|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 1 September 1997
Dokmanovic case - Hearings on defence motions scheduled on 5 and 8 September 1997.
Two hearings have been scheduled by Trial Chamber II (consisting of Judge McDonald, Presiding, Judge Odio Benito and Judge Jan), in order to hear the Parties on two motions filed by the Defence.
1. Closed session hearing scheduled for Friday 5 September 1997:
On 24 July 1997, during a Status Conference, Trial Chamber II ordered the Prosecution to provide Defence Counsel with a list of items, including a videotape showing the arrest and the reading of the accused's rights.
On 1 August 1997, the Prosecution filed a confidential Motion requesting the non-disclosure of the contents of the videotape.
In a Motion filed on 14 August 1997, the Defence opposed"the Prosecutor's request for non disclosure of the contents of the videotape". The Defence deemed that the accused was illegally arrested by the use of a subterfuge, and that the videotape would therefore be of vital interest for the preparation of the trial. According to the Defence, the reason for the refusal by the Prosecution to disclose the contents of the videotape is to hide the above mentioned ruse.
The Trial Chamber's Order:
On 27 August 1997, Trial Chamber II handed down its "Order concerning the Prosecutor's confidential Motion to modify Trial Chamber's Order regarding the videotape of the arrest of the accused". The Chamber deemed it "necessary [...] to view the videotape in order to reach a fair determination of the Motion" and consequently ordered the Prosecution to "file the videotape [...] with the Registry immediately, under seal, for the sole purpose of its viewing by the Trial Chamber, ex parte, in the Chambers". The Chamber furthermore decided that a closed session hearing would be held on Friday 5 September 1997, at 10 a.m., to hear the oral arguments of the Parties on the subject.
2. A protected witness will testify in open session during the motions hearing on Monday 8 September 1997:
On 31 July 1997, the Defence filed a confidential Motion requesting that safe conduct be granted for 7 days prior and subsequent to the hearing, to protect the witness who will testify on 8 September 1997. This hearing will concern the Defence preliminary Motion on the illegal arrest of the accused and the form of the indictment (see PR 224-E). The Prosecution objected to the Motion on 14 August 1997 on the ground that the calling of the witness was unnecessary. The Prosecution's Motion also requested that "the safe conduct [should it be granted] be of limited duration and restrictions be placed on the movements of the witness [...] in order to reduce the risk of any attempted intimidation or harassment of refugees".
The Trial Chamber's Decision:
On 27 August 1997, Trial Chamber II handed down its "Decision regarding Defence Motion to protect Witness". The Chamber referred to the Decision rendered on 25 June 1996 by Trial Chamber II in the Tadi} case, which established that "safe conduct, although not provided for in the Statute of the International Tribunal, can be ordered under the general power of Rule 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence". The Chamber however added that "an order for safe conduct grants only a very limited immunity from Prosecution and only with respect to crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal committed before coming to the Tribunal and only for the time during which the witness is present at the seat of the International Tribunal for the purpose of giving testimony".
Noting the fundamental importance of the physical presence of witnesses, the Chamber granted the requested safe conduct in the terms set out above, and limited it in time to "two days prior to and one day after the giving of testimony".
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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