Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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1 Tuesday, 8 January 2002

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 --- Upon commencing at 10.02 a.m.

5 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, everybody. Let the Registrar call the

6 case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is the case number

8 IT-01-48-PT, the Prosecutor versus Sefer Halilovic.

9 JUDGE KWON: May I have the appearances.

10 MR. KOENIG: May it please the Court, Your Honour, my name is Karl

11 Koenig. I appear on behalf of the Prosecutor, along with my learned

12 colleague Ms. Jocelyn Bodson.

13 JUDGE KWON: For the Defence. Thank you.

14 MR. BALIJAGIC: [Interpretation] My name is Faruk Balijagic, lead

15 counsel for the accused Sefer Halilovic. Thank you.

16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Balijagic.

17 Well, this is the Status Conference according to the Rule 65 bis

18 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and the purpose of this hearing is

19 to ensure an expeditious preparation of the case for trial and allow the

20 parties, especially the Defence, to raise any issues relating to the case,

21 relating to the status of the case.

22 It is the opinion of the Court, the Trial Chamber, to have this

23 case get ready for trial at the -- at least at the end of June of this

24 year, and in order to do so, I would like first to know how many witnesses

25 is the Prosecution going to call, to have -- to rely on at the trial, and

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1 of those witnesses, how many will be called live and how many will be

2 submitted in the form of 92 bis statements. So I would like to hear from

3 the Prosecution, first the answers to these questions relating to the

4 number of witnesses and especially whether the Prosecution also thinks

5 that this case can be ready at the end of June.

6 MR. KOENIG: Thank you, Your Honour. The answers are definite and

7 easy as possible. I'll give them to you like that. Your Honour, the

8 Prosecution, at this stage, has relevant witnesses 200. We wouldn't

9 intend calling 200 witnesses. A sample of those would be suggested, but

10 that would depend on the talks that we had with the Defence. As His

11 Honour may or may not know, there has been substantial cooperation between

12 the Prosecution and the Defence. We have spent a very long time in the

13 last month or two interviewing the accused, and there seems to be a lot of

14 common ground.

15 What hasn't been done as yet is we haven't sat down and spoken

16 about the agreed facts between us, and that would certainly reduce the

17 number of witnesses. The likelihood of there being agreed facts in this

18 case is particularly high. It would seem that the area of dispute is

19 somewhat narrower than we envisaged at the outset.

20 So to give His Honour the accurate rendition of the number of

21 witnesses that we will require -- we would call now simply is dependent on

22 what the Defence has to say. I can give His Honour an estimation. We

23 would estimate about 30 witnesses per count. That would deal with crime

24 scene witnesses; it would deal with experts; it would deal with military

25 witnesses. Of those, we would also estimate that there would be a total

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1 of at least 15 to 20 of the witnesses we may be able to call by means of a

2 statement without having them being as a live witness.

3 Whether or not we would be able to be ready by the end of June

4 depends on the further cooperation that we have with the accused. It is

5 scheduled that we would be speaking to the accused again after receiving

6 further documentation. We have received a lot of documentation from the

7 accused already. Mr. Balijagic has kindly brought some further

8 documentation for us today. So in that respect, there is some further

9 investigation that we need to follow and check up on.

10 As His Honour is aware, of course there are quite serious problems

11 with translation, and we have a number of document collections which

12 haven't even begun to be translated. Those would involve, of course,

13 disclosure in terms of Rule 68, should there be any to the accused, and it

14 may be that in fact the accused has invoked or will be invoking Rule

15 68(B), reciprocal disclosure, which would mean that we would have to then

16 disclose the rest of that documentation. That would be a mammoth task. I

17 hope that, to some extent, answers Your Honour's questions.

18 JUDGE KWON: It is my understanding that the supporting materials

19 of the indictment, which is provided by the Rule 66(A)(i), have been

20 already handed over to the Defence.

21 MR. KOENIG: Yes, Your Honour. If I could perhaps just give His

22 Honour a brief summary of the disclosure up to now, it may assist. The

23 complete material has been made over to the Defence. Initially, the

24 English version was made over two days after the first appearance. The

25 remainder was done within the prescribed period by the Rules in a language

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1 that he is able to understand. There was a further document that had been

2 requested by the Defence that has also been made over, and the

3 documentation under Rule 68, the statement side, most of that has already

4 been made over to the Defence. The documentation side hopefully will be

5 made over within the next two weeks and then, of course, there is the

6 ongoing disclosure under Rule 68 and further statements that have been

7 taken that will be made over hopefully within the next month.

8 JUDGE KWON: So there's no -- it's more a translation problem in

9 relation to those materials.

10 MR. KOENIG: There's a translation problem in relation to that and

11 the other documentation that most of us haven't even been through yet.

12 It's just arrived in the Tribunal.

13 JUDGE KWON: Let's begin with some specific and technical

14 problems. When do you think you can disclose the witness statements to

15 the Defence, according to the Rule 66(A)(i)[sic]?

16 MR. KOENIG: Your Honour, we are hoping to do the remainder of the

17 statements that we have under 66(i)[sic] within the next two weeks.

18 JUDGE KWON: Next two weeks.

19 MR. KOENIG: Yes.

20 JUDGE KWON: How about the Rule 92 bis witness statements,

21 together with its applications?

22 MR. KOENIG: Your Honour, as I've said, we are looking at about 20

23 witnesses per count. In that respect --

24 JUDGE KWON: I'm sorry, but what do you mean by "per count"? We

25 have only one count in this indictment.

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1 MR. KOENIG: Sorry. I beg your pardon. Per incident. There are

2 two incidents.

3 JUDGE KWON: Yes. May I repeat: 20 to 30?

4 MR. KOENIG: About that per incident, yes.

5 JUDGE KWON: So we'll have about 40 to 60 witnesses, according to

6 what you are saying there.

7 MR. KOENIG: Yes.

8 JUDGE KWON: And then -- so when is it possible for you to apply

9 to file and application for the 92 bis?

10 MR. KOENIG: Your Honour, it would be a pure estimation, but I'd

11 imagine, to be able to get those number of witnesses seen and done, two to

12 three months.

13 Your Honour, I just conferred with my chief investigator, and he

14 suggests that I'm perhaps a little bit optimistic in respect of two to

15 three months. He suggests more like four to five months.

16 JUDGE KWON: How about the pre-trial brief for the Prosecution?

17 Do you think you can file the pre-trial brief together with the 92 bis

18 application at the same time?

19 MR. KOENIG: Your Honour, yes, that is possible, provided -- or

20 depending on the degree of the documentation and the assistance we get

21 from the accused. During the course of the interview with the accused,

22 there's a number of relevant documents and a lot of relevant evidence that

23 we have needed to check and still needs to be checked, and that certainly

24 may alter the Prosecution's stance in respect of the Prosecution itself.

25 JUDGE KWON: Well, it is the opinion of the Court to make the case

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1 be ready for trial as soon as possible, and you are saying that you need

2 at least some time of four months from now.

3 MR. KOENIG: At least, yes.

4 JUDGE KWON: Wouldn't it be possible to make it in three months?

5 MR. KOENIG: I really don't think so, Your Honour. We have -- the

6 particular team that deals with incidents is a very small team, and we

7 have quite limited resources.

8 JUDGE KWON: That means that you think you can complete your

9 filing of the pre-trial brief at the end of May -- at the end of April?

10 That will be about four months.

11 MR. KOENIG: That would be a push, Your Honour, yes.

12 JUDGE KWON: Okay. Well, thank you, Mr. Koenig.

13 MR. KOENIG: Thank you very much.

14 JUDGE KWON: I'm afraid I might miss some part of your sentence.

15 What happens to the translation? Tell me about some circumstances about

16 translation of these witness statements. Isn't there any problem to file

17 it before the end of April, considering the translation problem?

18 MR. KOENIG: Your Honour, it's not the translation of the witness

19 statements that's the problem. It's the translation of the documentation

20 that's a problem.

21 JUDGE KWON: I see.

22 MR. KOENIG: And there's thousands of documents, and we're

23 certainly not on top of the priority list. We're well down the priority

24 list.

25 JUDGE KWON: All right. Thank you.

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1 MR. KOENIG: And my learned colleague makes the point as well that

2 we then have to look through the documentation once we've got a

3 translation to decide whether it's particularly relevant for us or in

4 terms of Rule 68. And when you're looking at thousands and thousands of

5 documents, that's going to take quite a time.

6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.

7 Well, Mr. Balijagic, I'd like to hear from you. How long do you

8 think you need to prepare the Defence in this case?

9 MR. BALIJAGIC: [Interpretation] First of all, Your Honour,

10 unfortunately, I will not be able to be as precise as my learned friend

11 opposite in view of the specific nature of the indictment. Allow me to

12 use a Latin saying which is often referred to in our courts: "Diogenes

13 aliquando lucernam genstas ambulabat rogatus quid ageret respondit hominem

14 quero." "Diogenes once, at noon, was walking around the square with a

15 light in his hand, and asked what he was doing, he said, `I'm looking for

16 a man.'" .

17 My client, Sefer Halilovic, ever since the 9th of September, 1993,

18 the date of the offence, the crimes, sought to have the criminals

19 punished. However, he has not managed at all to this day, except by

20 achieving full cooperation with the Prosecution since the indictment was

21 issued, and we hope through this cooperation that we will assist the Court

22 in passing a fair judgement. Indeed, we have been working for about two

23 and a half months with the Office of the Prosecutor, working hard, up to

24 ten hours a day, and we have collected quite a number of documents which

25 throw a somewhat different light on this case.

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1 Originally, we had prepared some 350 statements under oath and 50

2 witnesses who would be heard in court, and a new file of documents, too,

3 which were not accessible either to the Prosecution or the Court so far,

4 because as you know, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the government has changed.

5 My client, Sefer Halilovic, who was indicted for the crime of genocide,

6 and it was instead of him that his brother was punished by that

7 nationalist regime which has now changed. And we are now continuing

8 cooperation in Sarajevo with the Prosecution with the disclosure of new

9 documents, and we will need quite a bit of time because since the

10 indictment was issued, we have not had time to prepare a good quality

11 defence. So that it is the opinion of the Defence that we will need at

12 least a year to prepare properly. But I also hope that the Prosecution,

13 who are, I'm sure, concerned about the rule of law, will change certain

14 provisions in the indictment. And it is indeed, as I said, difficult for

15 me to give you a precise answer until our next Status Conference, because

16 everything depends on our future cooperation, which we are continuing in

17 Sarajevo as of this month.

18 I hope you will be able to appreciate the specifics of the

19 situation and show a spirit of tolerance for it.

20 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Balijagic.

21 MR. BALIJAGIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

22 JUDGE KWON: You said that a year is needed, but having heard from

23 the Prosecution that they are ready to file their pre-trial brief until

24 the end of April, more specifically, Mr. Balijagic, how long do you think

25 you need to file your pre-trial brief of the Defence after having received

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1 the pre-trial brief of the -- trial brief from the Prosecution?

2 MR. BALIJAGIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if we're under

3 pressure of time, after receiving the pre-trial brief of the Prosecution,

4 we would need another four months for our brief. But I wish to underline

5 once again that I am firmly convinced, as being a lawyer with 20 years of

6 experience behind me, I'm quite confident that the Prosecution, having

7 reviewed all the documents, will amended the indictment and, in doing so,

8 that we will be assisting the Court. Thank you.

9 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Well, let's make it as a kind of

10 prospective timetable. Is it okay with you that we will -- provided that

11 the Prosecution will file their pre-trial brief at the end of April, can

12 you file your pre-trial brief at the end of July, which means about some

13 31st of July, Wednesday or something like that. Just a tentative one.

14 MR. BALIJAGIC: [Interpretation] Well, we'll have to, Your Honour,

15 I suppose.

16 JUDGE KWON: Will there be -- I'm sorry. Will there be any

17 application for protective measures regarding the witnesses?

18 MR. KOENIG: Not at this stage, Your Honour, no.

19 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.

20 MR. KOENIG: Your Honour, may I just raise one point more? My

21 learned colleague, who will be the Senior Trial Attorney conducting the

22 matter, does want to stress that April is provided everything is well and

23 there are no further problems in respect of translation and receipt of

24 documents.

25 JUDGE KWON: Yes. I see that we have to have another Status

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1 Conference before that date, so we can -- we have another opportunity to

2 deal with that matter.

3 MR. KOENIG: Thank you very much, Your Honour.

4 JUDGE KWON: All right. Are there any issues the parties wish to

5 raise at this moment? The Prosecution?

6 MR. KOENIG: None from our side, Your Honour, just to say that the

7 cooperation has been good and is continuing.

8 JUDGE KWON: How about the Defence?

9 MR. BALIJAGIC: [Interpretation] The Defence also has no further

10 matters to raise. Thank you.

11 JUDGE KWON: Well, let's make it clear that the -- temporarily but

12 largely as a principle that the parties will adhere to, but the

13 Prosecution will file its pre-trial brief on -- what's the date? 30th is

14 the holiday, national holiday. So about 29th. Yes, Monday, 29th of

15 April. And together with this, all the disclosure of witness statements,

16 including the 92 bis statements, to the Defence. And then the Defence

17 will respond to that with a pre-trial brief of its own at the end of

18 July. That is also Monday, the 31st of July. No. I'm sorry. I'm

19 mistaken. 31st, Wednesday, of July. Yes. Then we'll have the next

20 Status Conference.

21 Do you have any opinion about that, Mr. Koenig?

22 MR. KOENIG: No, Your Honour. It really depends up to the Court's

23 pleasure.

24 JUDGE KWON: How about the Defence, Mr. Balijagic?

25 MR. BALIJAGIC: [Interpretation] The Defence also has no

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1 objection. We're in your hands, Your Honour.

2 JUDGE KWON: Today is Tuesday. We'll have the hearing on

3 Tuesday. Let's make it a principle. About two weeks before the due date

4 of the Prosecution's pre-trial brief. So that will be about 16th of

5 April, Tuesday, and the specific time and courtroom will be -- I will let

6 you know afterwards, after having checked the courtroom circumstances.

7 According to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Pre-Trial

8 Judge is-may be assisted by the Senior Legal Officer, one of the senior

9 legal officers assigned to the Chamber, in performing his duties. So in

10 this regard, I'd like to have Ms. Yvonne Featherstone assist me in the way

11 of meeting and communicating with the parties on a regular basis, such as

12 once a month, between the hearing dates, to discuss and consult the

13 matters relating to the status of the case. So I want the parties to meet

14 with Ms. Featherstone after this hearing, not leaving the courtroom, about

15 fixing a date for the next appointment.

16 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]

17 JUDGE KWON: If there is not anything else for the parties to

18 raise at this moment, the Court is adjourned, and the next Status

19 Conference will be held Tuesday, 16th of April.

20 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned

21 at 10.28 a.m.