Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 37

1 Thursday, 24 April 2003

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 10.22 a.m.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in this courtroom and those

7 assisting us outside this courtroom. Madam Registrar, will you please

8 call the case.

9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour. Case number

10 IT-95-10/1-PT, the Prosecutor versus Ranko Cesic.

11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.

12 Mr. Cesic, first of all, I'd like to be informed whether you can

13 hear me in a language you understand. Could you please put on your mic.

14 Yes.

15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Cesic.

17 Today we have a Status Conference, and I'd first like to be

18 informed about the appearances. For the Prosecution.

19 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Your Honour; good morning, counsel. My

20 name is Mark Harmon. I'm appearing for the Prosecutor. Appearing with

21 me, Mr. Tom Hannis to my immediate right; and to his right, Ms. Susan

22 Grogan, who is the case manager. Thank you

23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. May I have the appearance the

24 for the Defence.

25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. Good

Page 38

1 morning, all. On behalf of the accused, Mihajlo Bakrac, attorney from

2 Belgrade.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon, Mr. Bakrac.

4 I do understand only recently a meeting took place with the senior

5 legal officer in which you discussed already some items. But before going

6 through the agenda, I'd first like to be informed, Mr. Bakrac, whether you

7 have been fully informed by previous counsel and whether you received all

8 the documents you need in order to defend Mr. Cesic.

9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. In the second half

10 of January of this year, my esteemed colleague the previous counsel gave

11 me all the supporting material that he received from the Prosecution and,

12 of course, I began to familiarise myself with it at once, so there is no

13 obstacle to our holding the Status Conference today and discussing all the

14 issues which you think should be discussed at this point in time.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac. Then I'd perhaps first

16 clarify an issue as to where we stand in view of the position of

17 Mr. Cesic. As you are aware of the -- a new amended indictment has been

18 filed. It was on the 26th of November. In the previous decision by the

19 Chamber, it was indicated that the Chamber considered the plea as entered

20 on the previous indictment would stand and invited the Defence, if there

21 would be any need to enter a different plea, that the Chamber would wait

22 for the initiative of the Defence.

23 I take it, as far as it stands now, that the plea is unchanged

24 also for the new indictment. Is this correct?

25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes. In my humble

Page 39

1 opinion, I fully agree with the Trial Chamber, and I feel that there is

2 really no need at this point in time to have the accused enter a new plea

3 on all the counts of the indictment, and I think there is no formal

4 necessity for this either.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you. Then that's clear.

6 Then I would like to go through some standard items we usually

7 discuss during a Status Conference. The first is - but I think that

8 matter has been settled already - that there are no outstanding disclosure

9 issues. I'd like to hear first from the Prosecution whether the

10 Prosecution deems that it has fulfilled all its disclosure obligations,

11 and then I'll hear from the Defence.

12 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, we have disclosed all of the relevant

13 material that we are required to under the Rules to the Defence, and we

14 have done that a considerable time ago.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You would agree with that, Mr. Bakrac?

16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no reason

17 whatsoever to doubt what my learned friend Mr. Harmon has said. I only

18 wish to add that from the moment I became counsel in this case, I have not

19 received anything new from the Prosecution. Everything I have received

20 from the previous counsel, and this is what he received from the

21 Prosecution that I have. But I really have no reason to doubt that my

22 learned friend Mr. Harmon has fulfilled all his obligations under the

23 Rules.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And since he told us he did that already quite

25 some time ago, it's not surprising that you didn't received any new

Page 40

1 material recently. So there are no outstanding disclosure issues.

2 Since you have been appointed only recently, Mr. Bakrac, perhaps

3 you could inform me whether there has been any further discussions or

4 development of working plans together with the Prosecution?

5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I already have some

6 experience at this Tribunal, and I believe many things can be solved in

7 cooperation with the Prosecution to ensure a fair and expeditious trial

8 and to facilitate matters for the Trial Chamber. So it was my intention

9 to establish contact right after this Status Conference. However, my

10 learned friend Mr. Harmon was quicker than me, and he proposed, together

11 with Mr. Harhoff, a meeting which we have already agreed on. We have yet

12 to agree on the date, but I believe that we will intensify our meetings in

13 order to solve all outstanding issues and to ensure an expeditious trial.

14 I promise that I will always be available for such contacts.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Having heard your words, and since I hear no

16 objections from the Prosecution, there's no need to encourage the parties

17 since they are already inclined to solve whatever issues are outstanding.

18 But otherwise, I certainly would have encouraged you.

19 Then may I ask a few questions to the Prosecution. Would the

20 Chamber have to expect on a short term any additional requests or any

21 requests in respect of protective measures, or is that an issue that

22 bothers the Prosecution at this moment?

23 MR. HARMON: At this moment we have no concerns with respect to

24 protective measures.

25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. Could I also ask you whether

Page 41

1 the Prosecution intends to rely on taking judicial notice of any

2 adjudicated facts? Is there anything to be expected in that area?

3 MR. HARMON: That is matter I cannot address at this moment with

4 Your Honour because I need to discuss that with my colleague who is not

5 here, Mr. Tochilovsky.


7 MR. HARMON: I will inform Mr. Harhoff as soon as I have those

8 discussions with Mr. Tochilovsky and then he can inform you.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps it's unnecessary, but if the

10 Prosecution would consider to rely on the Jelisic case, of course there

11 might be some problems in relation to the fully adjudicated character of

12 those facts. I'm just asking your attention for that, that if you would

13 consider any further steps in this direction, that the Chamber at least is

14 aware of potential problems in that area.

15 MR. HARMON: We are as well. Yes, Your Honour.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then my next question would be when the

17 Prosecution would be in a position to file the list of witnesses,

18 exhibits, and 92 bis statements, if any. When do you expect that the

19 Prosecution could file those lists?

20 MR. HARMON: We could file those lists with very short notice.

21 However, given the change in counsel situation --


23 MR. HARMON: -- I would like to explore with my colleague from the

24 Defence whether or not this case should go to trial, under what

25 circumstances and the like. But we are prepared for trial. We are ready

Page 42

1 for trial now. Should the Court wish us to file those matters, such as

2 the witness lists and statements, we could do that. But think it would be

3 prudent at this point to get acquainted with my colleague from the Defence

4 and explore matters that may and could possibly result in this matter not

5 going to trial.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So therefore, I do understand that you would be

7 ready on short notice to file it, but perhaps it would be wiser for the

8 Chamber also not to urge you to do it immediately but first wait and see

9 whether the discussions between the parties would create any new

10 perspectives in this case. But if not, then I think it would be -- it

11 would be good to have those lists, under unchanged circumstances, to have

12 these lists not later than mid-July.

13 MR. HARMON: Yes. That is our position. We agree with

14 Your Honour, and we will be prepared to file at the Court's direction.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One of the reasons why I'm perhaps not urging

16 that much the parties at this very moment is that if I look at this case,

17 which is a not-too-complex case compared to other cases that this Tribunal

18 hears, this case could be ready for trial, I would say, at a relatively

19 short term. But if I look at the cases still to be heard by

20 Trial Chamber I which are cases of considerable length, then even if the

21 case would be ready for trial, that would not mean that without additional

22 measures that the trial could really start.

23 So therefore, let's see whether the discussions between the

24 parties bring anything new. And you will understand that if the

25 perspectives for a trial that would start soon in this Tribunal would not

Page 43

1 be available, that it's part of the -- it's part of the policy of this

2 Tribunal to see whether certain cases can be transferred back to the state

3 that were part of the former Yugoslavia. So we would have to consider

4 that issue as well. And I would like the parties to be aware of that,

5 that it's still uncertain how we'll proceed, either in this Tribunal or in

6 whatever other way.

7 Of course it's also clear, I think, to the parties that a full

8 trial takes quite some time, and it will keep the Trial Chamber busy full

9 time; whereas under other circumstances, of course, matters might be

10 speeded up.

11 This is a few -- these are a few observations in view of the

12 perspective of this case, and the Chamber is not very happy that when a

13 case is ready for trial, that it would take considerable time to really

14 start trial. But that's a situation that does exist, and I just cannot

15 change that by giving orders. It's -- it's reality, and we have to see

16 how to cope with that reality.

17 These were the issues I was very much interested to hear about.

18 But of course, it's not only my wishes but also what the parties would

19 like to bring to my attention at this very moment that I would like to

20 hear about.

21 Mr. Bakrac, since you're new, you might have more wishes even than

22 the Prosecution, who is already involved in this case for a longer period

23 of time. Is there anything you'd like to bring to my attention at this

24 moment?

25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I believe that we

Page 44

1 have touched upon all outstanding issues and that the contacts which the

2 Prosecution and the Defence plan to have will help to clarify the

3 situation. In view of what you said just now, Your Honour, the Defence

4 will do its very best, and I undertake to do this, to prepare the case for

5 trial as soon as possible. I have looked at the transcript of the

6 previous Status Conference which was attended by my learned friend when

7 the issue of the possible transfer of this case to one of the former

8 republics, and to that my learned friend replied this trial could be

9 completed quite fast. I agree with this, and I feel that with good

10 cooperation with the Prosecution and the Defence, the case can be prepared

11 quite soon and that this can be done even before the technical

12 pre-conditions are met in the republics of the former Yugoslavia.

13 I feel I have to say this in the interests of my client and his

14 right to an expeditious trial. If we get the case ready for trial and the

15 technical possibilities for a trial in one of the republics of the former

16 Yugoslavia are not yet in place, I believe it's in the interest of my

17 client, in view of his right to an expeditious trial, that the case be

18 completed here before this Tribunal.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Just in order to give you already a brief response to

20 your observations, Mr. Bakrac, the problem in the Tribunal is not that

21 this case could not be heard in a relatively short period of time, but I

22 just refer to the agenda of Trial Chamber I. If you would look at it, you

23 would see that two major cases, both taking at least one year but

24 presumably two years each case, are on the agenda to start soon.

25 Since Trial Chamber I consists of two sections, three Judges in

Page 45

1 each section, they're busy for the next one or two years. So a solution

2 has to be found in whatever way, either transferring the case to other

3 Trial Chambers. But if I look at the agendas of other Trial Chambers, you

4 might see a similar picture. And it's because of this, if you could call

5 it congestion, that of course we have to take into consideration all

6 options, especially since your client is entitled as well to an

7 expeditious trial.

8 So therefore, I mentioned it in order to -- not to hide this major

9 problem from you so that you can take that into consideration as well,

10 that the perspectives in this Trial Chamber are not very optimistic, not

11 very positive, and that the Tribunal has to explore whatever is possible

12 to see that this relatively small case - I'm not saying is unimportant

13 case but not as complex and extensive as other cases - will be dealt with

14 also as soon as possible.

15 I just gave you a small impression about our agenda and of the

16 agenda of the Tribunal as a whole, but I am aware -- of course, I would

17 fully agree that we should not wait to hear cases just for the reason that

18 perhaps in the future there might be a possibility to transfer a case back

19 to one of the republics of the former Yugoslavia, and I think no one would

20 ever have that in his mind. On the other hand, we have the practical

21 problems I just explained to you.

22 Is there anything else you would like to raise at this moment?

23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am deeply grateful for

24 your exhaustive explanation. I have nothing else to raise at present.

25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.

Page 46

1 Mr. Harmon, is there anything the Prosecution would like to raise?

2 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, there is nothing. Thank you.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then, Mr. Cesic, both counsel for the

4 Prosecution and for your defence have raised the issues they thought of

5 importance, but let's not forget it's not their case but it's your case.

6 Is there anything you would like to bring to my attention at this very

7 moment, including whatever concerns you might have about your present

8 conditions in the Detention Unit or your personal situation including

9 health. Is there anything you would like to bring to my attention?

10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] At present, my health is good, and

11 the conditions in the Detention Unit are also good. I have a new Defence

12 counsel, and we have been in contact frequently, and we are working on the

13 case. I leave all formal and legal matters to Mr. Bakrac for now.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand that you rely on counsel and

15 that there are no specific personal matters you would like to raise at

16 this very moment.

17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Please be seated, Mr. Cesic.

19 Since there seems to be nothing on the agenda any more, the

20 Chamber would like to invite the parties to inform the Chamber as to the

21 development of their discussions; not the development, but if it results

22 in anything the Chamber would have to know. You don't have to keep us

23 updated on your discussions, especially not on where you agree and

24 disagree.

25 The Chamber would also like to be informed at the earliest

Page 47

1 possible stage if there would be any agreement on the facts, because that,

2 I take it, will also be part of your discussions apart from other issues.

3 Being there nothing on the agenda any more, we will adjourn.

4 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned

5 at 10.47 a.m.