Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 37

1 Wednesday, 10 April 2002

2 [Motion Hearing]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 4.20 p.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Let the Registrar call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Case number

8 IT-95-8/1-PT, the Prosecutor versus Nenad Banovic, Predrag Banovic, Dusan

9 Fustar, and Dusko Knezevic.

10 JUDGE MAY: The appearances, please.

11 MS. BIBLES: Good afternoon. My name is Camille Bibles. I'm

12 appearing with Mark Vlasic for the Office of the Prosecutor.

13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Londrovic.

14 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am the Defence

15 counsel of the accused Nenad Banovic. My name is Veselin Londrovic. I am

16 an attorney from Bijeljina.

17 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Ms. Bibles, we have here the Prosecution

18 motion to withdraw the indictment against this accused, Nenad Banovic.

19 Since the matter is before us in open court and before we make any order,

20 you should explain in a few words, if you would, why the Prosecutor has

21 come to this decision and put the motion forward.

22 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour. As the Trial Chamber is

23 aware, this accused was charged in 1995 for actions which occurred at the

24 Keraterm detention camp between May and August of 1992. The primary

25 charges against this accused in that case involve the murder of three

Page 38

1 victims during that time period.

2 Initially in this case, and until very recently, many witnesses

3 described the Banovic twins or the Banovic brothers as being guards at

4 Keraterm camp. More specifically with respect to these murder counts,

5 there were witnesses who specifically describe Nenad Banovic as being a

6 participant in these murders. However, since the accused's arrest and the

7 arrest of his brother, in a review of the evidence, additional

8 investigation following up on information that both the accused has

9 provided and that we have obtained in trying to prepare for trial, leads

10 us to the conclusion that the current state of evidence will not support a

11 finding beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant has been involved in

12 the significant charges of the indictment.

13 In short, we can show that he was at Keraterm on occasion. He was

14 not a guard at Keraterm. He may have been involved in assaultive

15 behaviour there, but we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt beyond

16 that.

17 There are several issues that come about that lead us to that

18 conclusion. When he and his brother were arrested, his brother, Predrag

19 Banovic, took exceptional steps to make it clear to the arresting

20 individuals that while it was understood that he was being sought by this

21 Tribunal, that his brother Nenad should not be here. Nenad additionally

22 went further at the same time to say that he did not go to the camp, that

23 he did not work at the camp, and that he shouldn't be here.

24 We immediately began following up on that information and

25 ultimately the results are this motion. First, with respect to the

Page 39

1 witnesses who described or who said that Nenad was a participant in the

2 murder of these three victims, we have established that the bulk of these

3 witnesses are either unavailable or are no longer willing to testify.

4 In light of Predrag's comments, the accused's brother, we went to

5 the remaining witnesses who talk about Nenad Banovic being involved in

6 those murders, and we pointedly asked for specific physical descriptions

7 of the Banovic who was involved in those murders. We've also sought out

8 witnesses who knew the Banovic twins prior to Keraterm, specifically

9 witnesses who may have had contact or who did have contact with the

10 Banovics during May to August of 1992, and with those witnesses, finding

11 those witnesses, we have now individuals who can describe physical

12 differences between Predrag Banovic and Nenad Banovic during that time

13 period. There was a difference in the length of their hair and some other

14 aspects of their appearance at the time.

15 The appearance of Predrag Banovic, the accused's twin brother,

16 matches the physical description that the witnesses give for the

17 individuals involved in those murders.

18 We -- and I should be up front, throughout this process, we have

19 advised both the accused and his counsel of our concerns about this since

20 the initial arrest. We have asked since the beginning for their

21 assistance in the way of clarifying those physical differences that may

22 have occurred during that time period and specifically with respect to the

23 accused's position at Keraterm, if any.

24 As the evidence developed and we began to see that there were

25 problems in this case, we also approached the accused and --

Page 40

1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel slow down, please.

2 MS. BIBLES: -- provisional release while we sorted out the rest of

3 the evidence. The accused indicated to us through his counsel that he was

4 not interested in that, that in fact he felt that the evidence would show

5 that he would -- that we would in fact be filing this motion and that when

6 he left The Hague, in short, he wanted it to be for good.

7 We did have the opportunity to interview Nenad Banovic in

8 February. At that time, he did several things for us that were helpful

9 with respect to this motion. First, he confirmed those physical

10 disparities between himself and his twin brother --

11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel slow down, please.

12 MS. BIBLES: Second, he also set out and explained to us that his

13 brother, Predrag, was a camp guard. But most importantly for this motion,

14 he presented documentation and evidence that he in fact was in Prijedor

15 during that period but that he had assignments in other locations. And he

16 was able to show duty rosters. He was able to show the other locations

17 that he was at.

18 The problem for us with the interview is that he denies ever

19 having been at Keraterm. We can tell the Court that we do have viable

20 evidence from witnesses who can distinguish between the two twins that

21 Nenad was in fact at Keraterm on occasions. We have some evidence that

22 suggests that he may have been involved in assaultive behaviour. But the

23 issue for us has been trying to establish what we can prove beyond a

24 reasonable doubt with respect to his participation at Keraterm, and our

25 answer, after the vigorous work that we've put into it in the last few

Page 41

1 months, is that we do not now have sufficient evidence to convict him for

2 offences that are the focus of this Tribunal. We're satisfied that the

3 present motion should be granted. Thank you.

4 JUDGE MAY: It seems that that's a proper course taken by the

5 Prosecution.

6 Mr. Londrovic, is there anything you want to say about this?

7 MR. LONDROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I only wish to say

8 that the Defence made efforts to cooperate, and I believe that the

9 evidence we provided to the Prosecution contributed to the Prosecution

10 reaching the conclusion it has. I have nothing else to say but to support

11 the motion put in by the Prosecution and to ask the Chamber to withdraw

12 the charges against my client.

13 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Londrovic.

14 The Trial Chamber has had the opportunity of considering this

15 motion. We approve the course taken by the Prosecution. We grant the

16 motion to withdraw the indictment against this accused. We order his

17 immediate release from the Detention Unit, subject to practical

18 arrangements being made with the host country. We instruct the Registrar

19 to take all the necessary measures to render this order enforceable

20 immediately.

21 The Court will adjourn. I'll hand in the order.

22 --- Whereupon the Motion Hearing adjourned at

23 4.29 p.m.