Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 25090

1 Wednesday, 24 March 2004

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon. Could you call the case, please,

7 Madam Registrar.

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

9 IT-99-36-T, The Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.

10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Brdjanin, can you follow the

11 proceedings in a language that you can understand?

12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. Yes, I

13 can follow in the language that I can understand.

14 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And good afternoon to you, too.

15 Appearances, Prosecution.

16 MS. KORNER: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Joanna Korner assisted

17 by Denise Gustin, case manager.

18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And good afternoon to you.

19 Appearances for Radoslav Brdjanin.

20 MR. ACKERMAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. I'm John Ackerman

21 with David Cunningham and Aleksandar Vujic.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And good afternoon to you.

23 The purpose of today's sitting is to report on a site visit that

24 the Trial Chamber made or held between the 14th and the 18th of March of

25 this year in Bosnia. The purpose of the visit was to view some of the

Page 25091

1 sites which are relevant to the case. This is the first time ever that

2 such a site visit was held by a Trial Chamber. A few months ago, as you

3 will certainly recall, during one of the sittings, the Trial Chamber

4 sounded the parties on such a possibility. And it was after your positive

5 reaction that we started the ball rolling with a view to establishing

6 first and foremost if it was at all feasible and possible, both from the

7 resources aspect as well as from those aspects which are mainly related to

8 overall security. I need hardly state that holding such an on-site visit

9 is in many significant respects so much different and so much complicated

10 than doing the same thing in a domestic jurisdiction, not to mention the

11 expense involved.

12 From that day until we effectively left for the site visit, the

13 matter was not given any publicity, and discussions here in the courtroom

14 on the matter were held in private session. And this was done for a

15 variety of reasons, particularly, first, because up to a certain stage, we

16 were not quite sure that this would eventually materialise; and secondly,

17 because there were security measures that were being assessed at the time

18 and needed to be established and taken into consideration.

19 I can assure you, however, that in the past months the

20 preparations for the visit entailed a lot of work on the part of several

21 persons here at the Tribunal, but also in Bosnia and elsewhere, as I will

22 explain later on. During the entire visit, the Trial Chamber was

23 accompanied by the two members of -- by two members of its staff, namely,

24 Mr. Ken Roberts, Kenneth Roberts, legal officer; and Mr. Reinhold

25 Gallmetzer, assistant legal officer; as well as by lead counsel for the

Page 25092

1 Prosecution, Madam Joanna Korner; and lead counsel for the Defence, Mr.

2 John Ackerman. Both lead counsel had an interpreter accompanying them.

3 Very early in the discussions held between the Trial Chamber and

4 counsel for the Prosecution and for the accused about the best way to

5 conduct the site visit, it was agreed that the Trial Chamber will, during

6 the site visit, have assisting it as a guide -- have assisting it a guide

7 to be agreed upon by the parties. Mr. Paul Grady was the guide chosen,

8 and he, in fact, accompanied the Trial Chamber during the entire visit.

9 I have mentioned or referred to the discussions that were held

10 between the Trial Chamber and counsel. A substantial part of those

11 discussions centred around the precise set of rules or sort of protocol

12 that everyone taking part on the site visit was or would be expected to

13 abide by. This was imperative, especially since it was not practical that

14 the accused would also take part in the site visit. I need not go into

15 the details of everything that was discussed and decided in the course of

16 these discussions, which included an ad hoc 65 ter meeting, too. It will

17 suffice to state here that there was general agreement that throughout the

18 site visit no submissions will be made by either party and that the visit

19 to each of the locations selected and the relative explanation by the

20 guide, Mr. Grady, would not include any mention or reference to any

21 submission by the Prosecution or to specific facts except insofar as may

22 be agreed upon between the parties. In view of this, the practice was

23 adopted throughout the visit to have both counsel sit with our staff

24 before and in preparation of each daily visit with a view to identifying

25 what the guide would be explaining to the Trial Chamber on the site of

Page 25093

1 each location visited.

2 It may sound cumbersome, or unnecessarily burdensome at first

3 sight to have resorted to such a practice, but I can assure you that it

4 was the best formula under the circumstances; and in addition, that it

5 made it possible for the site visit to be conducted and concluded without

6 any significant hitch. There are several other measures that were put in

7 place, adopted and put in place, relating, for example, to where counsel

8 were lodged in relation to Trial Chamber as well as to the travel

9 arrangements on-site, but I do not think I need go into further details.

10 These arrangements overall were important to have in place and to

11 stick to because we decided to hold this on-site visit in the firm belief

12 that it was best served -- that it would serve best the interests of

13 justice in this case, and also the role of this Tribunal in general.

14 Several locations were visited in this manner on three consecutive

15 days, these being March 15, 16, and 17. The following is a detailed

16 account of the locations visited by the Trial Chamber.

17 Day one, namely, 15th of March: The Trial Chamber visited Omarska

18 camp and where it had the opportunity to go around the camp, various

19 places that it thought fit. We then proceeded to Kevljani village where

20 we stopped to see the mosque. We then proceeded to Kamicani village,

21 which we saw from the road, arriving subsequently in Kozarac where we saw

22 the mosque, Mutnik mosque. And from there, we proceeded to Trnopolje camp

23 which we saw from the road. We then went to Kozarusa village area, which

24 we saw from the road, and proceeded in the direction of Prijedor on the

25 way to Keraterm camp where we stopped for a few minutes. On that

Page 25094

1 occasion, there were also members of the local press present.

2 After that, we proceeded to the city centre in Prijedor. And

3 there we saw the police station, the municipal assembly building, Stari

4 Grad, and what was supposed to be the site of the mosque but not much

5 more. After Prijedor, we proceeded in the direction of Ljubija, and en

6 route, we saw from the road the villages of Hambarine and Brdo. In

7 Ljubija, we stopped to see the football stadium, and from there, we

8 proceeded in the snow to Redak mine area where Mr. Grady indicated to us

9 what he maintained to be an exhumation site. We did not stop to see the

10 site, which incidentally was also partly covered with snow.

11 From there, we proceeded to Carakovo where we saw the Zeger

12 bridge, and from there to Sanski Most where we first of all visited the

13 Krings factory. From the factory, we proceeded to the Sanski Most sports

14 hall, which we stopped to visit. And from there, we proceeded by car

15 through the Mahala area, across the bridge, past Hasan Kikic school, which

16 we viewed from the road. We drove past the municipal building on towards

17 the police station where we stopped and which we visited, particularly the

18 parts of the Sanski Most police station that relate to this case.

19 From there, we proceeded to Betonirka cement factory, and there we

20 visited the three rooms that were indicated to us. From the Betonirka

21 factory, we proceeded to the Partisan cemetery, which we viewed from the

22 road, and drove on to Vrhpolje bridge where we stopped for a few minutes.

23 We were also shown at Vrhpolje bridge on one of the banks of the river

24 another exhumation site that Mr. Grady identified and indicated to us.

25 Past Vrhpolje bridge, we proceeded to Hrustovo village. We had an

Page 25095












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Page 25096

1 occasion to view Begici bridge, and particularly the Kukavice -- a house

2 in Kukavice, which is related to the present case.

3 We left Hrustovo to proceed to Kerani. In Kerani we only viewed

4 the old mosque. And from there, we proceeded back to our hotel. And that

5 concludes the first day.

6 The second day, that is, the 16th of March, started with a visit

7 to Manjaca camp. In Manjaca camp, we had an opportunity to enter into the

8 administration building, the building which we were informed was the

9 infirmary, and we visited also several of the so-called stables, both in

10 the front and in the back row. From Manjaca, we proceeded to the SFOR

11 base, Maple Leaf Base, in Velecevo -- at ZGON, and there we had a

12 helicopter flight to and over Vlasic mountain in the Korcani area. En

13 route, we were shown several other locations, particularly Prhovo and Pec.

14 Back on land, we proceeded to Kljuc, the village of Kljuc. And in

15 Kljuc, we saw the police station, Nikola Mackic school. And from there,

16 we proceeded to Pudin Han, which we saw from the road, on our way to

17 Velegici school area. There, we saw the Velegici school as well as the

18 monument -- the Velegici school area, because the school does not exist

19 any more, and the monument that there is now. And from there, we departed

20 to the direction of Biljani. In Biljani, we saw the mosque.

21 From Biljani, we were assured that the roads were no longer

22 covered with snow, and we proceeded to Laniste, finding that the roads

23 were pretty well covered with snow. And in Laniste Mr. Grady pointed to

24 us another exhumation site. From Laniste, we went back to our hotel,

25 passing through Sanski Most once more.

Page 25097

1 On day three of the visit, namely, the 17th of March, we visited

2 first Celinac, which we -- in which we saw the municipal building from

3 outside and also the hotel that is across the park where the SDS had its

4 first meeting. We arrived from there in Kotor Varos, where we visited the

5 sawmill. Then on foot, we walked to the direction of the Croat or

6 Catholic church, in the vicinity of the sawmill. And we then drove past

7 the municipality building. We did not see the courthouse, as we had

8 planned to, because we missed it, and it was not practical to turn back to

9 see the courthouse, inside of which we had not meant to go in any case.

10 But in Kotor Varos, we also saw the elementary school, and we

11 visited the police station, particularly the detention cells in the police

12 station. We also saw the medical centre. We did not go inside the

13 medical centre. And from the medical centre, we proceeded to Stari

14 Zatvor. We saw Stari Zatvor gaol from the road, and from there, we

15 proceeded in the direction of Kotor Varos, seeing the Cirkin Brdo area.

16 We saw the Hanifici mosque. And from there, from Hanifici village, we

17 proceeded to Vecici. In Vecici, we spent some time. We saw the mosque,

18 and also a monument that has been erected in the vicinity of the mosque.

19 From Vecici, we proceeded to Dabovici. In the Dabovici area, we

20 saw Kukavice and the surroundings areas. We proceeded to Grabovice

21 school, which is still there, but we were informed that the inside layout

22 had been changed, and we therefore decided not to go inside. And from

23 there, we proceeded to Banja Luka.

24 In Banja Luka, we saw the CSB building and the municipal building

25 from outside. We also had a view of the old 1st Krajina Corps

Page 25098

1 headquarters from the road. We did stop for a while at the Mali Logor

2 prison where we also had an occasion to meet with a senior member of the

3 Defence Ministry of Republika Srpska -- of Republika Srpska, who extended

4 his welcome as well as his full cooperation.

5 That is, in brief, an account of the places which we visited in

6 the course of our site visit.

7 Now, the whole exercise, and I am sure I have the consensus of

8 everyone present here, the whole exercise, the whole site visit would not

9 have been possible and would not have been a success had it not been for

10 the cooperation of several persons, as well as institutions. And we

11 therefore wish to express our thanks and gratitude to each and every one

12 of these persons. I will not mention every single person that

13 participated in this whole venture and to whom we shall in due course by

14 means of letters express our thanks but here, publicly, I wish to thank

15 several persons in particular. And I will start with you, Ms. Korner, and

16 of course your team; and you, Mr. Ackerman, and of course your team,

17 because had you not cooperated fully as you did, there's no way we could

18 have held such a site visit, and there is no way that the site visit

19 itself would have gone on as smoothly as we all know it did. So my first

20 thanks go to you.

21 I then need to thank from the bottom of my heart, and that's not

22 just my heart, but also Judge Janu and Judge Taya, our President, who

23 encouraged this site visit and who extended his help; the Registrar of

24 this Tribunal, Mr. Holthuis, and his deputy, Mr. Tolbert, with whom we had

25 discussions as we went along. Of course, the chief budget officer that

Page 25099

1 had to dig into the finances or the funds of this Tribunal to make this

2 happen. That's on the side of the -- the management side or

3 administration side of this Tribunal.

4 On the side also -- on the part of this Tribunal also, there's no

5 way we could have proceeded with this on-site visit had it not been for

6 the full cooperation of the security branch. And therefore, I wish to

7 thank Mr. Nick Innell, the chief of security's operation, and Mr. Peter

8 Zmiyarch, the security operations officer; and last, but certainly not

9 least in this area, the four officers that accompanied us during the

10 visit; namely, Lieutenant Maurice Ford, Officer Dantand, and Sergeants

11 Lyne and Peoples.

12 I wish, of course, to thank Mr. Paul Grady who guided us through

13 the various sites according to the agreement that was reached between the

14 parties from day to day. Mr. Grady, I think, did a wonderful job. And of

15 course, I wish to thank the field officers. There was more than one field

16 officer involved, because we were both in Croatia, in Republika Srpska,

17 and in the Federation. So I wish to thank Mr. Barry Hogan from the Banja

18 Luka field office; Mr. Jani Aaltonen, security officer, member of the

19 advance team, also from the Banja Luka field office; and Mr. Thomas Osorio

20 and his deputy from the Zagreb field office. Not only for their

21 hospitality, but also for their assistance.

22 During our stay there, also we had the assistance of SFOR, several

23 people -- several persons involved. I will just mention two of them. One

24 is Brigadier General Stuart Beare, and the other one is Major Brandon Kew.

25 The first is responsible for the multinational brigade north-west section,

Page 25100

1 and he left no stone unturned in his efforts to ensure that everything

2 went according to plan. Major Kew was responsible for the helicopter

3 flight, and he also hosted us to lunch, the entire group, after we landed

4 back from our trip to -- over Vlasic mountain. So I thank the brigadier

5 general and major for their assistance.

6 And I will finish with perhaps the persons who extended not only

7 their cooperation, their full cooperation, but who also made it possible

8 for us to be able to go on this site visit. We visited Croatia on our way

9 to Republika Srpska and the federation. We visited Republika Srpska,

10 various places in Republika Srpska. We visited also places in the

11 federation. This involved the cooperation of the authorities in these

12 areas. It was a pleasure on the first night when we arrived there to see

13 Mr. Trivun Jovicic, who I also recognise in the gallery today, visiting

14 us, welcoming us as the Serb minister councillor for Serb nationality and

15 the Serb liaison officer for Bosnia and Herzegovina. And I wish to thank

16 you, sir, for all the cooperation that we had in the course of our visit

17 to the various areas in Republika Srpska. I also want to thank Mr. Amir

18 Ahmic, who is also Minister Counselor for Bosniak nationality and who is

19 your counterpart, that is, the Bosniak liaison officer for

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina. When I say liaison officer, liaison officer with the

21 ICTY. I thank you both.

22 I also wish to thank Mr. Goran Mihaljevic, Minister Counselor for

23 Croat nationality and who happens also to be the Croat liaison officer for

24 Bosnia and Herzegovina with this Tribunal. The three of you cooperated

25 together, and it was a pleasure for all of us to see the extent of

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Page 25102

1 cooperation that exists in the country between you and your officers.

2 I wish at the same time to express our thanks and gratitude for

3 your governments, the respective governments of the federation and also of

4 Republika Srpska. And I also wish to extend our thanks to the chief of

5 administration for the respective police forces who provided us with

6 escort throughout our visit in a most efficient manner. I wish to thank

7 your governments. I also wish to thank the government of Croatia,

8 Mr. Frene Krnic, Ambassador of Croatia in The Hague, for all the

9 cooperation that you extended for the purpose of and in the course of our

10 site visit.

11 On the penultimate day, I had -- we had an occasion to meet with

12 Mr. Milorad Jelisavac personally. He came to see us, to visit us. We had

13 practically finished our visit. We only needed -- we had left Banja Luka.

14 It was very nice of him and very courteous of him to join us and we also

15 express to him our gratitude, but I do want to mention his name here as

16 well because most of the time we were in Republika Srpska, and it was no

17 easy job for the police escort that was provided by Republika Srpska just

18 as it wasn't easy for the rest.

19 I thank you all. I finish by stating that we think we did the

20 right thing. We believe we did the right thing in having this on-site

21 visit. We learned a lot. And it will be -- put us in a better position

22 to understand some of the events that we have heard evidence about. And

23 it will put us in a better position when we come to elaborate our final

24 judgement and reach several decisions that we need to take.

25 Thank you.

Page 25103

1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may I mention before Your Honour rises

2 one aspect which is unconnected with this visit that has recently come to

3 my notice.

4 JUDGE AGIUS: The judgement of...

5 MS. KORNER: Yes.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: I knew exactly. I was going to mention it myself if

7 none of you mentioned it.

8 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, it has come down finally. And

9 therefore, we will address the matter in our final brief.

10 JUDGE AGIUS: In your final briefs.

11 MS. KORNER: Yes.

12 JUDGE AGIUS: I expect you to, obviously. I expect you to. And

13 that applies to you as well, Mr. Ackerman. It does change a little bit

14 the scenario. I think more or less what we need you to express is how the

15 change that is the result of the decision of the Appeals Chamber will

16 impact this case. I don't know to what extent, but please, we expect you

17 to --

18 MS. KORNER: That's what I was going to say, Your Honour. We

19 propose to address it in our legal submissions.

20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And if we think that -- we still have to

21 discuss it at some length amongst ourselves, but if we think there is

22 place for some further communication to you specifically addressing this

23 point, we will come back to you, as we did on other issues.

24 MS. KORNER: Yes.


Page 25104

1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, the second matter is this: In the Court

2 Calendar for the 15th of April it is said that the judgement in Krstic

3 will be given. Your Honour, that may -- first of all, if it's confirmed

4 -- I know it's there, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be

5 handed down on that day -- it could possibly have an impact on the

6 submissions that will be made on genocide and indeed other matters. We

7 are due to file the response of the Prosecution to the Defence final

8 brief, and vice versa, on the 16th. If the judgement is handed down then,

9 that would only give us less than a day. We would ask for an extension

10 until the Monday, the 19th.

11 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's do it in a different manner, Ms. Korner. We

12 are aware almost hundred per cent of the areas which Krstic could touch

13 upon, Appeals Chamber could touch upon in Krstic and which could impact

14 our labours. What I'm going to suggest is that these do not constitute

15 the majority of issues that we need to address. So please go ahead with

16 the final briefs as planned, and then depending on how the Krstic appeals

17 judgement might impact, you will have an extension or the possibility to

18 file an addendum to your final brief. But it's important that on the 16th

19 April you put us at least in a position where we need to know exactly what

20 your position is on the other matters. I suppose also on the matters that

21 will be covered in Krstic, with the caveat that if the situation changes

22 because of the decision in Krstic, then obviously you will have an

23 opportunity to present again your views on those particular matters.

24 At least you would put us in a position where, starting from the

25 16th, we would be able to fill in what we need to fill in in the various

Page 25105

1 bits and pieces we will be drafting by then. I suppose that you should be

2 able to live with that. I don't think it should create any major problems

3 for you.

4 MS. KORNER: No, Your Honours. The purpose of the response is to

5 deal with any legal submissions that the Defence make which we say are

6 perhaps incorrect, and vice versa, and also any factual matters that we

7 disagree with. The only thing that concerns me slightly, and it's jumping

8 the gun slightly because we have no idea what the decision is going to be,

9 is that we're supposed to be making -- I'm supposed to start my final

10 address on the Tuesday. And if there's a dramatic change, then it may be

11 a little difficult. Your Honour, can I put it this way, that Your Honour

12 is aware of the problem.

13 JUDGE AGIUS: It would be moving to Monday, not even Tuesday.

14 When I told you that I need the 23rd clear, of that month. Let's play it

15 by ear, Ms. Korner, and Mr. Ackerman. First of all, I haven't heard you,

16 Mr. Ackerman, but my instinct would tell me to play it by the ear. First

17 we see what the Appeals Chamber will say in that other case, then we might

18 ourselves come back and suggest to you that we also need time to consider

19 the position as it relates to certain issues. So it hasn't -- I don't

20 think you need to worry about it, Ms. Korner.

21 MS. KORNER: No. All I'm doing at this moment, Your Honour, is

22 putting Your Honour in the picture, as I'm sure Your Honours would have

23 been, to say that we may need, however it's worked out, further time to

24 deal with the matters of law.

25 JUDGE AGIUS: I can assure you this is all on our mind constantly.

Page 25106

1 And this morning, I was even checking on how possible it is to expect the

2 appeals decision also in another case that can affect our case,

3 particularly in the areas of deportation, for example, forcible transfer.

4 But not only.

5 Well, I will have confirmation of what the situation is likely to

6 be on that other case in about two weeks' time, but not now. Krstic

7 definitely we are expecting it when you say. If it creates problems, you

8 will have the time you require to put you in a -- it doesn't make sense

9 for us to impose a closure on you when we need to hear what you have to

10 say in any case, and we also need to study the matters as they may emerge

11 after the Krstic appeals decision. So we will play it by the ear. If we

12 need to give you an extension for additional written submissions, we will.

13 It may well be that you would prefer not to resort to written submissions

14 but to include your fresh submissions in your oral presentations,

15 closings. I don't know. We will be open for any suggestions that you

16 might have and we will definitely not foreclose on you and deprive you

17 from filing additional submissions. Definitely not. If you need more

18 time, we will give you more time. But do make sure that at least the

19 basic final briefs will be filed when we have agreed that they will be

20 filed, because we need those. We are already working, obviously, on the

21 judgement, but working relatively speaking, because we can only work up to

22 here, not knowing what your final submissions are going to be. So we will

23 definitely not present you with any difficulties.

24 Yes, Mr. Ackerman.

25 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, two things very briefly. In your

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Page 25108

1 remarks, you were speaking of our visit to Celinac and you mentioned that

2 we saw the hotel where the first SDS meeting occurred. It wasn't the

3 first SDS meeting, it was the organisational meeting of the ZOBK, I think,

4 is correct.


6 MR. ACKERMAN: I just wanted to correct that for the record before

7 it confused anyone.

8 The other thing, I just want to join you in thanking everyone that

9 you thanked, and I think I should particularly single out Mr. Paul Grady

10 who I believe behaved in the highest degree of professionalism with regard

11 to his behaviour on this trip, and I think that contributed a great deal

12 to making it a success. And I must tell you that I had some trepidations

13 about that as we began, but they were totally unjustified. I think he

14 deserves to hear that from me. And other than that, thank you very much.

15 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Ackerman. The three of us share

16 your sense of appreciation for the work done by Mr. Grady. It was indeed

17 very professional.

18 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, on behalf of Mr. Grady, who is not in

19 Court, we are very grateful to Your Honours and to Mr. Ackerman. It was,

20 for Mr. Grady, a really difficult task, not only having to plot all the

21 areas in advance, but because this was a combined Defence/Prosecution

22 effort, he had to be really careful about what he said. And as Your

23 Honours know, he took exceptional trouble to make sure that he dealt with

24 things correctly.

25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. That is very true, Ms. Korner. And I don't

Page 25109

1 think we need to add more to that. We also ensured as much as we could -

2 of course it doesn't always happen like that - in the course of the visit

3 we tried to stick together all of us most of the time because that was

4 always -- that was very important. Of course, there were exceptions when

5 I myself would drift aside or... But I'm pretty sure that everything was

6 very much transparent and that, to my knowledge at least, there are no

7 reservations on the way the whole site visit was conducted.

8 Having said that, I bring this sitting to an end. And we will

9 await the Appeals Chamber decision in the other case, possibly in both.

10 The understanding is in the Stakic case it will be too late in the day if

11 we get a decision before our final decision to reopen discussions.

12 MS. KORNER: The Stakic appeal hasn't even been heard, Your

13 Honour. It's way off.

14 JUDGE AGIUS: I know, but there's a Status Conference in two

15 weeks' time. And depending on that, a decision will be taken whether it

16 will be handed down before the summer recess or not.

17 MS. KORNER: I think that will come as a surprise to everybody in

18 the case.

19 JUDGE AGIUS: Me, too. But it's only fair that I put you into the

20 picture. As things stand, it's not likely that we will have a direction

21 from the Appeals Chamber on those issues before we hand down our decision.

22 Thank you. And good afternoon.

23 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned

24 at 3.08 p.m.