Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 12

1 Friday, 11 January 2002

2 [Status conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.33 p.m.

6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters are having technical

7 difficulties hearing.

8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the Registrar call the case, please.

9 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Case Number

10 IT-95-8/1-PT, the Prosecutor versus Predrag Banovic and Nenad Banovic.

11 JUDGE ROBINSON: May we have the appearances.

12 MR. KOUMJIAN: I am for the Prosecution, Nicholas Koumjian. I am

13 appearing. Mr. Mark Vlasic of the Office of the Prosecutor is to my

14 right. Just for the Court's information, for the Trial Chamber's

15 information, Mr. Peter McCloskey is now assigned as the senior trial

16 attorney on this case but is not present in the Chamber at the moment.

17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Koumjian. And for the Defence?

18 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I represent the

19 accused Nenad Banovic, and my name is Veselin Londrovic. I'm a lawyer

20 from Bijelina, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Londrovic. And for the other

22 accused, I understand we have a telephone linkage.

23 Are you getting through, Madam Registrar, to the counsel for

24 Predrag Banovic?

25 THE REGISTRAR: If he starts again, I think it should work now.

Page 13

1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Will you start again?

2 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] My name is Jovan Babic. I am a lawyer

3 from Novi Sad, and I represent the accused Predrag Banovic.

4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Babic. We heard you.

5 May I just consult the two accused to ensure that they are hearing

6 the proceedings in a language which they understand.

7 Mr. Nenad Banovic, are you hearing the proceedings?

8 THE ACCUSED N. BANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. And Mr. Predrag Banovic?

10 THE ACCUSED P. BANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.

12 At this status conference, we have a number of matters to

13 consider. The first is the question of the indictment, the amendment of

14 the indictment and some preliminary motions that had been filed. The OTP

15 had indicated that it would be seeking to amend the indictment.

16 May I ask Mr. Koumjian to confirm this.

17 MR. KOUMJIAN: That is correct, Your Honour. We intend to amend

18 the indictment to substantially narrow the factual issues in this case

19 from the issues that were present in the first trial involving the

20 Keraterm camp.

21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. We also have some preliminary motions

22 challenging the form of the indictment. Mr. Londrovic, it would seem

23 sensible in light of the Prosecution's intention to amend the indictment

24 to defer the consideration of those motions.

25 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] I agree with you, Your Honour,

Page 14

1 fully.

2 JUDGE ROBINSON: But the only thing that remains, now, then is to

3 set a date for the filing of the amendment. I forgot to call on the

4 absent attorney, absent from the courtroom.

5 Mr. Babic, you heard what I said about the -- deferring the

6 determination of the motions, challenging the form of the indictment in

7 view of the Prosecutor's intention to amend the indictment. Do you have a

8 comment on that?

9 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I heard everything

10 you said. I have nothing against deferring the motions with respect to

11 the indictment and its amendment.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Babic.

13 Mr. Prosecutor, Mr. Koumjian, I'll set a date of the end of

14 January for the filing of the amendment.

15 MR. KOUMJIAN: May I be heard, Your Honour, on that?


17 MR. KOUMJIAN: I understand the Court wishes to proceed as

18 expeditiously as possible, and so do we. There was one matter that we

19 were waiting on in addition to the fact there is new counsel. There's one

20 very important matter that's going to affect the writing of the

21 indictment, and that is the Office of the Prosecutor has serious concerns

22 that it wants to look into involving the charges, particularly against one

23 of the accused, how they will be formulated. Counsel for that accused,

24 who is present in court, has indicated his client is willing at some point

25 to speak to us and has important information to provide. He also has

Page 15

1 documents to provide us that could affect -- I think there's a very good

2 chance that could affect the charges that we file. We would like to

3 consider those, and we have been trying, since counsel was appointed, to

4 arrange that interview. We have even tried to arrange it today. We

5 believe it's in the client's best interest, and I think counsel does also,

6 but the client is not anxious to speak to us at this moment.

7 That will affect our ability to proceed with the analysis of the

8 evidence and the charges. We can proceed, in which case we file a much

9 broader indictment. But I think it's in everyone's interest that we

10 carefully examine these charges and consider evidence that may be very

11 relevant to what charges are actually filed. And the last time I spoke to

12 counsel he was talking about a date in February to arrange that

13 conference.

14 JUDGE ROBINSON: So if I understand you, then, you would be

15 seeking a later date for the filing of the amendment?

16 MR. KOUMJIAN: That's correct. We seek a date that will allow us

17 to have time to consider the information provided by the accused.

18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Londrovic?

19 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I had a conference

20 arranged with Mr. Nicholas, and the information is correct, that my

21 accused -- my client, Nenad Banovic, does intend to talk to the

22 investigators of the OTP, and yesterday we reached a tentative deadline,

23 which would be the third week in February actually. Now, why we have set

24 that date, I have tried to explain to the Office of the Prosecutor. The

25 accused is waiting for a visit from his father here. His father is on his

Page 16

1 way. They have not seen each other for six months. They did not live in

2 Prijedor. They were arrested in Obrenovac in the way that they were, and

3 I heard information from Mr. Nicholas today that they would like to talk

4 to Nenad as early on as today.

5 I have discussed the matter with Nenad and asked him whether he

6 can accept starting talks today, and he said that he doesn't feel

7 psychologically fit to conduct a conversation of that kind in view of the

8 fact that his father is on his way and that for the first time they will

9 be together after a long time, and they will be seeing each other. I

10 think that the 17th of February is a reasonable date, and I should like to

11 ask the Court's indulgence to accord us that date and time. After that,

12 the Prosecution, after talking to Nenad, will be able to clear up certain

13 matters and facts. And my client hopes that after the conversation with

14 the Prosecution, the Prosecution will be in a position to bring in a

15 fairer decision in this case, bearing in mind his particular position

16 therein.

17 JUDGE ROBINSON: So by the 17th of February, you expect to -- I am

18 saying that by the 17th of February, it is your expectation that the talks

19 with the Prosecutor would have concluded?

20 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] I think that that's the right

21 week. I haven't got a calendar in front of me. But I think that would

22 make it the third week in February. We have already decided to hold talks

23 on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I'm not quite sure of the dates. But

24 I think that that is the period we're talking about.

25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Koumjian.

Page 17

1 MR. KOUMJIAN: My investigator indicated that there was some

2 problem with the detention unit on those dates, but I think we can

3 probably work out a date at approximately that time, perhaps a few days

4 earlier, if that's possible with counsel, but we can do that after court.

5 My indication is if we could talk to him sooner, we could resolve

6 it sooner, but I would anticipate if he's not willing to talk to us until

7 the third week in February, it will probably take place the third week in

8 February. We're willing to accommodate counsel and the accused. We're

9 willing to do the interview whenever it's convenient to them.

10 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm prepared to consider it favourably, since

11 apparently it will advance the progress in the trial. If you conclude

12 your talks at the third week in February, then you should be able to bring

13 in your amendment by the end of February, or sometime in March?

14 MR. KOUMJIAN: I would ask the Court for sometime in March, given

15 that we have to summarise the case and get approval regarding the charges.

16 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will set the end of March for the amendments.

17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I would indicate that there may be at

18 some point, we may make a decision in my office to go ahead and write the

19 indictment; and if so, we will serve it on counsel and the Court sooner

20 than that.


22 The next matter concerns the trial itself, the date for the

23 start-up of the trial. I'm not in a position to give a precise date;

24 however, it is the duty of the pre-trial Judge, and indeed the duty of

25 counsel, to work towards the earliest trial date and in that regard, to

Page 18

1 ensure that the case is prepared and ready for trial at the earliest trial

2 date. It does not seem that the middle of the year is a possibility.

3 There may be a possibility in the autumn, and I think an even greater

4 possibility in the early part of next year. Nonetheless, we are required

5 to ensure that the case is prepared for trial at the earliest possible

6 time.

7 May I ask, Mr. Koumjian, how many witnesses does the Prosecution

8 intend to rely on?

9 MR. KOUMJIAN: No final decision has been made, and I am still

10 familiarising myself with all of the witnesses, but I am anticipating a

11 compact case with 20 or fewer witnesses in this trial.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: And, of course, for some you could rely on

13 Rule 92 bis.

14 MR. KOUMJIAN: I think if we file the charges I'm anticipating,

15 virtually all the witnesses will go to the conduct of the accused, so I

16 think there will be very little, if any, witnesses that we could take

17 advantage of the 92 bis provisions for. Unless we -- well, I believe that

18 is the position.

19 JUDGE ROBINSON: With 20 witnesses, what would be the estimate for

20 the Prosecution's case?

21 MR. KOUMJIAN: Three or four weeks, Your Honour. Your Honour, I

22 should indicate that I am anticipating that the evidence going to

23 fundamental jurisdictional issues like widespread and systematic attack

24 can be provided -- either stipulated or provided in a very compact manner

25 to the Court. Those issues could slightly prolong the trial.

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Page 20

1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, I'm very grateful for that information.

2 Because I think with that number of witnesses, we will have a very short

3 case, very compact. And it's all the more reason why I think we should

4 make the greatest effort to have it ready at the earliest possible time.

5 It may be that -- it may just be possible to get it on to trial sometime

6 earlier than I have indicated, so that if it is ready for trial, then so

7 much the better. And this is a factor that the authorities will take into

8 account in fixing a date, the reality that the case will be a very short

9 one.

10 May I consult with the Senior Legal Officer for a minute.

11 [Trial Chamber and Senior Legal Officer confer]

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Koumjian.

13 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, present in Court is Mr. Michael

14 Johnson, who is the Chief of Prosecutions for the Office of the

15 Prosecutor. He's asked me to indicate to the Court and clarify that our

16 position is that as soon as we can talk to the accused, we can proceed

17 with writing the indictment and even the timetable that I've indicated

18 could be shortened.

19 I would also indicate that in -- I established -- we established

20 in the Office of the Prosecution a very good initial working relationship

21 with both counsel, and we believe that there is always the possibility in

22 a case like this that there could be a resolution of the entire case

23 through negotiations once everyone is aware of the facts of the case and

24 the evidence we are prepared to present in Court. All of that would

25 depend, can get going once we have all those facts which include

Page 21

1 conversations with the accused. At one point, both the accused, when they

2 were initially arrested, even Mr. Predrag Banovic, indicated he had

3 information to provide us about his brother, and he indicated about the

4 innocence of his brother. We are interested in hearing that information

5 also. The sooner we get that information and can consider the appropriate

6 charges, the sooner we can get this whole matter going to trial or

7 resolved through plea.

8 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm very grateful for that information. And the

9 dates that I am setting are not set in stone, and of course you may make

10 any -- any application that you see fit in order to expedite the process.

11 Bearing in mind that I had set the end of March for the amendment,

12 for the OTP's pre-trial brief, I would set the end of May and also for the

13 witness statements as well as any possible Rule 92 bis applications.

14 Would you be in a position to say anything about any application

15 for protective measures?

16 MR. KOUMJIAN: I would like to address the issue raised in the

17 Court's ruling regarding the initial application for protective measures.

18 The Court ordered the Office of the Prosecutor to inform the Court

19 about efforts to get in contact with three witnesses who had in earlier

20 indications motions for protective measures in the first trial. The

21 Office of the Prosecutor had indicated we could not get in touch with

22 those witnesses, and they are listed in the supporting materials as

23 witnesses 25, 26, and 27. Checking with the investigators on this case,

24 apparently Witness 25 was spoken to in the year 2000, did indicate that he

25 wished protective measures, and gave reasons for being that he returns to

Page 22

1 the area where this -- these crimes occurred on a regular basis. I should

2 indicate that for this witness and the next two, the Office of the

3 Prosecutor does not intend to call those witnesses in this trial. None of

4 those three will be witnesses in this trial.

5 Witnesses Keraterm 26 and Keraterm 27, we have been unable to

6 contact. We do have at this time a possible phone number for Keraterm 26,

7 but we have not been able to actually establish contact with that witness,

8 and Keraterm 27 was last known to be in an Asian country and apparently

9 has left that country. We have no idea of the whereabouts of

10 Keraterm 27. Again, none of these three witnesses do we anticipate

11 calling at this trial.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much.

13 Mr. Londrovic, would you be in a position to say how much time you

14 would need to prepare your case?

15 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at this point in

16 time, I am setting up the Defence team. I have acquired an investigator

17 thus far, and I hope that by the end of the month, I will find a second

18 investigator so that I think that by the end of September, as you yourself

19 said, the beginning of the autumn, perhaps, and the start of trial, that

20 that is suitable for the Defence. I think that by that time, the Defence

21 will be trial ready. However, I do hope that everything will be more

22 speedy and that my client won't have to stand trial at all.

23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Londrovic. Mr. Babic, I make the

24 same inquiry of you.

25 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot give you my

Page 23

1 position on the subject at the moment. My client --

2 THE INTERPRETER: I'm afraid the link is inaudible. The

3 interpreters are unable to follow.

4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Would you be in a position to stop so we can

5 start again? Stop, and I'll ask Mr. Babic to start again.

6 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can give you an answer

7 to your question at present because my client has asked the Registry to --

8 this is being processed. He has filed a request, and the new Defence

9 counsel -- for a new Defence counsel, and the new Defence counsel will be

10 able to decide how much time he needs to organise the Defence case for

11 trial.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much. I heard that, and I --

13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters apologise. They are not quite

14 sure whether they heard exactly what was being said, whether it was a

15 request for another Defence counsel.

16 JUDGE ROBINSON: It was quite clear to the Chamber.

17 I should inform the parties that as is required, regular meetings

18 will be held between the Senior Legal Officer and the parties to ensure

19 that the parties are meeting their obligations and that the case is moving

20 satisfactorily towards trial. The Senior Legal Officer will be in touch

21 with the parties to fix a date for these meetings.

22 The next status conference has to be held before the 10th of May,

23 which is a Friday, and I would fix that very day for the status

24 conference. That's the 10th of May.

25 May I ask the two accused whether there is any matter which they

Page 24

1 wish to raise relating to their trial, relating to their detention, their

2 mental or physical condition. Start first with Mr. Nenad Banovic. Is

3 there anything that you wish to raise?

4 THE ACCUSED N. BANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE ROBINSON: And Predrag Banovic, is there any matter that you

6 wish to raise?

7 THE ACCUSED P. BANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, I think everything is

8 all right except that I think my present Defence counsel, who is on the

9 line, wishes to say something.

10 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at this Status

11 Conference, under Rule 65(A)(ii), would like to say that my client --

12 THE INTERPRETER: The rest is unclear to the interpreter.

13 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] -- his health condition at the time

14 was satisfactory. However, upon his arrival to the detention unit, he has

15 been in therapy, and the medication isn't helping. His condition is

16 deteriorating, and this is a kidney condition. I would kindly ask the

17 Trial Chamber, the detention unit administration, and the Registry to

18 allow my client to receive the parcel containing a special tea that would

19 help him. I have tried to deliver this herbal tea the last time I visited

20 the detention unit.

21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me see if I understand that. You're saying

22 that your client has some medical problems affecting his kidney, if I

23 understood correctly. The treatment so far has not been sufficiently

24 remedial, and you wish the Registrar to intervene with the authorities to

25 ensure that he receives proper medical attention, including, in

Page 25

1 particular, a particular parcel that you have attempted to deliver to

2 him. I will request the Registrar to do this.

3 Did you hear that, Mr. Babic?

4 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] I have heard you well, and I

5 appreciate your efforts to have the tea delivered. It is a tea made in

6 Yugoslavia which would help him recover from his present condition.

7 JUDGE ROBINSON: I do hope that the authorities will find it

8 possible to deliver this tea to Mr. Banovic.

9 Mr. Londrovic, you wanted to say something?

10 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Your

11 Honours, if I can assist, to make this shorter, because the telephone

12 lines are bad, Mr. Babic, the last time he was here, brought and tried to

13 deliver to his client this herbal tea which helps in conditions involving

14 the inflammation of the kidneys. However, the detention unit authorities

15 did not allow this parcel to be admitted into the unit and delivered to

16 Predrag Banovic. And we would appreciate it if the Registry could somehow

17 influence the detention unit authorities to allow this tea to be brought

18 in. Mr. Predrag Banovic needs about one or two litres of this tea per

19 day. And it is very effective. And that was the essence of Mr. Babic's

20 request.

21 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm going to hear from the Registrar.

22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, I understand that this is a matter for the

24 discretion of the commanding authority, and I would urge -- I will urge

25 the Registrar to intervene with the commander to see whether this tea

Page 26

1 could be delivered because the accused believes that it will help him in

2 his condition. There may be rules affecting this, and I don't wish to do

3 or say anything that might appear to be in violation of the rules. But

4 the health of the accused is of paramount importance, and I would urge the

5 Registrar, as I said, to pass to on to the commander the hope and

6 expectation of the Chamber that the accused will receive the treatment

7 that he thinks is most beneficial to him.

8 Is there any other matter? Yes, Mr. Koumjian.

9 MR. KOUMJIAN: If I could just clarify two matters, I believe I

10 understand from the Court's ruling and the order for the new indictment

11 that the Trial Chamber does not expect the Prosecutor to respond to the

12 Defence motions on the form of the current indictment.

13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Quite so quite so. Yes.

14 MR. KOUMJIAN: And secondly, I just want the Trial Chamber to be

15 aware of the procedure that I've discussed with Mr. Londrovic, which is

16 slightly unusual, which we plan to follow immediately following this

17 hearing. And that is -- I believe he told me that his client wishes to

18 explain to the Office of the Prosecutor his reasons for not feeling

19 psychologically ready to be interviewed by us at this time. And we would

20 like to explain to him somewhat our reasons that we would like to speak to

21 him as soon as possible. This will not be an interview. We are not going

22 to videorecord this short conversation. But if we do set up the full

23 interview, then we will follow all the rules regarding interview of

24 suspect and accused.

25 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's entirely a matter for Mr. Londrovic and

Page 27

1 yourself how to arrange your meetings.

2 There being no other matter, we'll take the adjournment until the

3 10th of May.

4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

5 3.07 p.m., to be reconvened on

6 Friday, the 10th day of May, 2002.