witnesses, no mention was made -- no
14 allegation was made of Mitar Vasiljevic's attempting to plunder anyone
15 during the times when such practice was common. This is clear from the
16 brief and throughout the war up until his arrest, Mitar Vasiljevic was
17 diligently working on his house. He was trying to finish building it and
18 he was able to do so only thanks to the fact that he had rented his other
19 house to the SFOR soldiers. He stated that his conduct, that is not only
20 was this house on his name, which means that he was never in any kind of
21 hiding from SFOR soldiers, he simply didn't believe that any proceedings
22 were being conducted against him, not even in respect of the Drina River
23 incident, because it was known that there were two survivors of the
25 The fact that he never changed his address and that he remained
1 living on this address in this same house next to the house which he had
2 rented shows that he never had any intention to flee, and that if there
3 had not been for the sealed nature of the indictment, I'm sure that he
4 would have surrendered on his own, that is had he known that he had been
5 indicted by the Tribunal.
6 At the end, let me just give you my very brief conclusion, which
7 is to a certain extent contained in my brief. I believe, Your Honours,
8 that after all we have heard here and in view of the Defence's closing
9 brief at the end of this final submission, I can say for myself, for my
10 part, that I too expect justice to be done, just as Mr. Groome stated, but
11 it has to be justice based on well-established facts and proofs
12 established during the proceedings. I believe that it cannot be
13 established beyond reasonable doubt that Mitar Vasiljevic did anything
14 whatsoever from the 14th of June, 1992, from the afternoon hours onwards,
15 up until the end of July, 1992, that is, until the relevant times as
16 stated in the amended indictment, with which period he is charged by the
17 Prosecution because it was during that period of time that he was in
18 hospital in Uzice in Serbia where he was undergoing treatment for his
19 injury. His last contact with the people of Visegrad before his injury
20 took place in the early afternoon hours on the 14th of June, 1992, when,
21 in Pionirska Street, he drank and had a conversation with his old friend
22 and acquaintance, Mujo Halilovic from the village of Sase after which he
23 went to fetch a horse, took the horse and rode it to the centre of town,
24 where he fell off the horse and injured himself. He was not in a position
25 to contact anyone prior to that, anyone and let alone Milan Lukic and his
1 men, as he's suspected of doing, without any justification, his conduct on
2 that afternoon, which was the subject of much discussion during the
3 evaluation of the evidence in the arguments, is under serious doubt. The
4 allegations are simply mere assumptions and can by no means constitute
5 proof beyond reasonable doubt that Mitar Vasiljevic had the necessary
6 intent to commit any crime or that he had planned any such crime, aided
7 and abetted in any such crime or had any knowledge whatsoever regarding
8 the intent of other individuals to commit such a crime.
9 It is the opinion of the Defence, Your Honours, and I believe that
10 we all share the same opinion, that there is no greater injustice than
11 conviction of an innocent man, especially for a serious criminal offence
12 for which the Prosecution has asked for life. There is a well-known legal
13 adage that it is better to acquit 100 guilty individuals than to convict
14 one innocent man. Your Honours, I'm not asking you to acquit the wrong
15 man here. I'm asking you to acquit an innocent man, the man who is
16 innocent of this serious crime. And I agree with the qualification of the
17 crime with the Prosecution in this sense, but I do not believe that there
18 is proof beyond reasonable doubt that Mitar Vasiljevic is either a direct
19 perpetrator or an accessory in any way in this crime.
20 The problem being the fact that the main culprits or the main
21 culprit have not been brought to justice to this date. However, this fact
22 can by no means constitute the reason for Mitar Vasiljevic to be convicted
23 of this crime.
24 As for the other event, which was commonly referred to during
25 these proceedings as the Drina River incident, and which took place on the
1 7th of June, 1992, which was attended by Mitar Vasiljevic, the Defence has
2 provided special explanation and assessment of evidence led in respect of
3 this incident. We believe that it has noted been established beyond
4 reasonable doubt that Mitar Vasiljevic planned or participated in the
5 murder of five civilians on the bank of the Drina River or that he had
6 such an intent, and it is also not established that he had a weapon on
7 that day. Therefore he was not in a position to prevent Milan Lukic and
8 his two armed soldiers from committing the crime, and his presence at the
9 event cannot be characterised as criminal conduct, as a crime.
10 Your Honour, I believe that the crimes charged in the amended
11 indictment against Mitar Vasiljevic have not been proved, that is that the
12 standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt has not been met, in respect of
13 the accused Mitar Vasiljevic, and I ask you, Your Honours, to acquit Mitar
15 Allow me one last remark. In view of the fact that the trial
16 itself has finished, I am not in the position to present any evidence.
17 However, in the fax the other day, I sent this information to Mr. Groome
18 because I thought that he would be in a position to verify this evidence,
19 I sent him the birth certificate and the police file for the identity card
20 for the individual by the name of Sredoje Gogic, who was born on the 5th
21 of February, 1927 in Blace near Visegrad, whose citizen's number that can
22 be seen in the file is fully consistent with the individual who is entered
23 in the Visegrad ledger for the 14th of June, because that was the only
24 spot that Mr. Groome identified as disputable while discussing the
25 alterations, the corrections made on the name of Lukic, whereas the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 surname in question is actually Gogic.
2 The information that I sent in this respect is fully consistent
3 with our submission. As far as I was able to understand Mr. Groome, he
4 has indeed received this information but has not been able to verify it.
5 I think, Your Honours, this is one more proof for the authenticity of the
6 documentation that we discussed, which is of a crucial importance for the
7 assessment of the alibi defence for the accused Mitar Vasiljevic.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Groome, what do you suggest we should do about
9 this? I know that the fact that the ledger was changed was itself
10 relevant to Dr. Vasiljevic's evidence, who said nothing was ever changed
11 but whether this takes either case any further, I don't really understand.
12 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I'm not sure that it does either. It
13 certainly is a different name than the name that Dr. Radomir Vasiljevic
14 said was the name, Gogic was not the name -- I forget the precise name --
15 but it's not the same name but the Prosecution will not oppose should the
16 Chamber wish to receive it as evidence at this late stage and consider it.
17 The Prosecution will certainly not oppose the Chamber's desire to do
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE HUNT: Well, now, have you got the certificate there,
21 Mr. Domazet?
22 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE HUNT: What number are we up to? I haven't got my list of
25 THE REGISTRAR: D54.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you, very well. That will be Exhibit D54.
2 MR. DOMAZET: Your Honour, it's two documents; 54 and 55?
3 JUDGE HUNT: 54 will cover both of them if it's a certificate of
4 birth and a citizenship number, I think you said. Yes. What next?
5 MR. DOMAZET: Nothing more, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Domazet the Prosecution has addressed us on
7 the question of sentence. There will be no further hearing in the event
8 there is a conviction, there will be no further opportunity for you to
9 make suggestions or submissions, if you wish to, in relation to the
10 question of sentence. I know there is some difficulty in that. It's not
11 a procedure with which I'm familiar, but it's certainly the procedure that
12 the Tribunal has laid down. It's been pointed out to me that these
13 documents are in B/C/S only but I suppose all you're interested in is the
14 name and the date of birth.
15 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Now, do you want to say something about sentence?
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe I have made
18 submissions with respect to that in my closing brief, and I'm aware of the
19 obligation to address the issue from the relevant Rules, although it is
20 quite difficult for me to do so in view of the position of the Defence who
21 believe that the accused, Mitar Vasiljevic, is not the -- one of the
22 perpetrators of the crime committed in Pionirska Street in view of his
23 alibi. He was simply not physically in a position to do that. As for the
24 other crime, we don't believe that he made any contribution by any of his
25 acts, to the commission of this crime. So it is very difficult for me to
1 speak about the sentences, in view of that. However, should you convict
2 him in respect of any of these crimes, let me just say that one should
3 bear in mind the circumstances applicable to similar cases in the former
4 Yugoslavia, and which are still, according to the present state of the
5 law, considered as mitigating circumstances in similar cases. Let me
6 point out just several of them, which I believe should be taken into
7 account. And that is his personal situation, him as a family man, his
8 demeanour before the Court. I have spoken about this to a certain extent
9 but let me repeat that I do believe that Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic has
10 cooperated with the Prosecution, also by having accepted to give an
11 interview to the OTP before the start of the trial, also because I think
12 that he was very correct in his conduct in the courtroom, that he didn't
13 in any way interfere with the proceedings, even in some difficult
14 situations with respect of some of the requests made by the Prosecution.
15 He has always shown his willingness to solve such problems as best as
16 possible, and it was thanks to his position that some of these problems
17 were resolved.
18 Let me also remind you of his life and conduct prior to the
19 arrest, which should also be taken into account, and also -- but this is
20 something that has been in dispute in these proceedings, that is whether
21 he was -- whether his mental responsibility was diminished or severely
22 diminished, since this is a fact which was always considered as a
23 mitigating circumstance in the former Yugoslavia, and is still considered
24 as such in the present relevant statutory provisions when assessing --
25 when determining the sentence for the accused.
1 I will not now speak of other circumstances that have to do with
2 the commission of the crimes because I truly believe that it has not been
3 proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was a perpetrator of these, so I
4 cannot speak of circumstances that should be taken as mitigating, so I
5 will only conclude with the ones I have already mentioned. If there are
6 any questions Your Honours wish to ask about this, I will of course be
7 happy to answer.
8 JUDGE HUNT: Well, Mr. Domazet, your reference there to the
9 cooperation in which your client has shown by his response to requests
10 made by the Prosecution, and your comment that it was thanks to his
11 position that some of these problems were resolved, is that a reference to
12 the problem with the presence of your co-counsel at one stage of the
13 trial? I just want to make it clear what it is you're referring to.
14 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
15 JUDGE HUNT: Now, what -- to what issue do you say that the
16 historical facts that you've referred to in great detail in your written
17 submissions are relevant?
18 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have dealt with them
19 in detail because the Prosecution devoted a good deal of attention,
20 including witness testimonies and other materials connected with this,
21 although I personally do not feel that this is pertinent to Mitar
22 Vasiljevic, since he was neither a politician nor a leading figure, so he
23 had no special role in what was happening in the time leading up to and
24 during the conflict in Visegrad. I tried to draw attention to what was
25 happening before the arrival of the Uzice Corps, when, according to the
1 evidence I had at my disposal, it was the Serbs who were leaving Visegrad
2 because of the situation that was prevalent then. This situation later
3 changed and unfortunately, we know how and in what manner all this ended.
4 It ended in a way that led to almost no Muslims being left in Visegrad.
5 In my view, Mitar Vasiljevic took no part in either political
6 events or any other public events at the time, which would warrant the
7 producing of more evidence, more than we actually have done during the
9 JUDGE HUNT: Leaving to one side what you told us had happened
10 during the Second World War, let's come up to date a little bit. You gave
11 us great detail through the witness of that -- the evidence of a
12 particular witness you called, about the Serbs being the victims of an
13 attack upon them. Now, what is the relevance of that to anything we have
14 to determine here? It's a matter which we raised in the Pre-Trial
15 Conference and I still haven't got a sensible answer, I'm afraid, as to
16 what its relevance is, other than the fact that it demonstrates that what
17 the Serbs are alleged to have done to the Muslims was by way of
18 retaliation, which hardly help your client's case.
19 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I agree, in Mitar
20 Vasiljevic's case, this is not relevant.
21 JUDGE HUNT: Why did you lead the evidence? It seems to be part
22 of some overall instruction given to all Serb counsel to tell us what
23 happened in 1285 or whenever it was, and to push as much of the history
24 into the case as possible. I have never been given an answer which
25 demonstrates how it is relevant.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I can
2 remember, I did not go that far back into history. It's true that the
3 witness I brought in did speak about World War II and was cautioned by you
4 because of this. I was referring to the period in late 1990 and early
5 1991, the time of the first multi-party elections in Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, because that was the period when these disagreements among
7 the ethnic groups began. I'm referring to the three ethnic groups in
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina. But I still say that in Mitar Vasiljevic's case,
9 in my view, this really is not relevant.
10 The reason I produced this evidence, and you may be right when you
11 say that all Serb lawyers deal with this, I believe that if there are any
12 future cases dealing with Visegrad and the surrounding area, we don't want
13 it to appear that the Defence has taken no position on this and that in
14 future cases, where this may be relevant, we don't want to be seen as
15 having omitted to say this. If I may say, it always appeared that all the
16 guilt was on one side, on the Serbian side, although I never myself
17 measured the degree of guilt, but simply tried to produce some evidence
18 which I was able to obtain, including written documents and witness
19 testimonies, to show what had been happening in Visegrad for about two
20 years before the outbreak of the tragic conflicts that have been our topic
21 of discussion here.
22 JUDGE HUNT: Well, let's assume for the purposes of this argument
23 that it was the Muslims who erected the first roadblock and it was a Serb
24 who was the first person who was killed and all of the other particular
25 matters to which reference was made in that evidence. Is there any
1 dispute in this case that there was an attack upon the non-Serb, civilian
2 population, whether it happened at the same time, before or after those
3 other events?
4 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. There is no
5 dispute in my view that this happened.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. Now, there is one particular document I
7 would like to ask you about. It was the certificate from the observatory
8 that you produced. That told us that sunset in Visegrad on the 14th of
9 June, 1992, was at 2024, and at Uzice, it was at 2025. Do you remember
11 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I do remember.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Now, there is a problem that I see with this which
13 may go to the reliability of the document but I would like to hear what
14 you want to say about it. According to the maps that I have seen, Uzice
15 is only slightly to the north of Visegrad, if you take lines through the
16 two towns. Would you agree with that?
17 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, I would not agree.
18 Uzice is to the east. I think there is very little difference, if we look
19 at the north-south direction, but Uzice is 70 kilometres to the east of
20 Visegrad, not to the north, and that is why I think this difference arose.
21 JUDGE HUNT: That is my very point. If we talk about latitude,
22 there is very little difference between them. Would you agree with that?
23 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Let's take longitude. Certainly as you've pointed
25 out, Uzice is to the east of Visegrad. Now, I don't think we'd need any
1 evidence to be satisfied that the sun rises in the east and sets in the
2 west. That's so, is it not?
3 MR. DOMAZET: Yes.
4 JUDGE HUNT: So one would expect the sun to set sooner in the
5 towns to the east of each other in other words you would expect the sun
6 to set in Uzice before it set in Visegrad. That's so. That must be so,
7 must it not?
8 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour, it must be.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Your certificate proves the contrary.
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I don't have the certificate before
11 me now. I remember that the difference is one minute.
12 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, but it's the minute the wrong way. It says that
13 the sunset in Uzice at 25 minutes past 8.00 at night but in Visegrad,
14 which is to the west of it, a minute, earlier.
15 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the sun does go towards
16 the west and it should set in Visegrad a little later than in Uzice.
17 Whether it's a minute later or not, I don't know, but it should be a
18 little later in any case. However, Your Honour, let me remind you because
19 I think that minutes are not so important here. You do have the
20 Prosecution exhibit which is the calendar of Muslim holidays, and we also
21 agree to what this document says. It's in the file. And for every day of
22 that year, the time of sunset is noted in that calendar, and you can see
23 by that, I think it's only a few minutes' difference. It probably shows
24 the time in Sarajevo, but you can compare this to see if the time is
25 similar. We received this certificate officially from the observatory and
1 they may have made an error and switched these two times, made the
2 permutation, I really don't know. But I think that from this other
3 exhibit, you can also establish, as far as I can remember, that a similar
4 time is given, although that calendar does not show where the measurement
5 was taken, whether it was Sarajevo or some other place, but I assume it
6 was Sarajevo.
7 JUDGE HUNT: Are you able to remember what time it gave? I
8 haven't got the exhibits here.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, I think it
10 was 8.23, if I'm correct.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Well that would probably resolve our problems, but my
12 concern has been not about the authenticity of this document but its
13 reliability and whether there is some error which may infect the whole
14 problem. Any way, we will go and have a look at the calendar to which you
16 Are you able to say, though, what time you think that you think,
17 from the evidence, it became dark in Visegrad? That's a little different
18 to when the sunset, especially in June when we are starting to get
19 slightly longer twilights.
20 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I think that when the sun sets of
21 course you can still see. I think that twilight lasts for at least half
22 an hour longer. I think that in Visegrad it became dark at around 9.00 in
23 the evening, or rather dusk, so it wasn't completely dark. It was dusk.
24 JUDGE HUNT: And are you able to say what you put forward as the
25 time that the house was burnt down?
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I think that of all those who
2 estimated the time -- and there were a lot of different estimates --, I
3 think VG87 was in the best position to come closest to the truth, and he
4 said it was at 23 hours, when he last heard his wife's voice as she was
5 led down Pionirska Street, and then he didn't hear her any more. I think
6 it was right after that that the fire in Pionirska Street broke out. Some
7 witnesses to be sure said it was about 10. Others said 8 or 9, but I
8 think they all agree that it was dark, which would mean after 9.30, in my
10 JUDGE HUNT: But VG87 also told us, as I recall, that he smelled
11 burning at sometime at about 8.00 at night.
12 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, but I think that this certainly
13 could not have been the smell of this fire because I think there is no
14 doubt that his wife died in that fire and we have nothing to show that
15 there were two fires or rather that the same fire broke out twice. His
16 wife and the people from that house were taken away between 8.00 and
17 9.00 in the evening and at 11, he heard her voice and recognised it well
18 which means she was alive then. So that in my view, the fact that he did
19 smell something, that something could not have been from this fire, and
20 this fire -- well, in any case, it's still day light at 8.00 p.m. and none
21 of the witnesses said this happened in daylight. They all say it happened
22 at night. They only different as regards to the exact time.
23 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you for that. It's not an easy problem to
24 resolve, as you can imagine. The calendar to which you refer,
25 unfortunately is completely in Cyrillic. It may be difficult --
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13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DOMAZET: It's orthodox but -- [Interpretation] I spoke about
2 the Muslim calendars which were provided by the Prosecution as exhibits.
3 JUDGE HUNT: That doesn't have the times, the sunset times. This
4 is just a list of the names of the orthodox --
5 MR. DOMAZET: In orthodox, yes. We have in orthodox, Your Honour,
6 but in Muslims, we have this, I'm sure I saw that.
7 JUDGE HUNT: If you can have a look for it later and perhaps tell
8 the Court deputy which number it is you rely upon and hopefully, it will
9 have the times a little easier to read.
10 Now, the last matter I want to raise with you, we did ask the
11 Prosecution if they wanted to give us some assistance in relation to the
12 customary international law concerning violence to life and person. As I
13 understand it, Mr. Groome is consulting the think tanks that the
14 Prosecution have upstairs. Do you want to make any submissions? Not now
15 but at some stage, about that particular, interesting issue? This is the
16 one where the Blaskic decision gave a definition of the crime, but without
17 citing any of the sources from which they obtained the customary
18 international law.
19 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was my understanding
20 that Mr. Groome was going to provide you with some written submissions on
21 the issue so in view of that, I should like to ask for a brief delay, a
22 time limit, to submit my response, because I have already started some
23 research in the relevant area, and I should like to be allowed to make
24 submissions as well.
25 JUDGE HUNT: Very well. We will fix these times before we finish
1 up this afternoon.
2 Judge Taya will ask you something.
3 JUDGE TAYA: I have one question to the Defence counsel concerning
4 to the seizure procedure of medical records. I want to know the comments
5 of the Defence counsel, if any, about the fact that the information of the
6 existence of these medical records was brought about originally from
7 Dr. Aleksandar Moljevic, not from the accused himself, and about ten
8 months after the arrest of the accused.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] As for this documentation, after the
10 arrest of Mr. Vasiljevic and after I became Defence counsel, as far as I
11 remember, I think it was in April, May, that year, that I went to Uzice,
12 found Dr. Moljevic and together with him I inspected what we found there
13 at the time. I was also provided with photocopies of the document and the
14 statement of Dr. Moljevic which was subsequently disclosed to the
15 Prosecution as part of the discovery procedure. It is true that it was
16 only on the 1st of November, 2002 that Dr. Moljevic arrived in Visegrad to
17 give statement to the OTP investigators. It was the first time that he
18 took with him the original documents, which were seized from him on that
19 occasion. If your question, Your Honour, concerns the time which elapsed,
20 that is the ten months which were necessary for the provision of the
21 documents, I must tell you that the Defence was faced with serious
22 difficulties at the time because of the regime in Serbia, that is in
23 Yugoslavia, which prevented any cooperation -- which prevented all
24 cooperation with the Tribunal, even if it was for the purposes of
25 assisting the accused in this case Mitar Vasiljevic, who is from
2 So we managed to convince Dr. Moljevic on that occasion to appear
3 and give a statement and to bring with him the documents which had been
4 entrusted to him by the head of the hospital. The problem was of course
5 that the documents were seized and all of a sudden we had the problem both
6 with Dr. Moljevic and the hospital in question, for a very long periods of
7 time I didn't dare show up with any request because for some reason, they
8 were very angry because of the seizure of the documents. And that is how
9 it was only after the completion of the Prosecution case, and after the
10 atmosphere, the overall atmosphere changed in Yugoslavia, that it was
11 easier for them to persuade them to take part in the proceedings. It was
12 only then that many of them accepted to appear as witnesses and to provide
13 the documents that Dr. Moljevic was not in the position to provide
14 initially. And that is the reason for this delay, even the delay caused
15 by the Defence, with respect to some of the documents which we tendered
16 through our witnesses. I don't know if I have answered your question,
17 Your Honour. If you want further details, I'll be happy to provide them
18 to you.
19 JUDGE TAYA: Thank you.
20 JUDGE HUNT: You did give there as a date when the documents were
21 seized, the 1st of November, 2002, at least that's the way it has been
22 translated. I thought it was the beginning of last year sometime.
23 MR. DOMAZET: No, no, 1st of November 2000.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Yes. You've all managed to remind me several times
25 that I was the one who signed the seizure order and of the unfortunate
1 consequences of it, but I suppose that comes with the job. Yes, we will
2 thank you for that. Is there anything else you want to add?
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I personally was
4 actually very satisfied with the procedure of the seizure, because it made
5 the position of the Defence easier. It would have been impossible for us
6 to obtain the documents. But as I said, we had certain difficulties any
8 JUDGE HUNT: Right. Thank you. Mr. Groome, how long do you think
9 your think tanks will need for this research?
10 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, before all the thinking is done and the
11 written submission completed, they tell me that they would be prepared to
12 file a written submission on the 27th or 28th of this month, and possibly
13 shorter if the Court should require.
14 JUDGE HUNT: No, no. That will be satisfactory. It's only two
15 weeks away. Well, then, Mr. Domazet, what would you like, another two
16 weeks to respond to it?
17 MR. DOMAZET: Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE HUNT: We have got an awful lot of other material that we
19 can go on with in the meantime so if it takes a month to get this issue
20 sorted out that doesn't really worry us. Thank you.
21 Before we adjourn, I'd like to thank counsel for their assistance
22 in this matter. I know that I have at times expressed some criticisms of
23 the efficiency with which each party has presented his or its case, that
24 is probably a sign that I have been a trial judge for too long and that I
25 am forgetting the problems which I as counsel myself suffered so often in
1 running a trial. I never of course had the opportunity of running a trial
2 in an International Tribunal, and I can see that the problems here are far
3 worse than I ever faced myself.
4 So you should treat those criticisms in that light.
5 I would like, however, to record on behalf of the Trial Chamber
6 the appreciation that we feel to counsel for both parties for the general
7 spirit of cooperation with which the trial has been conducted. I hasten
8 to emphasise that this is not something which happens in many cases in
9 this Tribunal and certainly not in all of them.
10 We recognise that it's always necessary for Defence counsel to
11 tread a particularly careful path between assisting the Prosecution and
12 the Trial Chamber and protecting the rights of his or her client. We are
13 very grateful to you, Mr. Domazet, for acting in the best traditions of
14 the legal profession, certainly as I understand them, that you have at all
15 times acted in your client's interest and yet you have been able to
16 cooperate with the Prosecution in ensuring that the trial has moved on
17 without unnecessary technicalities. Similarly for Mr. Groome and the
18 Prosecution team, we are grateful that he has very properly used the
19 somewhat greater resources of the Office of the Prosecutor to assist the
20 Defence with matters where it could properly do so.
21 The trial has been made a more pleasant experience as a result of
22 the conduct of counsel, and we are very grateful to counsel for that
24 It remains only for me to say that we reserve our decision. We
25 will give it to you as soon as it is reasonably possible to do so. You
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13 English transcripts.
1 realise, of course, that we are required these days to proceed with the
2 next case, which makes it more difficult it write a judgement as speedily
3 as perhaps they were once written but we will certainly do our best to
4 give you your judgement as soon as convenient. Thank you again.
5 We will now adjourn.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
7 3.41 p.m.