Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 443

1 Wednesday, 16 October 2002

2 [Open session]

3 [Status Conference]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 3.11 p.m.

6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Will the Registrar call the case, please.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour, case number

8 IT-99-37-PT, the Prosecutor versus Nikola Sainovic and Dragoljub Ojdanic.

9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, may we have the appearances.

10 MR. NICE: I appear for the Prosecution but I have general

11 oversight of the case but the case is being dealt with substantially by

12 Ms. Romano who sits beside me, Mr. Saxon, and Mr. Shin and they'll deal

13 with most of the matters for today.

14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much. For the Defence?

15 Appearances for the Defence?

16 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honour, my name is Toma

17 Fila, and together with Zoran Jovanovic, an attorney from Belgrade, I

18 appear for Nikola Sainovic.

19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honour, my name is

20 Tomislav Visnjic and with my colleague, Vojislav Selezan, I appear for

21 General Ojdanic.

22 JUDGE ROBINSON: We have a number of matters to discuss today in

23 this Status Conference. I'll start first with the preliminary motions.

24 There is a motion filed by Ojdanic seeking compliance with Rule 66(A)(i)

25 and I am to say that the Chamber will give its decision on that by Friday

Page 444

1 of this week.

2 Then there is a preliminary motion filed by the accused Sainovic,

3 however, the Ojdanic Defence has indicated that it will also file a

4 preliminary motion within 30 days of the determination of its motion as to

5 disclosure. The Chamber has this motion under consideration but it

6 will -- seems sensible to deal with both matters at the same time.

7 I turn now to the pre-trial preparation, Rule 66(A)(i) disclosure,

8 subject to the resolution of the matters raised in the Ojdanic motion, it

9 appears that this phase of the disclosure is complete. Rule 66(A)(ii)

10 disclosure, I am advised that the parties have worked cooperatively and

11 the 65 ter conference that was convened yesterday was successful in

12 resolving most of the issues.

13 Ms. Romano, are you the person who will speak on behalf of the

14 Prosecution?

15 MS. ROMANO: Yes, Your Honour, in some of the matters, yes, and in

16 some of the matters, Mr. Nice.

17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, perhaps you would bring us up to date on

18 the relevant matters such as the number of witnesses on which I understand

19 agreement has been reached and the disclosure matters.

20 MS. ROMANO: Your Honour, I don't know if agreement has been

21 reached but yesterday in the pre-trial, 65 ter conference, I just -- we

22 just discussed in a preliminary way some estimate number of witnesses and

23 court schedule and court time that we are working on but they are quite

24 preliminary.

25 JUDGE ROBINSON: I understand that. But let me tell you what I

Page 445

1 have been advised and you can say whether that's consistent with your

2 understanding. For crime base witnesses live, a number between 20 and

3 25.

4 MS. ROMANO: Yes, Your Honour, that's correct. Our intention is

5 to present one witness per site or maybe even less than that if a witness

6 can cover two sites at the same time, live witness, that's our intention

7 and that will amount to 20, 25.

8 JUDGE ROBINSON: That would be very good, yes. And crime base

9 witnesses under Rule 92 bis, a number between 36 and 40.

10 MS. ROMANO: Yes, Your Honour. We also discussed that in this

11 matter, we are quite uncertain because we will discuss with the Defence

12 and we will need the cooperation with the Defence. We intend to use

13 transcripts, we intend to use 92 bis and that will be depending on how we

14 will work with the Defence.

15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Experts, 8?

16 MS. ROMANO: Yes, we have identified 7 experts, they are the ones

17 that we used in the Milosevic case and we also forecast more experts but

18 we haven't identified them so far. But we will in the time frame given --

19 notice to --

20 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's likely to be more than eight? You have

21 seven from Milosevic?

22 MS. ROMANO: We have 7 from Milosevic. I'm not in a position to

23 advance right now how many more we will have but I'm sure that we will

24 have a couple more.

25 JUDGE ROBINSON: International witnesses, a number between 10 and

Page 446

1 15.

2 MS. ROMANO: Yes, Your Honour.

3 JUDGE ROBINSON: And insiders, 25 to 30.

4 MS. ROMANO: Yes.

5 JUDGE ROBINSON: And this gives a total of a number between 99 and

6 118 witnesses.

7 MS. ROMANO: Yes, Your Honour, I just raise again the fact that

8 this is quite preliminary and we are really working in a way that we can

9 introduce matters to short the court time and that we will work very close

10 with the Defence but that's our first work with numbers.

11 JUDGE ROBINSON: And the estimate for the presentation of the

12 Prosecution case, I have something written down but I'd prefer if you said

13 it.

14 MS. ROMANO: Our estimate is between 3 to 4 months plus what the

15 number of 92 bis crime base witness we will reach with the Defence.

16 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think that would be remarkable, yes.

17 We need to set a date for the disclosure of the witness statements

18 and I have in mind November 30th for the date for the disclosure of the

19 witness statements and for the disclosure of the reports from the experts,

20 November 30th, most of them you would have already.

21 MS. ROMANO: If I can clarify, Your Honour, yesterday I also

22 raised issue that in -- to complete our disclosure obligations under

23 66(A)(i) and 68 and the reciprocal disclosure we will need at least until

24 March of next year and we were looking into 65 ter filings and the

25 pre-trial brief in April, May so when you -- when you refer to November

Page 447

1 30, I just don't know --

2 JUDGE ROBINSON: That information is new to me. I wasn't aware

3 that we were looking so far down the road because I was going to set a

4 date for the pre-trial brief the end of January.

5 MS. ROMANO: Your Honour, if you can just give me one second to

6 confer with my colleagues.

7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, and the senior legal officer.

8 [Prosecution counsel confer]

9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Romano, I have concluded my conference before

10 you have concluded yours.

11 MS. ROMANO: Okay.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: I've taken into account what you have said and we

13 need to be as expeditious as possible. What I would do then is for the

14 witness statements, the end of December and the same date for the

15 disclosure of the expert reports subject to your seeking any extension of

16 time for good cause and the pre-trial brief, the end of February. The

17 reciprocal disclosure obligations need not necessarily be tied to the

18 other dates that we are fixing.

19 MS. ROMANO: Neither the 68, I understand that. I would just like

20 to raise a couple of other issues that we had in mind when we just pushed

21 the date to April or end of April. First is the preliminary motions that

22 are still standing.

23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes but those will be dealt with by the end of

24 this week, you will have -- one will be disposed of and -- what the

25 Chamber has in mind is to fix in its decision a date for all motions to be

Page 448

1 filed and dealt with, perhaps within a month of that. So I don't

2 anticipate that will hold us up too long.

3 MS. ROMANO: We are right now in the date of end of December for

4 the statements. The other issue that I would raise was that we were

5 intending to discuss this with the Defence and to seek manners on how to

6 present including the crime base evidence in a more expeditious way and

7 with the transcripts we need to just discuss with them or portions, large

8 portions of the transcript or anything that we can get agreement, common

9 agreements on and that can take some time and that will help to shorten

10 the time in court and presentation of the case. That's what we had in

11 mind.

12 JUDGE ROBINSON: You should still go ahead with that but I'd still

13 like to maintain the schedule that I just outlined, work towards that

14 schedule.

15 MS. ROMANO: We will do our best and I think we are in a good

16 position to start disclosing statements but I would like to have some time

17 to work on -- with the Defence on common points. One more matter that

18 could affect the time table would be the surrender of the last accused,

19 that is listed in the indictment.

20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, well if that arises that's an eventuality

21 that we'll have to deal with.

22 Is there any other matter that the Prosecutor wishes to raise

23 before I call on the Defence?

24 MS. ROMANO: Yes, Your Honour, just one matter that Mr. Nice will

25 raise.

Page 449

1 MR. NICE: Interviewing of the accused is a problem. There were

2 various protestations made at the application for the provisional release

3 about the willingness of the accused to be interviewed. That willingness

4 and those protestations have somewhat changed and so that they are now

5 said to be contingent on the granting of provisional release and

6 interviews that are only available in Belgrade. Of course it's a matter

7 for the accused whether they wish to be interviewed or are prepared to be

8 interviewed, we accept that. But in identifying issues for this case, and

9 examining now or in due course the attitude of the accused towards these

10 proceedings, the earlier the interviews take place the better from

11 everyone's point of view.

12 One of the accused has said that he's only been in a position to

13 consider being interviewed when there's been full disclosure well that's

14 not exactly the way it always works. There's been a great deal of

15 cooperation between my colleagues and the Defence in relation to

16 disclosure and disclosure is proceeding as is recorded by the Defence in a

17 very satisfactory way but accused don't necessarily wait or expect to wait

18 until the very last minute before they are interviewed, interviewing is

19 frequently part of the process. So we are to a degree unhappy to see that

20 interviewing is being postponed and said now to be contingent on the

21 granting of provisional release. Anything that can be done to encourage

22 or assist the process of interviewing the accused will assist us

23 generally.

24 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's not essentially a matter for the Chamber.

25 I think you have to work as cooperatively as you can with the parties and

Page 450

1 you have been working cooperatively.

2 MR. NICE: Yes.

3 JUDGE ROBINSON: I expect that that cooperation will continue but

4 I wouldn't want to be intervening in the application of Rule 63, if a

5 legal issue arises and the Chamber is asked to rule on it then we'll do

6 so.

7 MR. NICE: Thank you.

8 There is -- I'm grateful to Ms. Romano, there is one other matter

9 that I thought I'd mention: Under reciprocal disclosure, materials coming

10 to us, we should recall that we are going to deal with that so far as any

11 other case in the Tribunal is concerned in the same way as any other

12 material coming to us. Thus, if that material is material that has to be

13 disclosed to other accused in other cases, that will be done. It doesn't

14 fall into any separate category simply because it's material coming to us

15 by way of a reciprocal disclosure.

16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.

17 Mr. Fila?

18 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, allow me to say that one

19 of the obligations I undertook in -- on behalf of Mr. Sainovic when he

20 was provisionally released and the same applies for General Ojdanic was

21 that they should be interviewed in Belgrade after their release. I

22 accepted this and my client signed a statement to that effect as did I. I

23 fail to understand now why Mr. Nice is raising this issue. This is the

24 second timing it's been raised. The first time by Mr. Kevin Curtis who

25 threatened us by saying that Mr. Nice would inform the Chamber of this. I

Page 451

1 don't know whether this was meant to frighten me or not, but I don't know

2 why this is being raised now.

3 On Friday, four days ago, the OTP adduced us with their motion

4 appealing Your Honour's decision on provisional release. Had this process

5 not been slowed down in this way, we would now have an appeals decision

6 and I would be able to tell you whether the interview would take place

7 here or in Belgrade as we agreed. So it is only Mr. Nice's team that is

8 to blame for this waste of time it's not the Defence.

9 As for the deadline set by Your Honour, we have two problems. The

10 first one is connected to Rule 65 ter E, which says that once any existing

11 preliminary motions filed within the time limit provided by Rule 72 are

12 disposed of and so on. How can you resolve something that has not been

13 submitted? The preliminary motion has not yet been written. It has not

14 been submitted, it is only after it has been submitted that you can reach

15 a decision on it and only then will the conditions be met for us to

16 discuss what we are discussing now and to set time limits.

17 I think that Ms. Romano's wish should be agreed to and that it

18 should be in April or May next year. Let me say that on the 4th of

19 January, Mr. Milutinovic's mandate expires, his term of office expires

20 and he is then duty-bound to turn up in The Hague. He is duty-bound to do

21 that he has to do it. It's not something he can decide about, it's an

22 obligation undertaken by Yugoslavia and a representative of the ministry

23 of justice testified to this. However, Your Honour, I wish to express my

24 fear that this will additionally slow us down because anything that

25 Mr. Visnjic and I agreed to with the Prosecution also has to be agreed to

Page 452

1 by Mr. Milutinovic's Defence. That's why perhaps it's better for us to

2 wait for January to pass and then we will have another team involved in

3 the proceedings and we can all sit down together and discuss how to

4 expedite these proceedings. However we agree with Ms. Romano that the

5 proceedings should be expedited and we have no problems with the number of

6 witnesses or the time limits. However, I think it would be wise to wait

7 for Mr. Milutinovic's surrender in January in order to fix the dates.

8 That's all I have to say, I apologise for taking so long. Thank

9 you, Your Honour.

10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Fila.

11 Mr. Visnjic?

12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will be very brief.

13 I will first refer to what Mr. Nice said about General Ojdanic's possible

14 interview. Mr. Nice spoke in a very generalised manner but we made our

15 position clear from the very beginning and that was that our client would

16 speak to the OTP when he had received enough material to enable him to

17 talk to them in a useful way. So this is not some sort of condition that

18 we are now imposing. Our stance has been the same from the very

19 beginning.

20 As for the time limits and our cooperation, I wish to say that we

21 have started reciprocal discovery with the OTP and that we have fulfilled

22 our obligations under Rule 67. Yesterday, we discussed various time

23 limits but our understanding was that these time limits can be maintained

24 only after thorough preparations on both sides. Unfortunately, the time

25 limits Your Honour has now stated do not make it possible for us to

Page 453

1 prepare as thoroughly as we discussed with the OTP yesterday and the

2 previous conferences and therefore, I agree with the remarks made by my

3 colleague, Mr. Fila, that is to say that when we have received more

4 material and have a clearer picture of the intentions of the OTP and the

5 volume of material to be disclosed, it is then that we can settle these

6 issues.

7 I think there will be another technical problem and that concerns

8 the translation of certain materials. I will try to clarify this with the

9 Registry within the next few days and after that, we will be able to take

10 up a position as regards the time limits set by Your Honour. Thank you.

11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you very much.

12 I have listened to the representations made both by Mr. Fila and

13 Mr. Visnjic and also to a certain extent by Ms. Romano and in light of

14 that, I'm going to move the dates one month later so that for the witness

15 statements, the end of January, the disclosure of the expert reports end

16 of January, and the pre-trial brief the end of March.

17 I'll ask the senior legal officer to assist me with fixing the

18 date for the next Status Conference. Is there any other matter before I

19 return to that particular question?

20 Well let me call on the accused, Mr. Sainovic. Will you stand?

21 THE ACCUSED SAINOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is there anything you wish to raise regarding the

23 case in general or regarding the conditions of your detention?

24 THE ACCUSED SAINOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. Thank

25 you.

Page 454

1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Ojdanic.

2 THE ACCUSED OJDANIC: [Interpretation] I have no special issues to

3 raise because any problems that arise are resolved very well with the

4 administration of the detention unit. I hope you will not misunderstand

5 me but the only issue I would wish to raise is that the food is not in

6 accordance with our habits and culture in our country. The expenses are

7 great, but 80 per cent of what we receive is thrown away and then we have

8 to spend our money in the canteen. This is probably not something that

9 this Court is competent for but we shall apply in writing to the

10 administration of the detention unit in order to try to find a

11 satisfactory solution.

12 I have no other issues. Thank you, Your Honour.

13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Ojdanic and the matter that you

14 mentioned regarding food I will ask the Registrar to bring that to the

15 attention of the head of the detention unit and have it investigated and

16 dealt with.

17 The senior legal officer.

18 [Chamber confers with senior legal officer]

19 JUDGE ROBINSON: The date for the next Status Conference is

20 Wednesday, February 12th at 3 p.m.

21 Is there any other matter? There being none, the hearing stands

22 adjourned.

23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

24 at 3.40 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,

25 the 12th day of February, 2003, at 3 p.m.