Case: IT-96-21-Abis


    Before: Judge David Hunt, Pre-Appeal Judge

    Registrar: Mr Hans Holthuis

    Decision of: 28 February 2002



    Zdravko MUCIC, Hazim DELIC and Esad LANDZO




    Counsel for the Prosecution:

    Mr Norman Farrell

    Counsel for the Defence:

    Mr Tomislav Kuzmanovic and Mr Howard Morrison QC for Zdravko Mucic

    Mr Salih Karabdic and Mr Tom Moran for Hazim Delic

    Ms Cynthia Sinatra and Mr Peter Murphy for Esad Landzo


    1. Pursuant to Rule 127 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (“ Rules”), the prosecution seeks an extension of time for the filing of its Prosecution Consolidated Response Brief.1 It had been required to do so by Monday last, 25 February.2

    2. However, because of computer problems, the prosecution was not in a position to file its Brief until 4.15 pm on 25 February.3 The Registry refused to accept the document as having been filed on 25 February,4 and the document now bears as its filing date 26 February.

    3. The Directive for the Registry – Judicial Department – Court Management and Support Services,5 provides, by Article 25, that the date of filing is the date on which the document was placed in the custody of the Registry, and that (subject to Articles 26 through 29 of the Directive) the Registry shall date-stamp the document with the date of its “submission S…C to the Registry”. Article 27, as it appears in IT/121,6 provides that the normal business hours of the Registry are 9.00 am to 5.30 pm, and that permission is required for “after-hours” filings. The Directive itself records that it was approved by the Tribunal on 25 June 1996,7 and it provides that the Directive may be amended by the Registrar “in consultation with the Judges and the Office of the Prosecutor”.8

    4. Notwithstanding the requirements of Article 2 before the Directive may be amended , the Co-ordinator of Court Management and Support Services, by a document dated 23 May 2000 (headed “Internal Memorandum” and issued “through” the Registrar), unilaterally announced that, as from 1 June 2000, Article 27 had been amended to provide that the opening hours for filing documents would be from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm, that no documents could be filed after hours and that documents submitted for after-hours filing would be filed during the opening hours of the next working day. There was no consultation with the judges before this was announced. Article 25 has not been amended. The amendment to Article 27 was not incorporated in IT/121.

    5. Attention was drawn late last year to the defects in the procedure followed by the Coordinator.9 Nothing has been done to overcome those defects, and the purported amendment, as it has been called ,10 remains ineffective. The Registry remains instructed by the Directive approved by the Tribunal to remain open until 5.30 pm, and the prosecution was entitled to have its document accepted as having been filed on the day it was presented, 25 February. The filing date shown on the document is therefore incorrect, and the Registry is directed to comply with the terms of the Directive as they appear in IT/121 and to record the correct date upon which it was filed, 25 February.

    6. However, the Registry – following the incorrect stance it took when the document was presented for filing – did not send copies of the prosecution’s document to counsel for the appellants by facsimile transmission until 26 February, thereby denying the appellants the full period permitted by Rule 113 for their Briefs in Reply. Accordingly, the time for filing the Briefs in Reply is extended by one day.11


    Done in English and French, the English text being authoritative.

    Dated this 28th day of February 2002,
    At The Hague,

    The Netherlands.


    Judge David Hunt

    Pre-Appeal Judge

    [Seal of the Tribunal]

    1 - Prosecution Request for Extension of Time for Filing of Prosecution Consolidated Response Brief, 26 Feb 2002 (“Prosecution Request”).
    2 - On 24 Dec 2001, each of the appellants was granted an extension of time in which to file his Appellant’s Brief until 15 January 2002. Rule 112 (as amended, effective 28 Dec 2001) provides that the prosecution had 40 days in which to file its Respondent’s Brief – which period expired on Sunday, 24 Feb 2002. The prosecution was informed that its Respondent’s was expected by 25 Feb 2002: Status Conference, 19 Feb 2002, Transcript p 2.
    3 - Prosecution Request, par 3.
    4 - Ibid, par 2.
    5 - IT/121, 1 Mar 1997 (“Directive”).
    6 - IT Documents are available on the M Drive of the Tribunal’s computer system, under “Basic Documents”. Some IT Documents, such as IT/32 (Rules of Procedure and Evidence), IT/38 (Rules of Detention) and IT/73 (Directive on the Assignment of Counsel) are included within the Tribunal’s “Basic Documents”, as published in the 2001 collection, and in the “Basic Documents” section of the Tribunal’s web site. The latter also includes other IT Documents, such as IT/125 (The Code of Professional Conduct for Defence Counsel Appearing before the International Tribunal) and IT/144 (The Code of Ethics for Interpreters and Translators Employed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia). All of these documents remain on the M Drive, and, if amended, a revised version of the IT Document is included on the M Drive as well. No such amendment has been made to IT/121 (this appears only on the M Drive), which retains Article 27 in its original form.
    7 - Preamble.
    8 - Article 2.
    9 - Prosecutor v Galic, IT-98-29-AR73, Decision on Application by Prosecution for Leave to Appeal, 14 Dec 2001, par 2(2).
    10 - Prosecutor v Krajisnik & Plavsic, IT-00-39&40-AR73.2, Decision on Interlocutory Appeal by Momcilo Krajisnik, 26 Feb 2002, par 2 footnote 3.
    11 - A response to the Prosecution Request has been filed on behalf of the appellant Zdravko Mucic, not objecting to that Request but requesting the extra day for his Brief in Reply: Response of Zdravko Mucic to OTP Request for Extension on Time, 26 Feb 2002 (filed 27 Feb and given to me only today).