Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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 1                           Wednesday, 22 September 2010

 2                           [Initial Appearance]

 3                           [Open session]

 4                           [The accused entered court]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.

 6             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and

 7     gentlemen.  Registrar, could you call the case, please.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honour.  This is case number

 9     IT-98-32/1-R77.2, the Prosecutor versus Jelena Rasic.

10             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Could we have the

11     appearances, please.  Mr. Prosecutor.

12             MR. ROGERS:  Yes.  Good morning, Your Honour.  Good morning to my

13     colleagues in the courtroom.  Paul Rogers appearing on behalf of the

14     Prosecution, together with my learned friend Mr. Kyle Wood and our

15     Case Manager today, Ms. Jasmina Bosnjakovic.

16             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you.  For Ms. Rasic.

17             MS. TAPUSKOVIC:  Good morning, Your Honours.  My name is

18     Mira Tapuskovic.  I'm the attorney-at-law from Belgrade.  Today I'm going

19     to represent as duty counsel Jelena Rasic during Initial Appearance.

20     Thank you.

21             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you.

22             Mrs. Rasic, can you hear the proceedings in a language you

23     understand?

24             THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]

25             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I believe the microphone wasn't

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 1     on.  I'm going to ask you repeat so that this is on the transcript.

 2             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I had trouble finding the channel

 3     with Serbian interpretation, but now it's fine.  Thank you.

 4             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Please tell me if you

 5     have any other problem, and don't hesitate to let me know about it if you

 6     do.

 7             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.

 8             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] This is Mrs. Jelena Rasic's

 9     Initial Appearance according to Rule 62 of the Rules of Procedure and

10     Evidence of the ICTY.  The indictment against Mrs. Rasic has been

11     examined and confirmed by a Judge of this Tribunal on the 26th of August,

12     2010.  This case has been assigned to a Trial Chamber on the

13     16th of September, 2010, and since the Judges sitting on this Chamber

14     were unable to attend today, I am sitting today as a Duty Judge pursuant

15     to Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

16             Mrs. Rasic was transferred to the Tribunal on the 20th

17     of September, 2010.

18             Mrs. Rasic, could you stand up, please, and answer the following

19     questions.  Is your microphone on?

20             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It is.

21             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation]  Can you give me your first name

22     and last name, please.

23             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Jelena Rasic.

24             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Your date and place of birth.

25             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 19th of April, 1983, in Sibenik,

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 1     Croatia.

 2             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mrs. Rasic, pursuant to the

 3     Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of this Tribunal, you are

 4     entitled to remain silent throughout the entire proceedings.  A duty

 5     counsel has been assigned to assist you during this hearing,

 6     Mrs. Tapuskovic.

 7             Are you satisfied with the counsel that has been assigned?

 8             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am, yes.

 9             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Have you had the indictment in

10     your own language?

11             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have.

12             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Did your counsel explain to you

13     what was contained in the indictment and the counts described therein

14     against you?

15             I think you need to repeat your answer.

16             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] She did, yes.

17             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mrs. Rasic, do you have any health

18     problems or any other problems relating to your detention?

19             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't.

20             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] You may sit down, Mrs. Rasic.

21             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.

22             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I noted that the indictment had

23     been filed confidentially.  Can this indictment be made public?  Is

24     anything standing in the way of lifting the confidentiality of this

25     indictment?

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 1             MR. ROGERS:  Your Honour, no.  There's -- there's nothing

 2     standing in the way of removing the confidentiality on this indictment.

 3     Indeed, it should be made public.  Your Honour will note the -- within it

 4     the references to X and Y.  My learned friend and her client know who

 5     those individuals are.  There's no need for them to be named or mentioned

 6     in public for reasons which Your Honour and my learned friends are aware.

 7             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation]  And these have already been

 8     identified for the purposes of the Tribunal.

 9             Mrs. Tapuskovic.

10             MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do not oppose the

11     lifting of confidentiality in respect of the indictment.  The identity of

12     the witnesses stated in the indictment will be kept confidential by both

13     myself and my client.  So I do agree that the confidentiality status be

14     lifted.  Thank you.

15             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation]  Thank you.  So if there are no

16     objections, I order the lifting of the confidentiality status of the

17     indictment.

18             The accused is entitled to a reading out of the indictment in a

19     language she understands.  You can, however, waive this right and accept

20     that a summary of the indictment be read out.

21             Ms. Tapuskovic, does your client wish to have the indictment read

22     out in its entirety?

23             MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since in the course

24     of the two yesterday's visits we went through the indictment twice, my

25     client agrees that the indictment need not be read out in its entirety

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 1     but only in summary.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] We shall therefore have a reading

 3     of the summary of the indictment.

 4             Madam Registrar, do you have a summary of the indictment?

 5                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

 6             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar will read out the

 7     summary of the indictment.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Prosecutor versus Rasic, summary of the

 9     indictment.

10             The indictment alleges that at all material times, Mrs. Rasic was

11     acting as a member of the Milan Lukic Defence --

12             THE INTERPRETER:  Can the Registrar please read out slowly for

13     the benefit of the interpreters.  The interpreters do not have the text

14     of the summary.

15             THE REGISTRAR:  I will.  Thank you.

16             Count 1 of the indictment alleges that on -- on or about

17     18th October 2008, Mrs. Rasic met Zuhdija Tabakovic in Sarajevo,

18     Bosnia and Herzegovina, and showed Mr. Tabakovic a pre-prepared witness

19     statement for use in the Lukic and Lukic case.  Mrs. Rasic asked

20     Mr. Tabakovic if he would sign the statement in exchange for 1.000 euros.

21     Mrs. Rasic promised Mr. Tabakovic more money if he testified in

22     accordance with the statement on behalf of Milan Lukic.

23             On 20th October 2008, Mrs. Rasic met with Mr. Tabakovic who

24     signed multiple copies of the statement.  The statement was false, as

25     Mr. Tabakovic had no knowledge of the events described in the statement.

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 1     Mrs. Rasic gave Mr. Tabakovic 1.000 euros.

 2             Count 2 of the indictment alleges that on 18th October 2008,

 3     Mrs. Rasic showed Mr. Tabakovic two other pre-prepared statements for use

 4     in the Lukic and Lukic case.  Mrs. Rasic offered Mr. Tabakovic a reward

 5     to find other men born in Visegrad to sign these false statements.

 6     Mr. Tabakovic agreed to find other men to sign -- to sign the statements.

 7             Counts 3 and 4 of the indictment allege that on a date between

 8     17th and 24th October 2008, Mr. Tabakovic met with Mr. X and Mr. Y and

 9     asked each man whether he would be willing to -- to sign a statement in

10     exchange for payment of 1.000 euros.  Both agreed to sign a statement

11     knowing that he would be providing a false statement.

12             On 23rd October 2008, Mr. Tabakovic introduced Mr. X and Mr. Y to

13     it Mr. -- to Mrs. Rasic.  Mr. X and Mr. Y signed the statements and each

14     received 1.000 euros.

15             Count 5 of the indictment alleges that between 23rd October and

16     6 December 2008, Mrs. Rasic returned to Sarajevo with revised versions of

17     the false statements signed by Mr. Tabakovic, Mr. X and Mr. Y.

18             THE INTERPRETER:  Please slow down.

19             THE REGISTRAR:  Mrs. Rasic gave Mr. Tabakovic three unsigned

20     revised statements and asked him to sign his own statement and to ask

21     Mr. X and Mr. Y to sign theirs.  Each statement was false.  All three

22     statements, dated 5 December 2008, were signed and returned to

23     Mrs. Rasic.

24             On 20th January 2009, lead counsel for Milan Lukic gave copies of

25     the signed 5th December 2008 statements to the Prosecution.

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 1             As a result of the allegations contained in the indictment,

 2     Mrs. Rasic is charged with five counts of contempt of the Tribunal

 3     punishable under this Tribunal's inherent powers and Rule 77(A) of the

 4     Rules for knowingly and wilfully interfering with the administration of

 5     justice.

 6             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.

 7             We shall now move on to the arguments relating to the counts of

 8     the indictment.

 9             Pursuant to Rule 62(A)(iii) of the Rules of Procedure and

10     Evidence of the Tribunal, you may choose to plead guilty or not guilty as

11     regards each count of the indictment.  You may do so right now, or you

12     may do so within 30 days as of today.  If you do not plead either way

13     today or during an appearance at a later stage, the Trial Chamber will

14     note on your behalf that this amounts to a plea of not guilty.

15             Ms. Tapuskovic, does your client wish to plead today or at a

16     later stage?

17             MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, she would like

18     to plead today.

19             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you.

20             Mrs. Rasic, could you stand up, please.  Can you tell us what you

21     are pleading.  Are you pleading guilty or not guilty?

22             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I plead not guilty on

23     all -- all the counts of the indictment.

24             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you.  You may sit down.

25             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.

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 1             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar, can you note that

 2     Mrs. Rasic has pleaded not guilty on each count of the indictment.

 3             I must now remind the Prosecutor that pursuant to Rule 66(A)(i)

 4     of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, he must disclose to the Defence

 5     within 30 days in a language that the accused understands a copy of all

 6     the annexes of the indictment when this has been confirmed, as well as

 7     all the prior statements of the accused's that have been received.

 8             I would also like to remind the Defence that once it has received

 9     all these documents, it will have 30 days to file its preliminary

10     motions.

11             The Trial Chamber which is seized of this case will set the date

12     for our next hearing, and you will be advised in due course.

13             Are there any questions which either party wishes to raise before

14     we adjourn for today?

15             MR. ROGERS:  Your Honours, the only matter that I would just

16     raise is I think that the -- under the Rules the time limit relating to

17     the provision of -- oh, yes.  The filing of preliminary motions - I'm

18     sorry - doesn't run until permanent counsel has been assigned to

19     Ms. Rasic under Rule 72(A)(iv), and it's 10 days, not 30 days, because

20     under Rule 77 the time limits were truncated for contempt cases, and so

21     the 30-day time limits in many of the aspects of the Rules have been

22     replaced with a 10-day time limit.  But so far as the provision of

23     materials to the Defence is concerned, we have already provided most of

24     it.  There is a small amount that -- that will be forthcoming within the

25     next ten days.  So all of that will be complied with in any event.

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 1             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mrs. Rasic is entitled to choose a

 2     permanent counsel or to represent herself, and she has 30 days in which

 3     to do this.  In addition, the deadline I mentioned only runs once a

 4     permanent counsel has been assigned.

 5             Mrs. Tapuskovic.

 6             MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.  I would

 7     only like to confirm what my learned friend Mr. Rogers stated.  Yesterday

 8     in my contacts with the Prosecution, I received most of the supporting

 9     material accompanying the indictment, and we agreed that the remainder

10     would be disclosed to me or, rather, to another Defence counsel should

11     Ms. Rasic choose another one within the -- in the course of the next

12     couple of days, and we agreed that Ms. Rasic would receive her copy of

13     the supporting material now.  Thank you.

14             JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

15             Are there any further questions?

16             If there are no further questions, the court stands adjourned for

17     today.

18                           --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned

19                           at 9.22 a.m.