Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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 1                          Monday, 16 July 2007

 2                          [Further appearance]

 3                          [Open session]

 4                          [The accused entered court]

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

 6            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Good morning, everyone.

 7            I would like the registrar to call the case.

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

 9    IT-05-87/1-I, the Prosecutor versus Vlastimir Djordjevic.

10            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.  And could I please ask for

11    the appearances for the parties?

12            MR. HANNIS:  Thank you, Your Honour.  Tom Hannis on behalf of the

13    Office of the Prosecutor, assisted by our case manager, Susan Grogan, this

14    morning.  Thank you.

15            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Welcome to you and for the Defence?

16            MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.  Good

17    morning to my colleagues.  I'm Jelena Nikolic, temporarily assigned

18    counsel for Mr. Vlastimir Djordjevic.

19            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you, Ms. Nikolic.

20            Well, and good morning to you, Mr. Djordjevic.  We are here today

21    to finish the initial appearance which we started a couple of weeks ago,

22    and in which you, Mr. Djordjevic, chose to postpone your entry of your

23    plea for 30 days until today.  So what we are going to do today is to have

24    your plea to the charges raised against you in the indictment, formally

25    entered in the books of this Court.

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 1            So I guess there are a couple of issues which I would like to ask

 2    you before we move to the entry of your plea, and the first issue, of

 3    course, is the question of counsel, and I'm putting my question to you,

 4    Ms. Nikolic.  What is the status about the choice of counsel for the

 5    accused?  Could you please brief us?

 6            MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have limited

 7    information about this.  As you know, I have been appointed as the on-duty

 8    counsel and as far as I have been informed by Mr. Djordjevic, the

 9    procedure to choose a Defence counsel is underway and I'm unable at this

10    point to tell you when that will be completed.

11            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.  Have you had a chance

12    actually to discuss the indictment with Mr. Djordjevic?

13            MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.  We discussed the

14    indictment, and Mr. Djordjevic read the indictment.  We discussed it and

15    he understands fully all the counts of the indictment against him.

16            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.  I think I should hear this

17    from you directly, Mr. Djordjevic:  Did you receive the files that we

18    ordered the Prosecution to disclose to you and have you had a chance to

19    study this material in the two or three weeks which have gone by since we

20    had our first initial appearance?  And have you understood fully the

21    charges raised against you in the indictment?

22            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I received all the material from the

23    Prosecution, and I have read it, and I understand what the indictment and

24    the material is about, yes.

25            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.  I'm glad for this.  And in

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 1    the decision that we took after the first initial appearance last time, I

 2    ordered that the time limit for filing of possible preliminary motions

 3    only starts to run once a permanent counsel has been assigned to you.

 4            So I hope that you will solve or have solved the problem of your

 5    choice of counsel very soon so that we can, so to say, begin working on

 6    the preparation of the case.  But for now, as I said, we will proceed to

 7    the entry of your plea to the charges, and it's according to the rules,

 8    Rule 62, that we shall have to do this today.  We cannot postpone once

 9    again.  So the moment has come where you have to enter your plea, and if

10    you do not wish to enter a plea, then I am, according to the rules,

11    obliged to enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf.  Have you understood

12    this?

13            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I understand that and I will plead

14    at this time.

15            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Very well.  Then the only issue that remains is

16    the issue of how you wish to proceed.  The normal thing would be to have

17    the indictment read out to you in its entirety, but you can waive this

18    right and I shall then instead briefly summarise the charges against you.

19    Do you wish to have the indictment read out to you in its entirety?

20            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No.  I do not wish to have the

21    indictment read, and I can plead right away.

22            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.

23            Any observations from the Prosecution?

24            MR. HANNIS:  No, Your Honour, thank you.

25            JUDGE HARHOFF:  In that case, we will proceed.

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 1            Your case is related to the trial against Milutinovic and others,

 2    and you are all together charged with a number of crimes relating to the

 3    acts that took place in Kosovo in 1999.

 4            Count 1 of the indictment against you charges you with deportation

 5    as a crime against humanity.  This is punishable under Article 5(d) of the

 6    Statute, and you are charged for this for organising the forcible

 7    deportation of approximately 800.000 Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999, by

 8    forcing them out of their homes and across the borders into the

 9    neighbouring countries of Albania, Macedonia and Serbia.

10            Mr. Djordjevic, do you plead guilty or not guilty to this charge?

11            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

12            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.  And we will enter a plea of

13    not guilty to count 1.

14            Count 2 charges you on the basis of the same acts with other

15    inhumane acts taking the form of forcible transfer, also as a crime

16    against humanity, punishable under Article 5(i) of the Statute.

17            Mr. Djordjevic, do you plead guilty or not guilty to this count?

18            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

19            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.

20            Count 3 charges you with murder, also as a crime against humanity,

21    through widespread, systematic and coordinated actions throughout the

22    province of Kosovo punishable under Article 5(a) of the Statute by

23    shooting, shelling, burning or beating to death many hundreds of Kosovo

24    Albanian civilians and other persons not taking any active part in the

25    hostilities, and the names of the victims are included in the schedules A

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 1    through K which are annexed to the indictment.

 2            Mr. Djordjevic, do you plead guilty or not guilty to this charge?

 3            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.

 4            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.

 5            Count 4 also charges you on the basis of these same acts with

 6    murder as a violation of the laws and customs of war punishable under

 7    Article 3 of the Statute and recognised by Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva

 8    Conventions.  Do you, Mr. Djordjevic, plead guilty or not guilty to this

 9    count?

10            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.

11            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.

12            And the fifth and final count raised against you in the indictment

13    charges you with persecution as a crime against humanity, punishable under

14    Article 5(h) of the Statute for executing a campaign of persecution

15    against the Kosovo Albanian population, including Kosovo Albanian

16    civilians based on political, racial or religious grounds, for the

17    forcible deportation and transfer of approximately 800.000 Kosovo Albanian

18    civilians and for the murder of hundreds of Kosovo Albanian civilians and

19    other persons taking no active part in the hostilities and for the sexual

20    assaults by forces of the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia of

21    Kosovo Albanian women, and finally for the wanton destruction or damage of

22    the religious sites of Kosovo Albanians.

23            Do you plead guilty or not guilty to this count, Mr. Djordjevic?

24            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.

25            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much, Mr. Djordjevic.  This

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 1    completes the entry of your plea and you have now plead not guilty to all

 2    five counts raised in the indictment.

 3            I don't know if you have any matters that you wish to raise before

 4    we adjourn this hearing.  Please do so.

 5            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] When the first initial appearance

 6    was held, I gave inadvertently wrong information about the place where I

 7    was at the time of the arrest.  I said that I was in Belgrade in the

 8    street called Beogradskog Bataljona 39 which is where my former residence

 9    is located.  I wish to inform you that I left my family in May of 2001,

10    following which I stayed in a number of foreign countries.  On the -- in

11    2003, I returned to Montenegro and until the moment of my arrest, I stayed

12    in -- I had stayed in various places throughout Montenegro.  One year, in

13    the period one year before my arrest, I stayed in Budva in the street

14    called Veliki Vinogradi in a newly-built building there.  I also wish to

15    say that none of the authorities or state organs in Montenegro were aware

16    of my stay in that country.

17            JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.  This is very useful

18    information.  Do you have any comments to make in respect of your

19    detention?

20            THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No comments concerning the

21    conditions of my detention except the problems that I have in relation to

22    engaging counsel, who would be court-appointed.  I'm in contact with the

23    Registry and we are now going through all the conditions and requirements

24    for counsel to be appointed.  I hope that the Registry will accept my

25    requirements so that counsel can be appointed.  There are some problems

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 1    there, but I hope that the Registry staff will be able to resolve this.

 2    Thank you.

 3            JUDGE HARHOFF:  I hope so too.  Because it is important that you

 4    get a counsel as soon as possible so that you will have a chance to work

 5    with your counsel.  I, too, have been briefed by the Registry, and I am

 6    aware of the problems regarding choice of your counsel, language problems

 7    most, as I understand.  And I hope that you are also ready to accept the

 8    importance of your counsel being able to speak either English or French

 9    because that will indeed facilitate the proceedings very much.

10            But as soon as you have been assigned a counsel, then we will

11    start working.  I think that the normal way of -- normal course of

12    proceedings would be that your counsel is given a couple of months to

13    familiarise himself with the case and, of course, also to familiarise

14    himself with what has been going on in the Milutinovic trial.  And then

15    once he has had a chance to do so, we will then call the parties to

16    meetings under Rule 65 ter of the Rules of Procedure for the Tribunal.

17    That will enable the Court to sit down with the parties and to address the

18    issues raised in the indictment.  And eventually, when the pre-trial phase

19    is over, the case will then be made ready for trial.

20            Can I ask the parties if they have any additional remarks to make?

21            MR. HANNIS:  Your Honour, I'm not sure how we proceed now.  Will

22    we have another hearing once that permanent counsel is appointed?  Or how

23    should we go forward from here?

24            JUDGE HARHOFF:  As for the initial appearance as such, what has

25    taken place today is what needs to take place, namely, that the accused

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 1    has entered his plea.  Once a counsel is assigned, I do not see any need

 2    for a new hearing.  That would be pointless, in my view, unless there are

 3    any particular reasons for meeting up in a public hearing with a new

 4    counsel.  Unless that is so, I don't see much purpose in calling for

 5    another hearing.  As I said, what I expect will happen is that the new

 6    counsel will then sit down with Mr. Djordjevic and go through the material

 7    and then, once he has been given sometime to do this, we will start the

 8    pre-trial proceedings with regular 65 ter meetings and an occasional

 9    status conference also.  So that's how I expect the case to proceed from

10    now on.

11            MR. HANNIS:  Okay.  I raise it Your Honour, because I note in Rule

12    62(A)(5), it says in the case of a plea of not guilty, the Court shall

13    instruct the registrar to set a date for trial.  When he doesn't even have

14    a permanent counsel it doesn't seem to be a very practical thing to do,

15    but that's why I raised the issue.

16            JUDGE HARHOFF:  I'm fully aware of that.

17            MR. HANNIS:  Thank you.

18            JUDGE HARHOFF:  We don't need a hearing to order the registrar to

19    make the date ready for trial.

20            Mrs. Nikolic, do you have anything you wish to add at this point?

21            MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] No, thank you, Your Honour.

22            JUDGE HARHOFF:  In that case, it remains only for me to thank you

23    warmly for your assistance so far, and Mr. Djordjevic, you have nothing

24    else to add?  That is very well.  We can then conclude.  Thank you all.

25            This meeting is adjourned.

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 1                          --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 9.22 a.m.