Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 180

1 Thursday, 19 May 2005

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.

6 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Microphone not activated]

7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.

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

9 number IT-95-11-PT, the Prosecutor versus Milan Martic.

10 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Microphone not activated]

11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

12 JUDGE CANIVELL: Yes. Thank you, Madam Registrar.

13 May we have the appearances, please, for the Prosecution.

14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good afternoon, Your Honour. For the

15 Prosecution, my name is Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff, and I appear with my

16 colleague Nisha Valabhji, and we are accompanied by case manager, Lakshmie

17 Walpita.

18 JUDGE CANIVELL: Thank you.

19 And for the Defence, please.

20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.

21 I am the lead counsel for Milan Martic, Predrag Milovancevic, and this is

22 my legal assistant.

23 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter did not get the name,

24 unfortunately.

25 JUDGE CANIVELL: Thank you.

Page 181

1 Mr. Martic, please, can you hear the proceedings in a language

2 that you can understand?

3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.

4 JUDGE CANIVELL: Thank you. You may sit down.

5 With this Status Conference doesn't have much matters to deal

6 with, fortunately, as I understand. First of all, I will speak about the

7 pending motions, and I am going to read the proposed decision about them.

8 First, the Defence motion for provisional release. The Chamber

9 will take a decision as soon as it is informed of the commencement for the

10 possible date of the commencement of the trial. No, that's not in

11 reference with that -- but I mean, as soon as possible we'll take a

12 reference -- a decision about that.

13 The Defence motion for recommendation has validly done the

14 filings concerning the Defence objections on the admission of the

15 Prosecution expert and witness' statements. The parties were informed

16 during the meeting held pursuant to Rule 65 ter yesterday, Wednesday, 18

17 May, 2005, that the Chamber would render an oral decision on this issue,

18 chiefly the Defence motion for recognizing as validly done the Defence's

19 submissions concerning objections to the admission of expert and witness'

20 statements or testimonies.

21 The Chamber also takes note of the filings made by the parties

22 in relation to the Defence motion to recognise as validly done the filings

23 concerning the admission of written evidence requested by the Prosecution.

24 The Chamber finds that good cause exists in the present case in accordance

25 with Rule 127 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. In particular, the

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1 Chamber considers that it is in the interests of justice, in particular for

2 the expeditiousness of the proceedings, to consider as validly done the

3 findings made in relation to the Defence objections to the admission of

4 written statements.

5 I would like to add also that the Chamber will deal with the

6 Defence objections, despite the fact that some of them had been filed out

7 of time. Nevertheless, I have to and I would like to remind the Defence of

8 its obligation to respect the lines which are enshrined within the

9 Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence. As they have been told before,

10 I insist that no further filings out of time will be accepted, unless there

11 are very good grounds for such late filings.

12 I have been informed also about the situation on the agreed

13 facts. I know that the Defence is still not decided or there's not

14 agreement in accepting some of these facts that are put forward as agreed

15 facts. I refer to the last two ones of the 45 that are included.

16 And, I know that a new 65 ter meeting is being, tentatively at

17 least, scheduled for next month on the 23rd, I believe, to deal with this

18 matter as well as with other matters that couldn't be decided, not

19 yesterday, not today. I would like to add the Chamber wishes to be briefed

20 about the outcome of these proceedings.

21 And now I could refer to Mr. Martic's situation, about primarily

22 his mental and physical condition. Tell me, Mr. Martic, do you feel in

23 good condition physically and mentally?

24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may, I would

25 like to speak after the Prosecution and the Defence taking the floor, if

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1 you agree. I would prefer to first listen to what they have to say and

2 then make a comment of my own.

3 JUDGE CANIVELL: After the Prosecution? But I haven't asked the

4 Prosecution about that. It's for you to answer if you are feeling well

5 mentally and physically to keep waiting for the hearing of your case. Do

6 you have any problems with your health?

7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank God, I'm okay, but I would

8 like to say a few things in relation to my case having had the opportunity

9 to listen to what the Prosecution and the Defence say.

10 JUDGE CANIVELL: I'm not so sure the Prosecution -- has the

11 Prosecution anything to comment on or to say about Mr. Martic's health?

12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour. But actually as we had

13 the -- the meeting yesterday, which was quite extensive, I don't actually

14 have anything to say, except for perhaps there is room for some more

15 agreement on facts, and I think before the 65 ter conference, the next one,

16 we -- the Defence and the Prosecution will meet and discuss it. So we may

17 come up with a proposal already so that the 65 ter conference, the next

18 one, can be brief. That's actually all I can say.

19 JUDGE CANIVELL: Well, thank you. That is a very good idea,

20 because what is necessary is that you relate, the parties, between

21 yourselves so as to try to make going as expeditiously as possible this

22 case.

23 But I believe that Mr. Milovancevic wants also to say something.

24 Please go ahead.

25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.

Page 184

1 I would just like to tell the Trial Chamber that I am fully aware of the

2 fact that we must file our documents in good time. As you've mentioned, we

3 have two submissions that we would like to be accepted as if it had been

4 done on time.

5 Let me just point out that we did initially file them within

6 deadlines, but the secretariat, for the reasons we don't know, were delayed

7 by more than a month. And as soon as we got the requests, we replied as

8 soon as possible, and it is for this reason that we have submitted the

9 request for them to be admitted as if they had been on time. I just

10 thought I should explain this in order to avoid you having the wrong

11 impression of us not obeying the Rules.

12 And just one other brief point, but an important one, the pre-

13 trial brief was submitted last year. We know that there is more than

14 14.000 pages there, and all that will be revealed in the course of the

15 trial as proof. And then meanwhile, we'll be working with witnesses, et

16 cetera, and meanwhile we got about thousands of pages from the Prosecution.

17 And considering the situation, I am obliged to tell the Trial Chamber that

18 the Defence has been put in a position which is not at all equal to that of

19 the Prosecution, in the sense that we have no funds for -- we haven't had

20 anything for 14 months, and this interferes with the rights of the accused.

21 Our investigators have not been working for the past 14 months because of

22 that. And now this is the fourth Status Conference on the occasion of

23 which we must appeal to you to have some understanding for the accused's

24 situation. I mean, the funds we did have were put to good use in the best

25 possible way, but now, if we compare our situation to that of the

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1 Prosecution - I mean, and it is not our position that we have to worry

2 about but the position of the accused - and I think this is an important

3 piece of information for the Trial Chamber. Thank you.

4 JUDGE CANIVELL: Okay. Thank you. I am going to answer you

5 before the second point, and we will speak about the first later on.

6 It's nothing that it can be done by this Pre-Trial Judge about

7 defending that you insist. In most occasions we are meeting about lacking.

8 So I couldn't give you an answer about that. But I am not only confident

9 but sure that you will be able, with the help of Mr. Sekulic, I am sure

10 that both of you will be able to overcome whatever difficulties you will

11 have to keep going on in correction with this case.

12 So would you excuse me for a moment.

13 Ms. Registrar.

14 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

15 JUDGE CANIVELL: Well, as for the problems that you seem to have

16 experienced with the time limits for your filings, I know yesterday you

17 were given explanations about one of these cases. They went as far as the

18 registrar knew what had happened. And of course, if you remember well, and

19 I am well informed, the same person of the registry, Madam Kelly Philpott,

20 present here, told you that if you ever had any doubts about any case she

21 would be very happy to help you find out what had been the case.

22 So I suppose that with that the problem is settled in correction

23 with you, with respect from the Tribunal.

24 Well, it's another -- yes, a moment. It's another question

25 which I would like to ask you. You had problems, Mr. Martic, or you don't

Page 186

1 have any in communicating with your counsel in the preparation of your

2 defence?

3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is the fifth or

4 the sixth time you've asked me this question, and I've always told you that

5 I'm more than happy with my Defence team. What I would like to say, in

6 order to support my lawyers, in pointing out that the secretariat has not

7 been working properly, because my rights have been interfered with. More

8 than a year -- for more than a year people have been working without

9 adequate resources, that interferes with my rights and the rights of my

10 defence. And I mean furthermore, the secretariat keeps trying to make our

11 lives difficult on a daily basis basically. But I'm not going to go into

12 any details here because I won't go into this at this point. It would be

13 inappropriate.

14 But I would really like to know when is the trial finally going

15 to start, because I've been here for about four years. I wonder whether

16 I'm going to go down in the Guinness Book of Records for my length of

17 detention before trial. And I mean, what is the point of the length of

18 this detention without the trial date even having been set? Is it some

19 kind of psychological pressure being brought to bear in order for me to

20 somehow reach some -- some kind of agreement and admit to something that I

21 have not committed? If that's the whole point, I will have to disappoint

22 you and tell you no matter how long you keep me here you won't succeed,

23 because my people say that it is very important to keep face. And that

24 means that I've decided to defend myself on the basis of the truth and

25 argument, and I feel I am 100 per cent innocent, and I do hope that on the

Page 187

1 basis of arguments, put forward with the help of my Defence team, I shall

2 be able to prove this.

3 And it is for this reason that it is unclear to me for what

4 reason I am being held here before the trial can commence. And this is

5 something that I've asked many times.

6 And as to the provisional release, I said this to you three

7 years ago: Don't release me provisionally, put me on trial. I'm not

8 afraid of this trial. I don't know what your arguments are. Why do I have

9 to wait for five years? Apparently, I am going to have to wait for five

10 years. And since I am presumed innocent from your point of view, I am

11 still innocent for as long as you don't prove me guilty in the course of

12 that trial. And so innocent as I am, who knows for how long I'm going to

13 rot here. And well, that's what I want to know.

14 JUDGE CANIVELL: Thank you for your words. I understand very

15 well -- please sit down. I understand very well your impatience about your

16 case being heard by this Court. I am afraid that it's not still possible

17 to start, and you know very well - perhaps that's been told to you - that

18 we don't have enough courtrooms to be working. You know that we are

19 working morning and afternoons so as not to lose a single moment. And we

20 have also the problem with the number of Judges, you know. So be sure that

21 we are trying to enter your case in the docket as soon as possible, and

22 it's already thought that perhaps in the next -- after the summer we would

23 be beginning the case. And I am very sorry. It's the most I can tell you

24 about. And I understand very well your situation.

25 Well, I believe that Mr. Milovancevic wanted to also express

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1 himself. Please go ahead, Mr. Milovancevic. You had something to say?

2 Yes, please.

3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just a brief

4 explanation. I do understand that the Appeal Chamber has already decided

5 this, and I haven't asked you to make another decision now because I know

6 it's impossible. As to the Defence position, I would simply like to tell

7 you that in July last year we put a request to the Registrar for additional

8 resources. That request was turned down in February this year, after nine

9 months, as long as nine months, a huge delay if we consider the situation

10 of the accused. He's in detention. And now we are appealing this. We

11 want this decision to be re-examined. And this was the reason why I felt

12 that it would be pertinent for me to point out to you how difficult the

13 Defence team's situation is at the moment. We are really not in an equal

14 position with regard to the Prosecution.

15 Thank you.

16 JUDGE CANIVELL: I understand what are your concerns, but it's

17 nothing more I can tell you about funding for your case, I mean, the case

18 you are defending. You have got already the decision from the Appeals

19 Chamber. And whatever circumstances that may follow after that, you have

20 to see with the Registrar what is possible to be done. So I'm sorry, I

21 cannot give you any other help on the matter for the time being.

22 I wonder, is there any other subject that you would like to

23 suggest? No?

24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I just want to correct

25 something, because Mr. Martic said he's sitting here for four years.

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1 That's not true. He's here for three years. I think it should not be

2 exaggerated. It's a long time, that's for sure.

3 JUDGE CANIVELL: Yes. Thank you very much.

4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's for sure. But it shouldn't be said.

5 JUDGE CANIVELL: I appreciate very much your explaining that,

6 but it's completely understandable. From the bar I had already noticed

7 that, but I couldn't object to Mr. Martic. Because when you are in the

8 position he is, years may be more standard than they really are.

9 So you would like to explain something else? Go ahead, Mr.

10 Martic, please. Yes. Yes, please.

11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, obviously either the

12 translation was wrong or madam has misunderstood. I don't want to give the

13 impression that I'm somehow not all right. I have started my fourth year

14 here, and that's true. On the 15th of May, it has been a full three years,

15 which means that I've just started my fourth year here, so that's what I

16 meant. Either you misunderstood or the interpreter was not good enough.

17 I'm still not sick in the head, you know, just in case you were wondering.

18 JUDGE CANIVELL: It's okay. Don't worry, Mr. Martic. None of

19 us has thought any ill-faith on your side about that, but we understand

20 what is the situation and it's clear what is said by both sides, both

21 parties.

22 Well, if anything else is not to be brought about in this case,

23 I will end this meeting. Of course, as is provided for in the Rules, we'll

24 have to meet again in no more than four months, 120 more days, for another

25 Status Conference, which means around the end of September. Let's hope

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1 that at this moment the case may have probably - I don't know - surely

2 started.

3 So I conclude this meeting, and not without expressing to both

4 parties and to the personnel that has helped with the carrying-out of this

5 ceremony, and thus we adjourn. Thank you.

6 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at

7 2.42 p.m.