1 Tuesday, 29 September 2015
2 [Status Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, everyone.
6 Would the registrar please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is the case
8 IT-95-5/18-T, The Prosecutor versus Radovan Karadzic.
9 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
10 Can I have the appearances, from the Prosecution.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
13 For the Prosecution, Mr. Alan Tieger, myself, Hildegard
14 Uertz-Retzlaff, and we are accompanied by Ms. Angelique Langenberg.
15 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
16 For the Defence.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Excellencies. I'm
18 here on behalf of my Defence together with my senior advisor,
19 Mr. Peter Robinson.
20 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
21 The Chamber has decided to hold this Status Conference upon the
22 request of the accused. Before we begin, I would like to provide a short
23 background to this Status Conference.
24 On the 28th of January, 2015, the Chamber held a Status
25 Conference upon the request of the accused where the accused could raise
1 any specific concern as to his health and the conditions of his
3 On the 12th of May, 2015, the Chamber denied the accused's new
4 request to convene another Status Conference as it considered that the
5 accused had not identified any specific remedy he sought from the
6 Chamber. The Chamber stated that it would not entertain of a general
7 nature that do not relate to the accused personally and that there was no
8 disclosure-related matter that warranted the holding of a Status
10 On the 24th of August, the Chamber was informed via e-mail from
11 the accused's legal advisor that the accused was suffering from a number
12 of symptoms. Not having been informed of his medical condition or state
13 of health, the Chamber requested that the Registry file a medical report.
14 The medical report was filed confidentially on the 28th of August, and
15 the Chamber was informed that the accused had undergone surgery.
16 Upon the request of the accused, the Chamber ordered the
17 reclassification of the medical report as public.
18 On the 1st of September, the accused asked the Chamber to hold a
19 Status Conference to discuss health, conditions of detention and
20 continuing disclosure violations by the Office of the Prosecutor.
21 On the 16th of September, the Chamber issued an interim order,
22 stating that the issue of disclosure had highly been litigated in
23 writing, and, therefore, there was no specific issue not addressed in
24 writing which warranted holding a Status Conference, and that the Chamber
25 would not entertain concerns of a general nature which did not pertain to
1 the accused. However, in relation to the accused's health and conditions
2 of detention, the Chamber ordered that the accused file a supplemental
3 submission, identifying the specific issues to be discussed and the
4 remedies sought.
5 On the 18th of September, the accused filed his additional
6 submission; and on 22nd of September, the Chamber decided to hold a
7 Status Conference so that the accused could raise specific issues related
8 to his health and conditions of detention as listed in his supplemental
10 That said, now, Mr. Karadzic, you have the floor on the specific
11 issues in relation to your health and conditions of detention.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Excellency.
13 As per the items contained in my request, first, I wanted to
14 touch upon some events in August. But, first, I wanted to say that I
15 arrived here in an exemplary health, or health condition, which was the
16 result of a very strict regimen I applied in how I lived my life as well
17 as the application of some aspects of eastern medicine. My laboratory
18 findings were perfect. At the very outset I noticed that some things
19 will be a hindrance here, and I had an extensive correspondence with the
20 management of the Detention Unit as well as the medical service there.
21 It was clear to me straight away that certain things will cause a
22 disbalance in my health status because I could no longer use certain
23 supplements I relied on before my arrival here. The most serious concern
24 for all in the UNDU is food which remains of poor quality and different,
25 or strange, taste when it comes to people from the Balkans. The food
1 served is mostly frozen and warmed up in a microwave immediately prior to
2 being served, which is detrimental, highly detrimental.
3 As for any other food items, such as dairy products that we
4 receive once a day for breakfast or dinner, that is quite acceptable and
5 we try to preserve it as long as we can, depending on the circumstances.
6 If the UN wing is the same as the rest of the prison, it is my belief
7 that young offenders who are in full health can consume such food without
8 any consequences, but our Detention Unit resembles a nursing home rather
9 than a youth centre for young delinquents. We are mostly intellectuals,
10 and no one there is under 50 or 55. Most of us are over 60; some are
11 older than 70. We come from a completely different culture, and seldom
12 can they adjust to new taste of that kind. We usually do not eat our
13 meals in full, and I had my -- I can forward my entire correspondence
14 that I had with the Detention Unit to the Chamber, if needed.
15 The main problem is the storage of food. Those of us who work
16 late into the night after 8.30 p.m., no longer have any access to the
17 common room or the kitchen facilities, and yet we need food, keeping it
18 in our cells. There, we don't have any refrigeration units. As far as I
19 know, in some other buildings of the complex it is possible to rent a
20 small fridge which would be of much assistance. I ended up asking for a
21 passive cool box which does not need a source of power. Dr. Falke was in
22 favour of that, but I have still not received it.
23 I am in particularly difficult circumstances because I mostly
24 worked on my Defence during the night, and it is my habit. The crisis
25 that occurred in August was a result of all those things. Before that, I
1 had eight of my teeth broken or chipped, for example, while eating a
2 banana. It is a very clear indicator that there is something wrong with
3 the metabolism and something missing. I was in contact with the
4 management and the medical service in 2010. I still have that
5 correspondence, advising them of my so-called metabolic syndrome as I
6 call it. I see it as the beginning of the worsening of my physical
7 health and I tried to counter it with the means available. However, I
8 was unable to. At the outset, the nurses were very kind and brought food
9 which they had purchased outside the prison in terms of what I needed. I
10 made use of those useful supplements but after a while, it was forbidden
11 to them to do so, and I could no longer obtain them. I was informed that
12 many other detainees suffer from similar problems and that some of them
13 developed some very serious conditions or their existing conditions
15 Because of the teeth problems, I had to use analgesic
16 painkillers, which damaged my digestion; first and foremost my stomach.
17 The entire second half of August was marked by strong gastritis
18 incidents, which, for a while, hindered the diagnosis of the gall
19 condition, turning out that there was a large gall-bladder in my body.
20 Owing to your intervention, which I would like to thank you for, I was
21 you are subsequently examined. I was sent for an ultrasound check the
22 very same day, and they realised that the gall condition was critical.
23 There was a danger of it bursting causing further complications similar
24 to the ones suffered here by a general in the Detention Unit. Had the
25 gall burst, the very next day I would have turned yellow and my condition
1 would have suffered. I was sent for examination the very same day and
2 hospitalised. I received infusion and prepared for an operation. The
3 operation followed. (redacted)
4 (redacted) My convalescence went well but in terms
5 of my metabolism and other issues, they still remain. Several detainees
6 developed diabetes while being there, or their pre-existing diagnosis
7 worsened. I believe it is not possible to cure or pre-empt the
8 development of a disease in conditions that cause it. If there are so
9 many incidences of diabetes one must give thought to the environment or
10 else it is useless unless conditions are changed. It is difficult to
11 expect any change in the situation overall if we do not tackle that. My
12 glucosis level has been stabilized in the meantime through the
13 application of oral therapy. Given the fact that it occurred only a year
14 or two ago, since my arrival here, it seems that my blood vessels remain
15 intact despite the symptoms. However, unless I'm treated, that situation
16 will not persist. In terms of diabetes, there are some long and
17 short-term problems. Short-term problems are lack of concentration and
18 poor memory because my cells are unable to use adequate sugar levels.
19 Long-term consequences are the damage to the blood vessels and some
20 organs. The use of glucosis in the brain and the muscles is made
21 impossible unless there are sufficient levels of insulin.
22 Since the time when I had the correspondence about the conditions
23 in my health, events developed catastrophically. I have in mind item D,
24 which provides me with an opportunity to address you on the issues that
25 need to be resolved. There are no guarantees whatsoever that should
1 events continue, I will not be affected. The events in question are as
2 follows. There were two sudden deaths and two suicides that took place
3 in the Detention Unit before my arrival. Just before my arrival and
4 since that time, the following happened: Eleven detainees were diagnosed
5 with serious malignant diseases some of them are no longer with us
6 because the diagnosis came too late for treatment. Such a high rate of
7 incidents in such a small sample requires full attention, first and
8 foremost by the UN because we are their responsibility. It also calls
9 for an investigation by the World Health Organisation. There was another
10 suicide after the person in question had served their sentence. There
11 was a serious case of physical disability resulting in an interruption in
12 the trial. Another eight detainees developed serious diseases or saw
13 their existing diseases worsen. What we probably receive in the
14 Detention Unit is customary for the legal and custodial system of the
15 Netherlands, but as it turns out, with people who are fragile and growing
16 old, it is no longer sufficient. We need to examine whether it is the
17 issue of food, the construction material used in the Detention Unit, or
18 something else. We should give thought to some changes in the medical
19 coverage system so as to have a doctor present every day. I cannot
20 explain about specific people. The staff are very fair and everything is
21 fine, but the system is flawed because it resulted in the sequence of
22 events. God forbid hopefully there will be no longer malignant diseases
23 occurring, there are no conditions to the contrary. The incidence is so
24 high that I am surprised that no one is doing anything about it. I wrote
25 to the UN DU management asking that they should require an investigation
1 and no one did anything. There must be a certain factor in the
2 environment there which causes all this.
3 This was by way of an introduction. If you would like to have
4 any further clarification, I am at your disposal.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Karadzic.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let me draw your attention to page
8 7, line -- there's mention of a physical disability but I was talking
9 about psychological mental state, state of psychosis which caused the
10 interruption in the trial.
11 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Line 8.
13 JUDGE KWON: The Chamber is relieved to hear that you are
14 personally well at the moment, recovering from the surgery. The Chamber
15 has duly noted your observation as to the general condition of detention
16 at the Detention Unit but I believe there is a regime which I believe is
17 fully functioning, but since you are seeking no specific remedy, I will
18 repeat what we said in our previous order, that the Chamber gives the
19 highest regard to your health.
20 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, would you like to add anything?
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour, there's no need for that.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE KWON: Judge Morrison.
24 JUDGE MORRISON: Dr. Karadzic, are you able to get sufficient
25 physical exercise?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Excellency. Now I do,
2 because I don't have to work on preparations anymore, and now I get more
3 physical exercise. I go walking, I play tennis.
4 JUDGE MORRISON: I asked that because, although I may be wrong,
5 my impression is that you lost a bit of weight since I last saw you face
6 to face, but that may be as a result of an exercise regime as much as
7 anything else.
8 Thank you.
9 JUDGE BAIRD: Dr. Karadzic, the passive cool box that you
10 requested, was it refused or is it in the pipeline? Any idea at all?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] A year ago, Dr. Falke said that
12 that should be approved. I wrote them, but it still didn't happen.
13 These people are excellent but rules are absolutely senseless. It's
14 absolutely senseless, some of these things. For instance, there are
15 people who are vegetarians or people who observe the Orthodox lent and
16 they have no fridges to keep this food. It was not enough for Dr. Falke
17 to say that it should be approved, that it's reasonable. There's a good
18 reason. I absolutely can't see why cool boxes can't be kept. It would
19 be good for our health. At least that passive cool box.
20 Apart from that, the food the ICC prisoners get is much better
21 because they simply refused to some other things, and they got something
22 better. But the United Nations is overseeing both courts. I don't see
23 any point in this. I'm not actually asking for them to be deprived of
24 it, I'm asking for the same thing to be given to us.
25 JUDGE BAIRD: Thank you very much, indeed.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Excellencies, what Judge Kwon
3 said is not what I'm asking. I am asking for an inquiry to be made and
4 to exclude the possibility of this malignancy on rampage, because it's
5 very unusual that the incidence of disease be so high on such a small
6 sample of population.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Karadzic, what you have raised does not seem to
9 be within the competence of the Trial Chamber. There are proper ways
10 through which you can raise those issues vis-ą-vis the Detention Unit and
11 the Registrar; also as to the monitoring and supervision of the
12 Detention Unit, I also believe there is a proper regime separately.
13 Unless there's another matter to be raised -- yes.
14 Judge Morrison has a question for you.
15 JUDGE MORRISON: Well, it's a request more than a question,
16 Dr. Karadzic. We didn't find out about your gall-bladder problems until
17 pretty late in the day or the events that preceded them. So what we
18 would simply ask is that if your health starts to deteriorate in the
19 future that we are informed as soon as practicable at as early a stage as
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I always gave approval
22 for the Trial Chamber to be kept informed, but so far, before disturbing
23 the Trial Chamber I wrote letters through all the proper channels, and if
24 the Trial Chamber is interested, I could make it available to them, for
25 the Chamber to see that before addressing the Chamber, I did address all
1 the proper instances. But the rules are probably designed for another
2 type of population, not this one, so I was not successful in getting the
3 attention of these other instances.
4 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Now the hearing is adjourned.
5 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned
6 at 9.31 a.m.