Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 49

 1                           Tuesday, 17 April 2012

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [Further Appearance]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 3.03 p.m.

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Good afternoon.  Please be seated.

 6                           [The accused entered court]

 7             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good afternoon, Your Honour.

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

10     Vojislav Seselj.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

12             Mr. Seselj, can you hear my words translated into Serbian?

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.

15             Welcome to you and everyone in around the courtroom.  As we have

16     not met before, let me present myself.  I am Stefan Trechsel and I have

17     been appointed by this Chamber to preside over this trial.

18             For the record, Mr. Seselj, would you please identify yourself.

19             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am Dr. Vojislav Seselj,

20     university professor, and the chief enemy of The Hague Tribunal -- the

21     chief and the main enemy of The Hague Tribunal.

22             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Before going further, Mr. Seselj, as there is

23     always news about your health up and down, let me ask you whether you

24     feel fit to stand this appearance?

25             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Trechsel, first of all there is

Page 50

 1     no reason for you to be concerned because the operation that the Western

 2     intelligence services have resorted to, in order to gradually kill me, is

 3     proceeding successfully and my health condition is worse and worse with

 4     every day, but I am in a position to sit in the courtroom today.

 5             But I want to draw your attention to the fact that you better

 6     schedule a trial as soon as possible because I might die before it's

 7     completed, before the American, French, and British intelligence services

 8     manage to achieve their ultimate goal.

 9             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I take cognizance of what you are saying and you

10     can be assured that the Chamber is determined to proceed as speedily as

11     possible with this case.

12             Mr. Seselj, as you certainly know, you have under the statute and

13     the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal the right to remain

14     silent at all times during these proceedings.  Am I right that I assume

15     you will not avail yourself of the right to remain silent?

16             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I hope, Mr. Trechsel, that you are

17     perfectly well informed that in my case remaining silent is out of the

18     question.  Remaining silent is insufferable for me, in life and

19     especially in the courtroom.

20             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  I am aware of that.  I asked you

21     because it is in the Rules that I must recall this.

22             I shall now explain to you the purpose of this hearing and the

23     proceedings to which it belongs.

24             On 29 March 2012, the Trial Chamber issued a decision amending

25     the Order in Lieu of Indictment in this case to include your failure to

Page 51

 1     comply with an order of 3 November 2011, which required you to remove a

 2     confidential submission from your website by 15 November.  On 5 April

 3     2012, you received the Serbian version of this decision.

 4             On the 29th March, the Trial Chamber also ordered that a

 5     Further Appearance be held for the accused to plea in respect of the new

 6     charge.  Pursuant to Rule 50, if an amended indictment includes new

 7     charges and the accused has already appeared before a Trial Chamber in

 8     accordance with Rule 62, a Further Appearance shall be held as soon as

 9     practicable to enable the accused to enter a plea on the new charge or

10     charges.

11             Today's hearing concerns the amended charge of contempt in the

12     Order in Lieu of Indictment.  Specifically it concerns your failure to

13     comply with the order of 3rd November 2011.  I recall that the Order in

14     Lieu of Indictment was originally issued on 9 May 2011, charging you with

15     contempt of the Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77 for failing to comply with

16     orders to remove from your web site three books and confidential

17     submissions which contain information pertaining to protected witnesses.

18             At the Initial Appearance on 6th July 2011, you pleaded not

19     guilty to this charge.  On 21st October 2011, the Trial Chamber amended

20     the Order in Lieu of Indictment to include your failure to comply with an

21     order of 15 July 2011, to remove a fourth book from the web site because

22     it also contains confidential information.

23             A Further Appearance on November 11 2011, the Trial Chamber

24     entered a plea of not guilty on your behalf.

25             Now, Mr. Seselj, have you read and understood the contents of the

Page 52

 1     amended Order in Lieu of Indictment issued on 29 March 2011?

 2             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Trechsel, I believe it is your

 3     duty to read out that order in its entirety and then I would say whether

 4     I understood it and whether I feel guilty or not.

 5             To be quite frank, I received the order in good time, but I was

 6     too lazy to read it.  I had other things to do and other things to read.

 7     I just didn't have time for it.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, you know the proceedings very well.

 9     You're really conversant with them and used to them.  And of course you

10     do, in fact, have the right to have the indictment read out.  And I will

11     invite the Registrar, please, to read out the public version of the

12     Order in Lieu of Indictment.

13             THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you, Your Honour.

14             Order in Lieu of Indictment.  Vojislav Seselj, born in 1954, in

15     Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and currently on trial

16     before the Tribunal, is charged with one count of contempt of the

17     Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77(A) and 77(A)(ii) of the Rules as detailed

18     below.

19             Factual allegations.  Vojislav Seselj is responsible for a

20     web site,, on which he has published confidential

21     information in breach of Chamber orders to remove the information.  The

22     material ordered to be removed are four books written by Vojislav Seselj

23     and six confidential filings in case IT-03-67-T and IT-03-67-R77.2-A, all

24     of which reveal confidential information about a number of protected

25     witnesses.

Page 53

 1             Vojislav Seselj has acknowledged receipt of orders which require

 2     him to remove the books and confidential filings.

 3             As of dates set in the orders, the books and the confidential

 4     filings remained publicly available on the web site.

 5             Charges.  By his acts and omissions, Vojislav Seselj comitted

 6     contempt of the Tribunal, punishable under this Tribunal's inherent power

 7     and Rules 77(A) and 77(A)(ii) of the Rules, for knowingly and wilfully

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

 9     web site confidential information in violation of orders of a Chamber.

10             Thank you, Your Honour.

11             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you, Madam Registrar.

12             Mr. Seselj, have you understood this Order in Lieu of Indictment?

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I understood it ambiguously

14     or in two ways.  I understood the text of the order because it was

15     written in clear language.  But I also understood that since the

16     beginning of the endeavours of the Roman Catholic Inquisition and the

17     establishment of Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the notorious list of

18     forbidden books by the Roman Catholic church, it never happened that an

19     author was held criminally responsible for a larger number of books, and

20     I am proud of that.

21             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Seselj, let me, as it is my duty by virtue

22     of Article 62(A)(ii), to satisfy myself that you have correctly

23     understood the indictment.  Let me explain that this indictment only

24     concerns your refusal to obey the order to remove these books from the --

25     from your web site.  It does not, in fact, concern the contents.  And the

Page 54

 1     original order, you could have - and you have, maybe - appealed against

 2     those orders, but now those orders are in force.  And all this trial is

 3     concerned with is your disobedience.  I think it is as simple as that.

 4             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Trechsel, we understand

 5     each other perfectly well.  The ICTY demands from me that I destroy my

 6     books.  They asked Giordano Bruno, and Galileo Galilei once upon a time

 7     to renounce their theories.  Bruno refused and was burned at the stake.

 8     And Galileo, to save his life, renounced his theories and learning.  I am

 9     not prepared to distance myself from my books, and if I am not prepared

10     to do that, then I am not prepared to destroy them either.

11             Removing them from the web site would mean their destruction, at

12     least in one form of their appearance in public, and I am not going to do

13     that.

14             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  We are not dealing with this right now.

15     Technical these are formal proceedings and that may come up at another

16     stage.  If one reads the transcript, one gets the feeling that you have

17     said the ICTY had asked Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei to renounce

18     their theories, but that, in fact, was not the ICTY.  That was much

19     earlier.  But I think you are aware of that.

20             Mr. Seselj --

21             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Trechsel, I must note that it

22     is up to the quality of your interpreters.  Since I arrived here, I have

23     major objections to the work of your interpreters.  But even the

24     Roman Catholic Inquisition was a kind of international tribunal in its

25     own time.  It had international nature.  Wherever they tried people the

Page 55

 1     judges could be of different nationalities.  The things that mattered was

 2     that they were convinced and faithful Catholics, and they were able to

 3     burn people at the stake.  So there is no essential difference between

 4     the ICTY and the Roman Catholic Church.

 5             On the first day that I appeared here, I drew your attention to

 6     the fact that your uniforms, your robes of judges, irresistibly recall

 7     those of the Roman Catholic Inquisition.

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Your comparison of the Roman Catholic Church and

 9     Court with an international tribunal might be interesting.

10     Unfortunately, this is not the situation and place where we can go on

11     with this discussion.

12             Mr. Seselj, are you prepared to enter a plea today, to say

13     whether you are guilty -- you plead guilty or not, yes or no?

14             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.  I plead not guilty.

15             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Thank you.  And I ask the Registrar to enter a

16     plea of not guilty which is now also on record.

17             The supporting material for the Order in Lieu of Indictment has

18     been served on you, Mr. Seselj.  You have also acknowledged receipt of

19     these papers.  It is not very much indeed.

20             The trial will be scheduled in co-ordination with other cases

21     before this Tribunal.  We will endeavour to hold it as soon as possible,

22     and you will be given further information as to the date of pre-trial

23     conference and the commencement of the trial.

24             Mr. Seselj, do you already have a concept of how you plan to

25     present your Defence, whether you want to call witnesses, how much time

Page 56

 1     you need - if any - to prepare?

 2             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] First of all I want to let you

 3     know, Mr. Trechsel, that I have four status issues to raise at this

 4     conference.  So you should bear that in mind.

 5             Second, concerning the upcoming trial, I already said at the

 6     previous Status Conference or my first appearance, because this is

 7     already my third first appearance in this case, that I intend to testify

 8     myself and that I would call two to three witnesses who are conversant

 9     with the functioning of my web site.

10             As regards my testimony, the chief -- the examination-in-chief

11     would be conducted by my chief legal advisor, MA Dejan Mirovic, attorney

12     at law.  As for the other witnesses, I would examine them myself.  Since

13     the Prosecution is not represented here, the Trial Chamber is in charge.

14     I suppose that it is you and your colleagues who would conduct

15     cross-examination.

16             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  That is the case.  Thank you.  We will probably

17     have the opportunity to go into further detail at a pre-trial conference.

18             This brings our hearing to an end.  I thank everyone in and

19     around the courtroom for their assistance, in particular --

20             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I raise my fourth status

21     issues?  I have warned you that I have four issues concerning status to

22     raise.

23             First, I want to raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction by this

24     Trial Chamber and this Tribunal to prosecute me in this case.  This lack

25     of jurisdiction is based primarily on the illegality of

Page 57

 1     The Hague Tribunal which was founded unlawfully --

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Sorry, Mr. Seselj, you can state these four

 3     status issues but not argue them now because they will have to be heard

 4     by the Chamber.  So it's just a waste of time if you go into argument

 5     now.  Just state the four points in one sentence each.

 6             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.

 7             One thing is what I am going to say before the Trial Chamber at

 8     trial.  However, this is a preliminary stage, and I am making an

 9     objection concerning lack of jurisdiction so that the Trial Chamber

10     should decide on that objection before the trial.  Instead of submitting

11     it in writing I am raising it orally, because these kind of proceedings

12     are abbreviated in nature.  The entire procedure is abbreviated.  It is

13     so abbreviated that we don't even have a Prosecutor here.

14             I just meant to state my objection as to lack of jurisdiction in

15     two or three sentences so that you and your colleagues could decide on it

16     before the beginning of the trial, and then once the trial begins I will

17     go into detail --

18             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Seselj, this is a Tribunal which, although

19     you may not acknowledge it, is very eager to conduct proceedings fairly.

20     And this implies that it is the full Chamber which will have to hear your

21     arguments, not just me today in this First Appearance hearing.  So you

22     may name your four objections, but please do not argue them now because

23     it is loss of time, loss of your words.

24             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. Trechsel.  You and

25     your colleagues can also get all the information from the transcript of

Page 58

 1     today's First Appearance.  It is therefore not necessary, not

 2     indispensable, for your colleagues to be present; otherwise they would

 3     need to be present during my plea.  Because if I had pleaded guilty, they

 4     would have had to be present here in the same moment to make a judgement.

 5             Since I did not plead guilty, I plead not guilty, I am now making

 6     an objection as to lack of jurisdiction.  You, as a Trial Chamber, even

 7     if this Tribunal had been founded regularly, do not have jurisdiction to

 8     conduct these kind of proceedings against me.  That is the gist of my

 9     objection.

10             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Seselj, you said you wanted to raise four

11     points and you would name them.  Now for the fourth or fifth time you

12     have repeated the same challenge to the jurisdiction of this Tribunal.

13     What are the three others ones?  If you want to raise them or to mention

14     them now, then please do so succinctly or otherwise we simply adjourn.

15             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Certainly.  Then I will move to the

16     other three challenges.

17             The second one is actually my demand for the recusal of

18     Judge O-Gon Kwon.  That is also a preliminary issue.  O-Gon Kwon is the

19     Judge who confirmed the fourth indictment against me in January 2003.

20     O-Gon Kwon presided over the first proceedings for contempt of court

21     against me where I was unlawfully convicted.  O-Gon Kwon presided over

22     the second trial for contempt of court against me, where I was again

23     unlawfully convicted.  And now O-Gon Kwon appears as the president in the

24     third trial for contempt of court in my case.  And that is impossible in

25     any civilized country in the world.

Page 59

 1             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  First, you go again into arguments, and I asked

 2     you just to state the objection which you can do in one sentence.

 3     Second, it is me who presides over this trial and not Judge Kwon, as I

 4     have stated in the beginning.  Now your third objection, please.

 5             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My third objection is actually a

 6     request.  In view of the fact that I have been detained for nine years

 7     and two months continuously, and in a civilized world detention is used

 8     to achieve three objectives:  Firstly, to prevent the accused from

 9     fleeing; secondly, from influencing witnesses; and three, to prevent him

10     from repeating the crime.  There is no other way in which detention

11     should restrain me from realising my elementary civic and professional

12     rights.  In Serbia on the 6th of May --

13             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  I take it that your third request is to be

14     released; is that correct?

15             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, no.  Don't fret, Mr. Trechsel.

16     That wouldn't be my request.  My request from the Trial Chamber - and you

17     are the only active Trial Chamber in the first instance that I am dealing

18     with at the moment.  In my main trial the Trial Chamber has completed its

19     work and they will no longer wish to hold any Status Conferences.  In the

20     second proceedings for contempt of court, we are in the appeals stage of

21     the proceedings.  So this is the only first instance active proceedings

22     that is currently taking place.  That is why I am asking -- I am

23     requesting from the Trial Chamber that you preside over -- in view of the

24     fact that on the 6th of May there are elections in Serbia, that I should

25     be allowed to hold a press conference for Serbian journalists by a

Page 60

 1     videolink.

 2             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Your request is on record.  And the fourth

 3     point?

 4             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have to say something else about

 5     this request because the nature of the request is such that I have to

 6     further explain it.  I hope that you understand that I have the right to

 7     elaborate my third request.  How can I expect you to decide on it if I do

 8     not sufficiently explain it.  You want me to finish as soon as possible,

 9     Mr. Trechsel, but this is not smart.  Please be patient and bear with me

10     and you won't have any problems with me.  You may have problems with the

11     gist of what I am saying, but you will not have any procedural issues.

12             Just a little patience, please.

13             I, as a detainee, have the right to perform all of my

14     professional duties, which will not go towards any of the three reasons

15     for detention.  My political party is appearing as a candidate in the

16     elections.  I am the first on the list for parliamentary elections, and

17     my wife, Jadranka Seselj, is already a registered presidential candidate.

18     We all have vested interested -- the two of us have vested interest in me

19     appearing in public in a regular way by means of a videolink.  This would

20     be a negligible cost for The Hague Tribunal.  And it is of the utmost

21     interest for the Serbian Radical Party.

22             I want to be given a chance to explain to the citizens of Serbia

23     why it is important to overthrow the regime in power, and why it is even

24     more important to prevent a --

25             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Mr. Seselj --

Page 61

 1             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] A group of traitors head by

 2     Tomislav Nikolic from taking over.

 3             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  You are now, Mr. Seselj, actually engaging in

 4     political speech and probably addressing people who will be watching this

 5     on the Internet in Serbia and that is not purpose of this hearing.  But

 6     your demand is on record and the Trial Chamber will eventually decide on

 7     it.

 8             Your fourth point.  What was your fourth point?

 9             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I demand that you decide on this

10     issue well in time in order to put in place the conditions for organising

11     a videolink and a press conference by means of that videolink.

12             And the fourth issue that I wish to raise is an objection.  In

13     these proceedings, again my elementary rights are being violated and that

14     right is the right to expeditious trial.  You, yourself, mentioned that

15     the Order in Lieu of Indictment was issued on the 9th of May, 2011.  Why

16     wasn't the trial completed before the 9th of June, 2011?  It has been

17     prolonged and you have been waiting for something new to appear.  If you

18     go on procrastinating like that, the trial will never happen because

19     there will always be something new that will crop up.

20             Imagine a situation where you arrest somebody who comitted a real

21     crime, and then you procrastinate, you hesitate, you do not start the

22     trial against him, and then you create a situation where he repeats his

23     crime again and again and again, and it is all possible if somebody is at

24     large.  The nature of "my crimes," in quotation marks, that are ascribed

25     to me are such that I can commit "those crimes," again in quotation

Page 62

 1     marks, while I am in prison.  Nobody can prevent me from doing that.

 2     Even if I were to be isolated behind 15 locks and if I were prevented any

 3     contact with the outside world, they can still not prevent me from

 4     reoffending, especially due to the fact that The Hague Tribunal is

 5     engaging in sheer nonsense.  They convict me for having published a book

 6     and they order me to remove the book from the Internet site and then --

 7     again you're losing patience, aren't you?

 8             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  Well, I have to see to it that the procedure

 9     runs within its frame, and we have on record your complaint that these

10     proceedings have lasted an undue length of time and that is all what we

11     can do today.  We have it on record and it will be for the Chamber or

12     whoever to decide.

13             Do you have any further points that you want to raise today?

14             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to provide an

15     additional document for my last objection.

16             Imagine, for example, that a Trial Chamber has convicted a person

17     for the crime of murder - and this is my additional argument - and that

18     person is sentenced to a prison sentence, and then in the statement of

19     reasons it is stated that that person is duty-bound to bury the victim of

20     that crime.  Anywhere in the world such judges would be found idiots.

21     And if people at the Hague Tribunal do that, then it is found to be

22     appropriate.  They convict me for having published a book and for putting

23     it on my Internet site, and then they keep on convicting me yet again and

24     again for not wanting to remove that book from the Internet site.  Does

25     that sound normal, to you?

Page 63

 1             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  [Microphone not activated] I am not here to

 2     answer that question, Mr. Seselj.

 3             THE INTERPRETER:  Your Honour, microphone.  Microphone for

 4     Judge Trechsel.

 5             JUDGE TRECHSEL:  The hearing is adjourned.

 6             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You have managed to flee in good

 7     time, Mr. Trechsel.

 8                           --- Whereupon the Further Appearance adjourned at

 9                           3.39 p.m.