Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 1

1 Wednesday, 31 July 2002

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The appellant entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 11.09 a.m.

6 JUDGE MERON: Madam Registrar, please call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is case number IT-97-25-A

8 the Prosecutor versus Milorad Krnojelac.

9 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Krnojelac, stand up, please. Thank you. Can

10 you hear the proceedings and understand what is going on?

11 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I hear you quite

12 well, and I understand you. The only thing I don't understand is where is

13 my Defence counsel?

14 JUDGE MERON: As you know, with your agreement it has been decided

15 that we will be contacting your Defence counsel by telephone link, and we

16 have been advised that you have agreed to that procedure. That is

17 correct; isn't it?

18 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that is correct, but

19 I didn't know that that is how the proceedings would evolve.

20 JUDGE MERON: Yes, indeed. That was the whole point. That is why

21 we have obtained your agreement, Mr. Krnojelac, and the agreement of the

22 Defence counsel.

23 Thank you very much, and you may be seated.

24 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Thank you.

25 JUDGE MERON: May I please have the appearances. First for the

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1 Prosecution.

2 MR. STAKER: May it please Your Honour. I my name is Christopher

3 Staker. I appear today on behalf of the Prosecution with my colleague

4 Mr. Anthony Carmona. Our case manager is Ms. Nicola Bonfield.

5 JUDGE MERON: Thank you very much. As I have just explained, the

6 Defence counsel for Mr. Krnojelac and Mr. Bakrac will participate in the

7 Status Conference by telephone link to Belgrade. And as I have already

8 indicated, the accused has agreed to this procedure, and I thank him again

9 for that.

10 Now, is the telephone link ready to Mr. Bakrac?

11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. It has been set up.

12 JUDGE MERON: Thank you very much. Now, Mr. Bakrac, can you hear

13 me?

14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE MERON: So, Mr. Bakrac, you are on the line; correct?

16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, correct.

17 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. I can hear you now. Mr. Bakrac, you are

18 appearing, of course, for Mr. Krnojelac. That is correct; isn't it?

19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

20 JUDGE MERON: Thank you very much, Mr. Krnojelac, and again I

21 would like to thank you for agreeing to this procedure this morning of

22 contacting you through the telephone link.

23 I would now like to explain the purpose of this Status Conference.

24 As you know, pursuant to Rule 65 bis of our Rules of Procedure, a Status

25 Conference must be held within 120 days of the filing of the notice of

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1 appeal. The notices of appeal in this case were filed on the 15th of

2 April, 2002, by the Defence, and on the 12th of April by the Prosecution.

3 Now, the purpose of this Status Conference is to allow any person

4 in custody pending appeal the opportunity to raise issues pertaining to

5 the custody, including the mental and physical conditions of the person

6 who is detained. So we do have this morning a double purpose. The first

7 is to allow Mr. Krnojelac to express concerns about his detention, either

8 directly to us or through his counsel, relating to conditions of

9 detention.

10 Our second purpose is to update the parties with respect to the

11 status of the appeal.

12 So let me start from the first point, which concerns the

13 conditions of detention. And may I start by asking Mr. Bakrac, the

14 counsel for Mr. Krnojelac, if there are any problems in this regard to

15 which he would like to raise with me. Mr. Bakrac?

16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Regarding

17 the conditions of detention, perhaps it would be best for the accused

18 himself to tell us whether anything has changed and whether he has

19 anything to say. In contacts with him, I didn't hear any serious

20 complaints regarding conditions of detention. Mr. Krnojelac will probably

21 be moved to another Detention Unit, having spent four years in this one,

22 so perhaps it would be best for Mr. Krnojelac himself, the accused, to say

23 something about the conditions of detention if any changes have occurred

24 in the meantime and if he has any difficulties at all.

25 JUDGE MERON: Thank you very much, Mr. Bakrac. So it is my

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1 understanding that on your part you do not see any problems, and of course

2 I was planning to turn now to the accused, to Mr. Krnojelac, and ask him.

3 May I ask you to stand up, Mr. Krnojelac. I would like you to

4 tell me if you have any questions or problems which you would like to

5 raise with me regarding your detention. Mr. Krnojelac.

6 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for

7 inquiring. However, I have two point out one thing. Regardless of the

8 conditions I'm in, a prison for me is a prison, for never in my 63 years

9 of life have I been in prison. However, the circumstances are such as

10 they are, and that is where I am. And some 20 days ago, I was told that I

11 have to go again to another building, building 96, and I stated at the

12 time to the gentleman talking to me that I find it very difficult to move

13 for several reasons, because after all, one gets used to one's cell and

14 the view one has from the window. I don't know whether this will be done

15 in the next couple of days. The administration knows that.

16 There are also other problems that occur on a daily basis, and one

17 of the greatest for me just now is even worse than the fact that I am here

18 and that is that my brother is very seriously ill. So all this

19 contributes to the difficulties I am having in accepting these conditions,

20 as I consider myself to be innocent. But life is such that one has to

21 accept and accept one's destiny.

22 So except for this nervousness that I have and the illness of my

23 brother, I have nothing to complain of regarding the personnel in

24 particular, not even the cell. It is fine. But after all, a prison is a

25 prison. Even a bird doesn't like to be shut in and a window doesn't like

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1 to be closed, but that is my destiny just now, and that is my situation.

2 Thank you.

3 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Krnojelac. You may sit down. I can

4 assure you that I understand your points. I understand that insofar as

5 the conditions of detention are concerned, they are regular, and you have

6 no specific problems or complaints regarding those conditions of

7 detention, and I take note of this.

8 May I also advise you that should you have any real problems or

9 difficulties, you may raise them, of course, under Rules 84 to 88 of the

10 Rules governing the detention of persons awaiting trial or appeal before

11 the Tribunal or otherwise detained on the authority of the Tribunal, and

12 this is document IT.doc.38/Rev.8, and if you wish, a copy of those would

13 be provided to you.

14 Now, let me now turn to the status of the appeal which is the

15 second point which I wanted to discuss with you this morning.

16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise. Your

17 Honour.

18 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Bakrac, please.

19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I do apologise if I interrupted you,

20 but this is due to technical problems, because I am not physically

21 present. So this is the only way I have to add a few words.

22 JUDGE MERON: By all means, Mr. Bakrac. Go ahead.

23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I just

24 wanted to ask, further to what has just been said by Mr. Krnojelac, that

25 the Appeals Chamber consider the possibility of avoiding moving to another

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1 building if that is not absolutely essential. In other words, that Your

2 Honours invest your authority and try and intervene so as to have the

3 accused remain in the part of the detention centre he has been in so far.

4 So generally speaking, as far as I understand my client, we do not

5 have any specific problems except for all the reasons he has mentioned and

6 the illness in the family. The Defence would request, if possible, for

7 this Chamber to interfere, invest its authority, and try and keep

8 Mr. Krnojelac in the Detention Unit in which he has been up to now.

9 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac. I will make the necessary

10 inquiries, and perhaps you will want to be in touch with our legal staff

11 to pursue this further.

12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

13 THE REGISTRAR: The Registry will always look into these matters,

14 and I will get back to you as well.

15 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Bakrac, I take it you have heard the comment of

16 Madam Registrar.

17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you. And I thank

18 Madam Registrar as well.

19 JUDGE MERON: And I, on my part as I have indicated to you as

20 well, will make the necessary inquiries.

21 So, Mr. Bakrac, we can now proceed to discuss the status of the

22 appeal, I take it?

23 Pursuant to my decision of 16 of July, the appellant's brief by

24 the Prosecution under Rule 111 of the Rules shall be filed no later than

25 the 5th of August, 2002. The appellant's brief by counsel for

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13 English transcripts.













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1 Mr. Krnojelac shall be filed no later than 21 of August, 2002.

2 Pursuant to Rule 112, the response by Mr. Krnojelac is due on the

3 14th of September, which as you know, is a Saturday. This means that the

4 filing is actually due on Monday, 16th of September, 2002. The response

5 by the Prosecution is due on Monday, 30th of September 2002.

6 Pursuant to Rule 113, the reply by the Prosecution is due on

7 Tuesday, 1 October 2002. The reply by Mr. Krnojelac is due on Tuesday,

8 the 15th of October 2002.

9 Now, given the absence of these briefs, which are not yet due,

10 during our Status Conference today there is little that can be said at

11 this stage. Issues arising in connection with these briefs may be dealt

12 with during the next Status Conference which may, of course, be more

13 substantive in character.

14 Do the parties have any questions?

15 The Prosecution?

16 MR. STAKER: Your Honour, not a question, but there is one matter

17 that the Prosecution would wish to raise if this is a convenient moment.

18 JUDGE MERON: Please do.

19 MR. STAKER: Your Honour, the Prosecution is of the view that the

20 Defence refiled notice of appeal, which was filed on the 21st of May,

21 2002, contains an additional ground of appeal that was not included in the

22 original notice of appeal filed on the 7th of May, 2002. And the

23 Prosecution is also of the view that the addition of that further ground

24 of appeal at this stage would require the leave of the Appeals Chamber, or

25 of Your Honour, the Pre-Appeal Judge, pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 3 of

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1 practice test IT/201. The Prosecution has raised this issue in

2 correspondence with the Defence and has further indicated that if the

3 Defence were to file a motion seeking leave to file to add this additional

4 ground, the Prosecution would not oppose it. The Defence has responded,

5 and if we understand the Defence view, it is that the refiled notice of

6 appeal does not in fact contain an additional ground or, in any event,

7 that if it does, that leave is not required. Therefore, there seems to be

8 some disagreement between the Prosecution and the Defence on that

9 question.

10 Your Honour, I would say that since the Prosecution would not

11 oppose any such motion, it is somewhat of a technical matter, but we would

12 submit that it is of some importance that procedural requirements are

13 complied with, and it may be that this is a matter that could be sorted

14 out at this Status Conference. If it is the fact that the Defence does

15 require leave to add a further ground of appeal, the Prosecution would not

16 oppose the Defence making an oral motion at this Status Conference, which

17 could then be perhaps even ruled on orally by Your Honour, and that would

18 regularise the matter. Or alternatively, if Your Honour is of the view

19 that leave is not required, then that would settle the matter also.

20 If Your Honour is of the view that it's not appropriate to deal

21 with that at the Status Conference, it could also be dealt with in written

22 filings, but we thought it appropriate to raise this question at this

23 stage.

24 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. You have not raised this so far in any

25 of your written communications with the Tribunal, have you?

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1 MR. STAKER: Not with the Chamber, Your Honour. We attempted to

2 sort it out with the Defence by way of correspondence. It seems there is

3 a continuing disagreement between the parties on that question. As I say,

4 it's a relatively technical matter. It's not something that the

5 Prosecution is opposing in substance, but the Prosecution would submit

6 that there is some importance in procedural formalities being complied

7 with.

8 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Bakrac, may I have your comments on the point

9 just made by the Prosecutor?

10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yes. Thank you. I

11 heard my learned friend very well, but first of all, I should like to

12 check whether perhaps the interpretation was wrong or an error -- a typing

13 error regarding the decision when the Prosecution needs to file its

14 appeal.

15 I received a written decision in which it says that the 5th of

16 August is the deadline for the Prosecution's appeal, whereas I heard the

17 interpretation a moment ago said the 15th of August.

18 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Bakrac, it is the 5th of August.

19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.

20 Regarding what my learned friend the Prosecutor raised a moment

21 ago, it is absolutely correct, everything that he said. We did have some

22 correspondence regarding this matter, and the position of the Defence is

23 as follows, which I have presented in my letter to my learned friend the

24 Prosecutor: It is the position of the Defence that even in the first

25 notice of appeal, in ground 6 for the appeal and paragraph 5 of the notice

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1 of appeal, the Defence challenged the decision on sentencing. Therefore,

2 it is our position that this was contained in the first notice of appeal

3 as a ground for appeal so that we have asked -- we have received

4 instructions from the Appeals Chamber and from you as the Pre-Trial Judge

5 and in accordance with the directive mentioned by my learned friend that

6 we prepare a new notice of appeal. And we felt that with this new notice

7 of appeal, the possibility has been opened for the grounds of appeal to be

8 reformulated if necessary.

9 Therefore, it is our position that in the first notice of appeal,

10 the decision on sentencing was a ground of appeal, and in view of the fact

11 that the directive permits the Pre-Trial Judge either to instruct the

12 appellant to complement his notice of appeal or to compile a new notice of

13 appeal. So we feel that by the directives given by the Pre-Trial Judge to

14 prepare a new notice of appeal, the possibility has been opened for the

15 rewording or reformulation of the grounds of appeal.

16 So it is my position that the submissions made by my learned

17 friend the Prosecution are not in order. But if you feel that it is, for

18 reasons of form, necessary to ask the Pre-Trial Judge permission to file

19 an additional notice of appeal or a new notice of appeal, the Defence has

20 nothing against acting accordingly. But it is my position that what I

21 have already said is appropriate so that the kind of notice of appeal that

22 has been filed is appropriate.

23 Thank you.

24 JUDGE MERON: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac. Let me reflect on this a

25 second.

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1 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]

2 JUDGE MERON: I do not see, frankly, much of a problem there. It

3 is also the factor to which you have alluded a moment ago, that the

4 attention of the Pre-Appeal Judge has not been drawn to this problem

5 before.

6 Now, if you feel strongly enough about this problem to pursue it,

7 I would suggest that this be done by written filings. I would have hoped

8 that this can be resolved between -- since you are not opposed. Even if

9 this were a new ground of appeal, you are not opposed to it. It would

10 have been helpful to the Pre-Appeal Judge if this could be resolved

11 directly between the Defence and the Prosecution. But if it cannot, by

12 all means address this matter by written filings.

13 MR. STAKER: Thank you, Your Honour.

14 JUDGE MERON: So let us now pursue the matter, and we will --

15 again, I would very much appreciate it if this small point could be

16 resolved without requiring the Bench to deal with it. But if it cannot, I

17 will understand and we will just proceed.

18 Now, any more questions from Mr. Bakrac or the Prosecution? If

19 not, then I would simply note that we wish you a fair and expeditious

20 conduct of the proceedings. The Bench expects the Prosecution to do

21 whatever is necessary under Rule 68 pertaining to disclosure of

22 exculpatory material, and it is our assumption that you are doing the

23 necessary.

24 Now, any comments or questions? Mr. Bakrac? No. Prosecution?

25 No.

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1 So if there are no further issues or questions to be dealt with

2 during the Status Conference, the case is now adjourned, and I thank you

3 for your being here.

4 The case is adjourned.

5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour. Your Honour. Your

6 Honour, excuse me, can you hear me? Your Honour. Hello. Hello.

7 JUDGE MERON: There is a question from Mr. Bakrac.

8 Mr. Bakrac, by all means please proceed, and I am terribly sorry.

9 That's one of the problems with a telephone link, that we cannot see you.

10 Please do proceed.

11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I do

12 understand it, and I think it was all perfect so far, and this is a minor

13 problem like the one we addressed a moment ago.

14 I'd merely like to raise a question which I think is in agreement

15 with Rule 65 bis, according to which parties may raise various questions

16 concerning the case. Perhaps this is the proper time for me to make a

17 request regarding the time or, rather, the deadline for our response to

18 the Prosecution's appeal.

19 There are two reasons, two reasons why the Defence wishes a

20 shorter, more reasonable deadline for the response. The first one is --

21 is that the Prosecution has the time as of the 5th of August to file its

22 appeal so that the time within which we shall have to present our response

23 will already overlap with the time during which Defence will be preparing

24 its pre-appeal brief, which is the -- and the deadline for that is the

25 21st of August. So that is the chief reason.

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1 The second reason, which is perhaps more important even, that the

2 Defence agreed that the Prosecution should have the leave to extend its

3 appeal from 100 to 130 pages, and that is why I would like to seize this

4 opportunity, and I believe this is fully in conformity of the Rules, to

5 ask the Chamber to allow the Defence -- to grant the Defence an additional

6 seven days for its response so that the response to the appeal, if it

7 could be the 23rd. All the more so, since after the appeal has been

8 filed -- after the filing of the appeal, this Defence counsel wishes to

9 consult the client regarding the allegations in the appeal of the

10 Prosecutor and thus intends to spend the end of August in The Hague with

11 the accused for the sake of consultations with him.

12 I think that a seven-day delay is a sensible time in view of the

13 arguments which I have just put forward.

14 JUDGE MERON: Mr. Bakrac, I thought that the schedule of filings

15 has been resolved in reply of the Pre-Appeal Judge to the various filings

16 by the Defence and by the Prosecution, and I'm not quite sure that this is

17 really an appropriate matter to raise during the Status Conference when we

18 have already resolved this matter.

19 However, if you believe that the matter is of real importance,

20 then I suggest that you submit an appropriate motion to us and do it as

21 quickly as possible. We will consider it.

22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will do

23 that after consultation with my client this afternoon.

24 JUDGE MERON: Thank you. And I really would hope that regarding

25 filing dates there can be some kind of finality. I did believe that we

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1 had resolved these issues in a way which is fair to both the Defence and

2 the Prosecution. But in any event, if you feel strongly about it and want

3 to submit an appropriate motion in writing, then do so. I would hope that

4 you would do so only if you consider it really of -- of real importance

5 and necessary.

6 Now, I take it that we can now adjourn this Status Conference.

7 The case is adjourned.

8 --- Whereupon the Status Conference

9 adjourned 11.40 a.m.