Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 65

 1                           Thursday, 17 July 2008

 2                           [Further appearance]

 3                           [Open session]

 4                           [The accused entered court]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.

 6             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Good afternoon to the

 7     Prosecution, to the Defence, to Mr. Djordjevic.  Mr. Registrar, would you

 8     be so kind as to announce the case.

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  Good afternoon, Your Honours.  This is case

10     IT-05-87/1-PT, The Prosecutor versus Vlastimir Djordjevic.

11             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.

12             We are here this afternoon in the occasion of the amendment to

13     the indictment which was granted by the Chamber on I think 7th July, and

14     the purpose of this hearing is to ask you, Mr. Djordjevic, to enter a

15     plea of guilty or not guilty today to the new count that has been

16     included in the indictment as a result of the Trial Chamber's decision.

17             So we are here under Rule 50(b) to allow you to enter your

18     plea; and as you may recall, the Prosecution moved for amendment of

19     the indictment to include a new charge of murder in Podujevo and also

20     to include not new charges but inclusion of new victims relating to

21     two charges that had already been included in the indictment, namely

22     the incidents that took place in Suva Reka and in Vucitrn.  And on

23     9th July pursuant to the Chambers order, the Prosecution filed the new

24     indictment.  The indictment alleges that you, Mr. Djordjevic, took part

25     in a joint criminal enterprise to modify the ethnic balance in Kosovo

Page 66

 1     in order to ensure the continued Serbian control in the area.  The

 2     indictment further alleges that the purpose of the joint criminal

 3     enterprise was to be achieved through a widespread or systematic campaign

 4     of terror or violence including the crimes charged in the indictment.

 5     A number of individuals formed part of this joint criminal enterprise

 6     together with you, including Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic,

 7     Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladimir Lazarevic, and Sreten

 8     Lukic.

 9             Counts 3 and 4 of the indictment allege killings of hundreds of

10     Kosovo Albanian men, women, and children throughout the province of

11     Kosovo.  The killings were allegedly committed between 1st January and

12     20th of June, 1999, by the forces of federal -- the Republic of

13     Yugoslavia and the Republic of Yugoslavia in whose service you took part.

14             The incidents of mass killings which the Prosecution charges

15     under count 3 and 4 are listed in paragraph 75 of the indictment.  As

16     a result of the added new charge, paragraph 75(l) now includes the

17     Podujevo incident.  Furthermore, in relation to the Suva Reka incident

18     charged in paragraph 75(d), as Delta, the Prosecution was granted leave

19     to add the names of three further victims to Schedule (d), as Delta; and

20     also in relation to the Vucitrn incident charged in paragraph 75(i), for

21     India, the prosecution was granted leave to add the name of one further

22     victim to Schedule (i).

23             Mr. Djordjevic - I'm addressing counsel Djordjevic now - has the

24     accused received a copy of the amended indictment?

25             MR. DJORDJEVIC:  [Interpretation] Your Honour, as Defence counsel

Page 67

 1     for the accused Vlastimir Djordjevic, I have to say that he was served a

 2     copy of the indictment in a language he understands only late in the

 3     evening, and in fact, due to procedural reasons, this fact could have

 4     been registered in the appropriate protocol only early this morning.

 5             I consider this in a way to be a violation of the accused

 6     person's right to Defence.  However, since the counts from the third

 7     amended indictment resemble to a great degree the fourth amended

 8     indictment, and also there is the fact that we were allowed as a special

 9     circumstance a visit this afternoon lasting one hour.  We talked to our

10     client, and we thought that it was in our interest to allow him to enter

11     his plea this afternoon, although, it is impermissible to have this kind

12     of thing happen, namely to have a copy of the indictment served on him in

13     a language he understands.  We decided nevertheless that he does enter a

14     plea because it is in our interest, and he is going to do that today with

15     regard to the new counts in the indictment and the incidents described by

16     the OTP in the fourth amended indictment against accused Vlastimir

17     Djordjevic.

18             Once again I express my regret on account of what had happened,

19     and I believe that it is truly not proper to receive early in the morning

20     such serious charges against yourself, and then within a few hours

21     without looking into the other circumstances you have the possibility of

22     entering your plea.  He is going to do that today, nevertheless,

23     observing Rule 50(c), I believe, of the rules of procedure and evidence,

24     and we are going to be in a position to file some preliminary motions

25     within the next 30 days.

Page 68

 1             So, Your Honour, I would like to inform you of the fact that

 2     our client will enter a plea today.  Thank you.

 3             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you for this information, counsel, and I

 4     regret on behalf of the Tribunal the delay that has occurred here in

 5     relation to the service of the amended indictments on your client.  I

 6     take it, however, that you and your client were given a copy of the

 7     motion earlier on and that at least the English version of the amended

 8     indictment did reach you in time, so I hope that we are not seriously

 9     damaging the justice of your client.

10             MR. DJORDJEVIC:  [Interpretation] Your Honour, once again I wish

11     to point out that that is precisely the reason why we are going to enter

12     our plea today in view of the amended indictment.  Formally, we know how

13     things stand, and we know that the accused has to be served a copy of the

14     indictment in his own language.  Why this was not done, I don't know, but

15     I cannot -- but not mention it today for the simple reason that this kind

16     of thing should not happen again.  Thank you.

17             JUDGE HARHOFF:  I fully agree with you, and as I said, I

18     apologise on behalf of the Tribunal, and I am grateful for your

19     flexibility and openness.

20             Mr. Djordjevic, would you please stand up.  Under the statute and

21     the rules, you enjoy the right to remain silent at all times if you wish,

22     but I understand from what your counsel has just said that you are

23     willing to enter your plea today.  Let me just for the sake of clarity

24     read out the addition that has been made to the indictment in respect of

25     the Podujevo incidents, and that reads as follows, it's very short: "On

Page 69

 1     or about the 28th March of 1999, forces of the former Republic of

 2     Yugoslavia and Serbia killed at least 14 members of the Bogujevci,

 3     Duriqi, and Llugaliu families, all women and children, in the courtyard

 4     of a house in the town of Podujevo.  A group of 19 women and children

 5     were ordered to gather in the courtyard, and 14 were killed and 5

 6     children were seriously injured in the shooting.  Those persons killed

 7     are known by name and set forth in Schedule L, which is attached as an

 8     appendix to this indictment."

 9             This is the inclusion that has been made, and I wish to ask you,

10     Mr. Djordjevic, if you plead guilty or not guilty to this new charge.

11             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.

12             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much we will enter your pleading

13     of not guilty in the record.  You may sit.

14             I just want to be sure that in addition to this new charge, that

15     the Defence is also aware and the accused, of course, is aware of the

16     inclusion of three new victims in the Suva Reka incident and one new

17     victim in the Vucitrn incident.  Can you affirm this?

18             MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we are fully aware

19     of the indictment, and we confirm that we are aware of the way in which

20     the OTP amended the indictment by including new charges.  As I said, we

21     are going to use legal recourse that is available to us in view of our

22     client's plea within the next 30 days.

23             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you very much.  You mentioned awhile ago,

24     counsel, that you intend to file a preliminary motion under Rule 72; is

25     that correct?

Page 70

 1             MR. DJORDJEVIC:  [Interpretation] I just said that I retain the

 2     right to do that after more extensive consultations that we are going to

 3     have tomorrow during the work meeting that we are going to have at the

 4     UNDU.  That will certainly last for three hours, and after that we are

 5     definitely going to decide whether we are going to file a preliminary

 6     motion.

 7             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you.  May I just remind you that in that

 8     case, the 30-day limit will start on the 9th of July -- the 7th of July,

 9     sorry, on the day of the decision.

10             This brings us to the end of the formal part of this hearing,

11     and I would then like to raise another matter, which relates to a motion

12     that I have received from the Prosecution asking for extension of time in

13     relation to the extra investigations that had to be made after the

14     testimony of General Aleksandar Dimitrijevic in the Milutinovic trial.  I

15     understand that the Prosecution is asking for two more weeks

16     to submit their pre-trial brief, and I realise by now that I did not ask

17     for the presentation of the parties in today's hearing, so I would like

18     you to introduce yourself, Mr. Prosecutor.

19             MR. STAMP:  Thank you, Your Honour.  It's Priya Gopalan and

20     myself, Chester Stamp, for the Prosecution.  With us is our case manager,

21     Mr. Colin Nawrot.

22             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Welcome to you.

23             MR. STAMP:  Thank you.

24             JUDGE HARHOFF:  As you are aware, we have issued a scheduling

25     order to request the Prosecution to file its pre-trial brief on Monday

Page 71

 1     the 25th of August, and the Defence to file its pretrial brief on Monday,

 2     the 15th of September.  Since I know that the Defence has asked for more

 3     time to prepare its case, and since I know that, also, the Prosecution

 4     had requested an extension of time at the last status conference, we had

 5     a discussion about this, and I indicated the Chamber's firm commitment to

 6     have the case made ready for start -- the trial made ready for start by

 7     mid-October.  This stands unchanged.

 8             I am not sure that the reason the Prosecution has put forward

 9     as in support of its motion for extension of time is really convincing.

10     The fact that you have had a two-day testimony of General Dimitrijevic

11     Milutinovic would not seem to me to be a factor that requires an

12     extension of two week's time to submit your pretrial brief.  So at least

13     from a starting point, I'm not inclined to grant your motion.

14             However, as you can recall from our discussions here when we had

15     the last -- at the last status conference, we did include one extra week

16     because we anticipated that there could arise unforeseen circumstances.

17     So we do in fact have one week to give to the -- to each of the parties.

18     And since I believe that the reasons put forward by the Prosecution for

19     extension of time does not warrant a delay of two weeks, then on the

20     other hand since we do have an extra week at our disposal, I'm determined

21     to grant the Prosecution's motion in the sense that we will delay the

22     filing of the pre-trial briefs with this extra week.  That is to say, my

23     proposal is that we change or we alter the scheduling order so as to now

24     set the time limit for submission of the Prosecution's pretrial brief for

25     Monday, the 1st of September, and equally to move down one week for the

Page 72

 1     Defence from the 15th of September to the 22nd of September.  This will

 2     still allow us to start the trial in mid-October as scheduled or as

 3     planned, at least.

 4             Mr. Stamp.

 5             MR. STAMP:  Your Honour.

 6             JUDGE HARHOFF:  If the Chamber will give you this extra week,

 7     will you then promise me that there will be no more requests for delays?

 8             MR. STAMP:  On the basis of what I know now, I make that promise.

 9             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Because I must say that -- I must be frank with

10     you that whatever comes up from now on will not be granted.  There will

11     be no more delays than this one.  We had this extra week because we

12     thought that there might come up something.  Now something has arisen.  I

13     don't know if the grounds are sufficient, but since we do have this week,

14     I'm prepared to go along with your requests and grant it.  But that's the

15     end, and there will be no more delays.

16             MR. STAMP:  Very well, Your Honour.

17             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Please respect this and take it into account, and

18     this goes, as well, for the Defence.

19             MR. STAMP:  We will do all that is necessary to comply with the

20     deadlines, and we'll do so.

21             JUDGE HARHOFF:  So it is hereby decided, and the scheduling order

22     will follow in writing, that the Prosecution is now to submit its

23     pretrial brief on Monday, the 1st of September, and the Defence will file

24     its pretrial brief on Monday, the 22nd of September.

25             Mr. Djordjevic, do you have anything to add?

Page 73

 1             MR. DJORDJEVIC:  [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.  First of

 2     all, I wanted to say that the Defence has accepted the scheduling order

 3     given previously, bearing in mind that from the 15th of September, which

 4     was our last deadline for the pre-trial brief submission, until the

 5     envisaged beginning of the trial, we had more of a time lapse than we are

 6     going to have now.  So I still don't have the scheduling order indicating

 7     when the trial against the accused Djordjevic would begin.  However, if

 8     it is indeed the date that you have just given us, the 13th of October,

 9     then given the extension of the deadline for the Prosecution and for the

10     Defence, as well, that means that from that date until the beginning of

11     the trial, which is the 13th of October, we have literally a week less

12     than we had under the previous deadline.

13             So based on some earlier plans that we have, the Defence would

14     normally agree to this extension of deadline providing that the beginning

15     of the trial is also postponed by a week because that would be in

16     compliance with the plan based on which the Defence has been working

17     until now.  Otherwise, our plan so far would be effected.  However, we

18     will always abide by whatever the Chamber says.  There are some

19     additional problems there.  I don't want to repeat myself.  I have stated

20     those problems earlier, and I will admit that we are in somewhat better

21     position than our colleagues who were Defence lawyers in the Milutinovic

22     case.  But on the other hand, we have some other circumstances that

23     represent a burden to us because when we start the trial, there will

24     still not be any judgement in the Milutinovic case, so we have to take

25     that into account when working on this case.

Page 74

 1             That's all I have to say.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic.  May I just note that

 3     the time you have from now on until the trial starts remains unchanged.

 4     The only thing that has changed is that you are being offered an

 5     opportunity to submit your pre-trial brief a week later than originally

 6     anticipated, and may I repeat that I'm not in a position to confirm that

 7     the trial will start on Monday, the 13th of October.  My indication has

 8     been that it will start in mid-October.  I assume that this will be

 9     sometime during that week that starts with Monday, the 13th of October,

10     but whether it's going to be Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, I can't say

11     because this will be in the end for the Trial Chamber to determine

12     exactly when it wishes to have the pre-trial conference and the opening

13     statements.  It may be Monday the 13th, but it may also be at some later

14     date.  I will leave that, respectfully, to the Trial Chamber to determine

15     for itself.

16             What I can do is that I can ensure that the trial is made

17     ready to begin by mid-October, and this is my promise to the President,

18     and I do so by asking the parties to file their pre-trial briefs on the

19     dates that we have now agreed upon.  So that's all I have to say

20     regarding this matter.

21             Mr. Djordjevic, are you still in good shape?

22             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I am in pretty good shape.

23     I'm a bit concerned due to this great haste which exists in my case.

24     Today, it's exactly one year and one month that I have been here, so I

25     think that there's plenty of time to put me on trial.  However, I believe

Page 75

 1     that this Court will take into consideration all facts, and then this

 2     excessive haste will not effect my case.  Thank you.

 3             JUDGE HARHOFF:  Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic.  Maybe I should say

 4     that the fact that you have been here already for one year is in itself,

 5     in my view, too long, so I think it's about high time we get on with your

 6     trial.  And as we have said at the last status conference and at many

 7     previous status conferences before the last, the fact that the judgement

 8     in Milutinovic will not be rendered until later cannot remain a factor

 9     that should delay your trial.  When the judgement is actually rendered in

10     Milutinovic, and we don't know the dates as of yet, then I'm sure that

11     the parties will have an opportunity to adjust their strategies in light

12     of what is decided in the Milutinovic judgement; but as I said last time,

13     let's cross that bridge when we get there.  I think the important thing

14     is to get your trial started, and if the judgement in Milutinovic calls

15     for any amendments, I think it's for the Trial Chamber to deal with that

16     at that time.

17             But I'm glad that you can confirm that you are still in good

18     health, and may I ask you if you have any other issues that you wish to

19     raise at this occasion, since we are here together now?

20             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, there are some other issues

21     concerning my financial situation and facts to establish that.  They are

22     treating me as though I were Rockefeller, and it is my impression that

23     there is some kind of special procedure instituted against me.  I guess

24     that this will be the fastest case before this Court.  There are some

25     cases where people waited for a trial for three or five years, and my

Page 76

 1     trial is to begin after one year, and I am interested in having a speedy

 2     trial, but I hope that this excessive haste will not affect the issues of

 3     my responsibility or any issues concerning my defence.

 4             JUDGE HARHOFF:  I can assure you, Mr. Djordjevic, that you will

 5     be given a fair trial that lives up to the same standards as any other

 6     accused before this Tribunal.  There is no difference made between you

 7     and anybody else, and as I've said before, I think the fact that some of

 8     your co- -- some of the other accused before us have had to wait for

 9     several years before their trial could start is, in my view, something

10     that is only deplorable.  It has to do with organisational problems and

11     other sorts of issues, but it is really deplorable that people would have

12     to wait for so long before their trial could start after they have been

13     arrested.

14             No more to be said about this.  I wish to ask the parties if they

15     have any other issue to raise at this moment.

16             MR. STAMP:  Nothing, Your Honour.  Thank you very much.

17             MR. DJORDJEVIC:  [Interpretation] Nothing for the time being,

18     Your Honour.

19             JUDGE HARHOFF:  As regards the financial issue that your client

20     raised, I will instruct my senior legal officer to contact you and to see

21     if there are any problems that can be sorted out in this respect.

22             This concludes the second or the third initial appearance as

23     it is, and we stand adjourned.  Thank you.

24                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2:53 p.m.