Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 17

 1                           Friday, 4 November 2011

 2                           [Further Appearance]

 3                           [Open session]

 4                           [The accused entered court]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 2.59 p.m.

 6             JUDGE HALL:  Good afternoon.  Mr. Registrar, would you please

 7     call the case.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you, Your Honour.  Good afternoon,

 9     Your Honour.  This is case number IT-03-67-R77.4-I, in the matter of

10     Vojislav Seselj.

11             JUDGE HALL:  Mr. Seselj, would you be so kind as to confirm that

12     you can hear the proceedings in a language that you understand?

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I can follow the proceedings

14     but exclusively in Serbian and at the moment I'm receiving Serbian

15     translation.

16             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you.

17             And for the record, would you please identify yourself.

18             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Dr. Vojislav Seselj, university

19     professor and the biggest enemy of The Hague Tribunal.

20             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you.  This, of course, is not new to you, but

21     for the record, I'm to inform you that under the Statute and the Rules of

22     Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal, you, Mr. Seselj, have the right

23     to remain silent at all times during these proceedings.

24             The Trial Chamber has been informed that you did not promptly

25     receive the decision dated the 21st of October of this year, whereby the

Page 18

 1     Chamber amended the Order in Lieu of Indictment, issued on the

 2     9th of May, 2011.  However, the Chamber has been informed that you did

 3     receive the decision and signed for it on the 1st of November, 2011.

 4             And unless you have something -- an observation to make about

 5     that, I will continue.

 6             The background to today's hearing is as follows:  The Order in

 7     Lieu of Indictment issued on the 9th of May charges Mr. Seselj with

 8     contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 67 [sic] for failing to comply

 9     with orders to remove from his website, inter alia, three of books which

10     include -- which allegedly include confidential information.

11             At an Initial Appearance on the 6th of July of this year,

12     Mr. Seselj pleaded not guilty to this charge.

13             On the 15th of July, 2011, the Chamber ordered Mr. Seselj to

14     remove from his website by the 8th of August a fourth book, which

15     allegedly also contains confidential information.  This was not done, and

16     in the decision of the 21st of October referred to earlier, the Chamber

17     amended the Order in Lieu of Indictment to include Mr. Seselj's failure

18     to comply with the order of the 15th of July.

19             In addition to what I've said, the Trial Chamber will use this

20     opportunity as a Status Conference in the present case.

21             By Rule 50, if an amended indictment includes new charges and the

22     accused has already appeared before a Trial Chamber in accordance with

23     Rule 62, a further appearance shall be held as soon as practicable to

24     enable the accused to enter a plea on the new charges.  Therefore,

25     because today's hearing concerns the amended charge of contempt of the

Page 19

 1     Tribunal, as set out in the said Order in Lieu of Indictment of the

 2     21st of October, 2011, specifically insofar as it now charges you with

 3     contempt for failing to comply with the order of the 15th of July, 2011.

 4             By Rule 77(E), in relation to contempt proceedings, an accused

 5     will be called upon to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on each count

 6     of the indictment within ten days of the Initial Appearance.  And

 7     pursuant to Rule 62(A)(iii), an accused may decide to immediately enter

 8     such plea.

 9             Mr. Seselj, if you do not enter a plea today, the Trial Chamber

10     would be obliged to enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf under

11     Rule 62(A)(iv).  So, I would first ask whether you have read and

12     understood the contents of the amended Order in Lieu of Indictment dated

13     the 21st of October, 2011.

14             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, I have received this

15     Order in Lieu of Indictment.  I have read it but I didn't comprehend it.

16     The reason being because the Registrar has deprived me of my privileged

17     communications with my legal counsel.  As far as I know, ever since the

18     high Tribunal was established, it never happened that an accused appeared

19     for the first time without first being given the possibility to exercise

20     a right to legal aid should he wish to do that.

21             I am in need of legal assistance.  I have my legal advisors, but

22     I am prevented from communicating with them in a privileged manner or, in

23     other words, in the manner that is practiced worldwide.  On several

24     occasions I served prison terms in the old Yugoslav Titoist communist

25     regime, but even then I had never been deprived of the right to have my

Page 20

 1     privileged communications with my Defence attorney.  They did wire-tap

 2     me, which I later found out from my dossier, they even listened into my

 3     privileged communications with my lawyer, but they didn't dare use that

 4     against me.

 5             However, in this particular instance, we have something that

 6     didn't even exist in Hitler's judiciary.  We know that Hitler killed

 7     millions of people without trial.  However, if we -- if he decided to put

 8     them on trial, he respected the procedure.  We can see that from the case

 9     of the famous Bulgarian communist leader Georgi Dimitrov and his trial.

10             For the umpteenth time I am faced with a problem posed by the

11     Registrar.  He is interfering in the proceedings, which he mustn't do.

12     Based on his suspicion that I may have abused my communication with my

13     legal advisor, he issued an order to the effect of what is going to be

14     put up on my site and he also rendered a decision to deprive me of my

15     communication with my legal advisor.  Only on the basis of his suspicion.

16     If he has proof that this is true, then a legal advisor is liable for

17     punishment.

18             For five years I was deprived of receiving visits by my wife

19     because the Prosecution was suspicious of me sending some information via

20     her to Belgrade.  Then there was this journalist, Anastasijevic or

21     whatever his name was, said that it was me who ordered a grenade to be

22     planted at his window.  You know that Tomislav Nikolic, the famous

23     traitor, said two years ago that I had ordered his assassination, and

24     later on the competent judicial organ issued an order stating that there

25     was no base to that.

Page 21

 1             In international criminal law, one of the human rights that

 2     enjoys the highest degree of protection is the right to legal aid which

 3     involves a privileged communication with people providing legal

 4     assistance.  Therefore, I believe that conditions are not being met today

 5     for this Initial Appearance.

 6             Secondly, on Monday you told me and read to me the judgement

 7     based on the previous contempt of court trial.  I decided to appeal this

 8     judgement, but how can I do that if I don't have any legal assistance?

 9     My aim is to prove that no reasonable trier would render such a judgement

10     that you and Mr. Morrison delivered.  In this proceedings as well, I need

11     and must prove that you are not reasonable people because you are

12     rendering unreasonable decisions.  I need to arrange with my advisors to

13     check the -- your background, the background of Judge Morrison, so that

14     we can maybe find out -- and Judge Kwon as well, that there is something

15     in your past that must be held against you.

16             Based on international common law, I'm entitled to have access to

17     all the information pertaining to the previous judgement and my appeal.

18     How can I do that?  I have no Internet access.  I have no communication

19     with my advisor.  Well, you can tell me now, you can call them on a

20     land-line, but they are going to listen into those conversations.  And,

21     Mr. Hall, I don't want you and your colleagues, Mr. Morrison and

22     Mr. Kwon, to know in advance what I managed to discover about you which

23     will prove that you were not reasonable people, and to find out which

24     argument I was going to use or not.  Maybe I would discover some

25     abhorrent arguments that I would discard and not use them, but I don't

Page 22

 1     want you to know what kind of dilemmas I'm facing.  When I decide to file

 2     an appeal against your judgement, I'm going to move for your

 3     disqualification.

 4             And thirdly, if you say that if I don't enter a plea today you

 5     will enter a plea of not guilty and this is contrary to the rules of

 6     procedure and then within ten days you will have to set up a new

 7     appearance.  Perhaps I can enter a plea today but I cannot do that

 8     because I have no communication with my legal advisors.  I need to

 9     consult them about everything.  And only after that can I enter a plea.

10             I'm not going to exercise my rights to remain silent.  This is an

11     active Defence case, not a silent case, but before that occurs I need to

12     have legal assistance.  If Tomislav Nikolic managed to deceive the whole

13     Serbian public and all of that was published on front pages in Serbia, to

14     the effect that it was I who ordered his assassination from The Hague,

15     and then later on it turned out that Tomislav Nikolic was just a liar and

16     that I had never sent such an order from The Hague, and if it turned out

17     that all the previous suspicions and assumptions were baseless, how can

18     you then take the Registrar's word when he says he is a suspicious

19     person?

20             For nine years Mr. John Hocking has been denying me various

21     rights and that goes back even to the time when he was not a Registrar,

22     when he was only a Legal Officer for Detention Unit or legal aid unit.

23     How long is this going to take?  And how long will I be obliged to bear

24     this?

25             Everybody can have their suspicions but we have to deal here only

Page 23

 1     with solid evidence and nothing else.  Does the Registrar have any proof

 2     that I abused my legal advisors?  If he has this kind of evidence, then

 3     he can say this so and so cannot be his legal advisor any longer.  But he

 4     prefers to deprive me of my possibility to present my case based solely

 5     on his suspicions.  This is what I wanted to say.

 6             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you.  If I may summarise what I understand you

 7     to have just said, it is that you have certain -- you've indicated

 8     certain things about your intention to appeal a decision that was

 9     rendered.  That is a separate case and I will say nothing further about

10     that.  You will act as you are best advised to do.

11             In terms of your complaints about the Registrar not having --

12     well, having failed to provide you with such legal representation as is

13     necessary -- legal assistance, I should say, as is necessary to enable

14     you to deal with this matter, everything that you have said, of course,

15     has been stated in open court on the record, and the Registrar is thus

16     informed of your position and he will no doubt act accordingly and, if

17     necessary, make a report to the Trial Chamber.

18             But I will continue with the present proceedings and the next

19     thing that I must inquire of you is whether you waive the right to have

20     the Order in Lieu of Indictment read out.  It is your right to have it

21     read out in its entirety.  What do you choose?

22             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do not waive my right to

23     anything, Mr. Hall.  In fact, I insist that the Order in Lieu of

24     Indictment be read to me in its entirety.  When I read, I didn't

25     understand it.  Perhaps I won't understand it today either, but before

Page 24

 1     you permit me to plead, I would like to be able to have normal

 2     communication with my legal advisors.  And of course I expect you to read

 3     the Order in Lieu of Indictment right away and then I will decide whether

 4     I will plead guilty or not guilty.  I know the way I work.

 5                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

 6             JUDGE HALL:  I would now ask the Registrar to read out the public

 7     version of the Order in Lieu of Indictment.  Mr. Registrar.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 9             This is the Order in Lieu of an Indictment.

10             Vojislav Seselj, born in 1954 in Sarajevo, Republic of

11     Bosnia-Herzegovina, and currently on trial before the Tribunal is charged

12     with one count of contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77(A) and

13     Rule 77(A)(ii) of the Rules as detailed below.

14             The factual allegations.

15             Vojislav Seselj was ordered to remove various documents revealing

16     confidential information about a number of protected witnesses from case

17     number IT-03-67 from his website.  The documents to be removed included

18     four books authored by Vojislav Seselj and five filings made by him in

19     case number IT-03-67-T, case number IT-03-67-R77.3, and case number

20     IT-03-67-R77.2A.

21             Vojislav Seselj acknowledged receipt of the Appeals Chamber's

22     decision and the Chamber's orders to remove the confidential information

23     from his website on 5 January 2010 --

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the Registrar kindly slow down in

25     reading.  The French booth does not have the document.  Thank you.

Page 25

 1             THE REGISTRAR:  -- 2 February 2011, 21 February 2011, and 18 July

 2     2011 respectively.

 3             As of 9 May, the four books and the five filings remained

 4     available on Vojislav Seselj's website.

 5             Charges.

 6             By his acts and omissions, Vojislav Seselj committed contempt of

 7     the Tribunal punishable under this Tribunal's inherent powers and

 8     Rules 77(A) and 77(A)(ii) of the Rules, for knowingly and willfully

 9     interfering with the administration of justice by failing to remove from

10     the website confidential information in violation of orders of the

11     Chamber.

12             Thank you.

13             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

14             Mr. Seselj, although we know your answer from your lengthy

15     earlier statement, I am, in order to keep the procedure on track, now

16     formally required to point out to you that having been charged with one

17     count of contempt of the Tribunal, punishable under Rule 77, for

18     knowingly and willfully failing to comply with the Tribunal's order to

19     remove confidential information from your website, ask you whether you

20     plead guilty or not guilty.  And do I correctly infer from what you have

21     said that you will not enter a plea today?

22             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, how can I plead when I

23     did not understand?  I did not understand anything of what the Registrar

24     read and I did not understand your last sentence.  I need legal

25     assistance in order to be able to understand that and you are not

Page 26

 1     providing me with legal assistance.  How can I plead about something that

 2     could cost me a sentence of seven years' imprisonment and I did not

 3     understand what I'm being charged with?  I did not understand and I

 4     cannot understand without legal assistance.  I require legal assistance.

 5     I require the legal assistance of those legal experts in whom I trust.

 6             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you.  Well, I would repeat what I said

 7     earlier, that under the Rules you have ten days within which to so enter

 8     a plea.

 9             Pursuant to Rule 66(A)(i) and 77(E), you are -- you are required

10     to be provided in a language that you understand copies of the supporting

11     material accompanying the indictment, and since you already signed

12     several proces-verbal confirming reception of the relevant material

13     supporting the amended Order in Lieu of Indictment, the Trial Chamber

14     need not order the Registry to provide you with any further material.

15             The trial in this matter, should a trial having regard to the --

16     such plea as is entered have to be scheduled, will be scheduled in

17     co-ordination with other cases before the Tribunal.  And the -- I'm not

18     unmindful, Mr. Seselj, of what you would have said earlier about the

19     difficulties that you have not having the benefit of such legal

20     assistance as you would require.  But nevertheless, I would ask whether

21     you are in a position to indicate today how long it would -- you would

22     need to prepare a defence?  If you are able to answer.

23             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, that's impossible.  I

24     have already indicated that I intend to request your disqualification, as

25     well as the disqualification of O-Gon Kwon and Howard Morrison,

Page 27

 1     argumenting that you are not able to reach a reasonable judgement.  And I

 2     have evidence that you in previous cases did not behave reasonably and

 3     reach reasonable judgements.

 4             But first of all, I need to consult with my legal assistants.  I

 5     don't know which arguments I'm going to employ.  And your intention to

 6     complete these proceedings very quickly will not be able to happen

 7     because, first of all, I'm going to submit my submission, then the

 8     president of the Tribunal will review it and then a special commission

 9     will have to be formed.  It's a long procedure and it will have to be

10     respected all the way.  But before we even begin such a procedure, we

11     have to reinstate my privileged communication with my legal assistants,

12     my legal advisors.

13             JUDGE HALL:  I note your response, Mr. Seselj.

14             The next thing that I must inquire of you having regard to the

15     nature of this exercise is whether you have any complaints or

16     observations to make about the conditions of your detention, and whether

17     you have -- whether there are any health concerns that you have with

18     which you wish to bring to the attention of the Trial Chamber.

19             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm not going to speak about my

20     health but I do have some problems in detention.  Again some newspapers

21     are busily writing about how we, The Hague prisoners, are living well in

22     detention, how we are cooking, frying, preparing food in all sorts of

23     ways and so on and so forth, and that some of us are actually enjoying

24     very much the preparation of food, and this really muddies our reputation

25     us Hague suspects, the accused, because we are entitled to the

Page 28

 1     presumption of innocence and the fact that we are being tortured every

 2     day by food that is given to us every day that even pigs would not eat

 3     and that we have to throw out every day and then we manage in best way

 4     that we can.  Some people cook, some people don't.  Somebody cooks

 5     sometimes for me, but most often, I have to open tins of food.  And

 6     nobody is doing anything to resolve this matter of food so that the food

 7     is adequate for human beings.

 8             The accused or -- who are just three metres away from us, those

 9     from the ICC have incomparably better food than we do.  The food for the

10     prison guards is also incomparably better than what we are receiving.

11     What we have is food prepared several months earlier, frozen, reheated,

12     and quite terrible.  Nobody is able to eat it.  In detention, those who

13     do not have money to buy the food are going hungry.  There are people who

14     are starving in prison or they are in a position to beg others who do

15     have some money to help them.  That is becoming completely unbearable.

16             And I forgot to say another thing, a few years ago we also

17     objected to the bad food and then they brought some independent expert

18     from Sweden.  He was brought by the then Registrar Hans Holthuis or

19     Holthuis or whatever his name was, and that monster from Sweden ate

20     something in front of us which we did not even -- we couldn't even watch

21     it we were so disgusted.  And I think somebody here at the Tribunal

22     should bring samples of that food that we are getting in the

23     Detention Unit every day so that this matter can be resolved once and for

24     all.  We are subjected to the most serious torture by being denied food

25     and that is why we have to deal with it in the best possible way that we

Page 29

 1     can.  Many have had medical problems because of this.

 2             JUDGE HALL:  Again, the Registrar would have the benefit of your

 3     complaints made today on the record and would investigate and as

 4     necessary make a report to the Chamber.

 5             Is there anything else that you wish to raise today, Mr. Seselj?

 6             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, I do not wish to start any

 7     issues today because I would not be able to complete them.  So all that I

 8     wish to say for today I have said.

 9             JUDGE HALL:  Thank you.

10             Before we adjourn, there's just one other thing I have to point

11     out, and I'm not forgetting everything that you have said earlier about

12     your inability to deal with the procedural aspects of this matter until

13     you would have had the benefit of the assistance -- legal assistance that

14     you need, but nevertheless, I'm obliged to point out to you that in these

15     proceed, preliminary motions under Rule 72(A) are to be filed within

16     10 days from receiving the supporting material.

17             And with that, we will rise.  Thank you.

18                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.30 p.m.