1 Wednesday, 25 May 2016
2 [Status Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 [The appellants entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 11.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, everybody.
7 Mr. Registrar, could you kindly call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good morning, Your Honour. This is
9 case number IT-04-74-A, the Prosecutor versus Jadranko Prlic et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
11 Before we proceed any further, I want to make sure that
12 appellants, in particular, can follow the proceedings in a language that
13 they can understand.
14 I'll start with you, Mr. Prlic.
15 THE APPELLANT PRLIC: Good morning, Mr. President. I'm able to
16 hear everything, no problem.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Prlic.
18 Mr. Stojic.
19 THE APPELLANT STOJIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honour.
20 Everything is all right, thank you.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Stojic.
22 Mr. Praljak.
23 THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I hear very
24 well, and I understand.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you very much.
1 Mr. Petkovic.
2 THE APPELLANT PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can hear
3 and I understand.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: And Mr. Coric.
5 THE APPELLANT CORIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, good morning.
6 Everything is fine.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you very much.
8 Let's proceed now with the appearances for the parties.
9 I start with the Prosecution.
10 MS. ELMORE: Good morning, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning.
12 MS. ELMORE: Elizabeth Elmore on behalf of the Prosecution. I'm
13 here today with senior appeals counsel Douglas Stringer and Case Manager
14 Janet Stewart.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you very much. Before calling for the
16 appearances for the Defence, I note that on the 23rd of May of this year
17 counsel for Mr. Pusic requested to attend this Status Conference by
18 videolink. Mr. Pusic has provided his consent for the Status Conference
19 to be held in his absence and has indicated that he does not have any
20 issues to raise at this hearing.
21 Under Rule 65 bis (C)(ii) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,
22 I grant the request and allow counsel for Mr. Pusic to participate in the
23 Status Conference by videolink.
24 So we can now proceed. I require to know the appearances for
25 Mr. Prlic.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President. Michael Karnavas for
2 Dr. Jadranko Prlic.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
4 Appearances for Mr. Stojic.
5 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
6 Senka Nozica as Defence counsel and pro bono legal assistant
7 Molly Martin.
8 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
9 Nika Pinter representing General Praljak.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Ms. Pinter.
11 And appearances for Mr. Petkovic.
12 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. For
13 General Petkovic, counsel Vesna Alaburic and Davor Lazic.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
15 And appearances for Mr. Coric.
16 MR. PLAVEC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honour.
17 Drazen Plavec for Mr. Coric.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
19 And for Mr. Pusic.
20 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] [Via videolink] Good morning,
21 Your Honour. Representing Mr. Pusic, counsel Fahrudin Ibrisimovic from
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
24 Now this Status Conference is called in accordance with
25 Rule 65 bis, paragraph (B) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of this
1 Tribunal. This particular Rule requires a Status Conference to be
2 convened within 120 days after the last Status Conference has been held
3 for each appellant in the Tribunal's custody. A Status Conference serves
4 two primary purposes: First, it allows the appellants an opportunity to
5 express concerns relating to their appeal and detention conditions and
6 for the Tribunal to inquire about the mental and physical condition of
7 the detained persons; second, it provides an opportunity to update the
8 appellants with respect to the status of their case as well as to inform
9 the general public of the progress in the proceedings.
10 I note that the last Status Conference over which I myself
11 presided was held on the 10th of February of this year, and today's
12 Status Conference was scheduled by order issued under my signature on the
13 21st of April, 2016.
14 And I now pass to perhaps what is the most important section of
15 today's Status Conference, namely, I'm going to ask questions to inquire
16 about the situation, detention situation, and health situation of the
17 appellants. If any of the appellants so wish, this discussion can take
18 place in private or in closed session.
19 So I start with putting a general question to each one of you
20 present here in the courtroom. If you would like to -- me to go into
21 private session or closed session, please tell me so.
22 I take that no one asks for a private session. Correct? Okay.
23 Thank you.
24 That includes you, Mr. Fahrudin. Okay. Thank you.
25 Now, let's start with Mr. Prlic. Now, we are talking about
1 conditions of detention and the situation of your mental and general
2 health in the Detention Unit.
3 Mr. Prlic, do you have any matters that you would like to raise?
4 THE APPELLANT PRLIC: Mr. President, I have no remarks to make.
5 Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Prlic.
7 Mr. Stojic.
8 THE APPELLANT STOJIC: [Interpretation] I have nothing to say.
9 Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Stojic.
11 Mr. Praljak.
12 THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I don't have anything.
13 Everything is fine beyond any reasonable doubt.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
15 Mr. Petkovic.
16 THE APPELLANT PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, everything
17 is fine. I have nothing.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Coric.
19 THE APPELLANT CORIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, nothing new
20 everything is fine. Thank you.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you all.
22 And counsel for Mr. Pusic, do you have anything to raise?
23 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] [Via videolink] Nothing,
24 Your Honour. Thank you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you all. I now move to the next item on
1 today's agenda. Namely, I will very briefly deal with the recent
2 procedural history.
3 All of the appellants' briefs in this case were filed on
4 12th January of last year, 2015. The Defence and Prosecution
5 respondents' brief were filed on 7th May, 2015, that's roughly a year
6 ago, and the respective reply briefs were filed on 29th of May of last
7 year. I note that there have been several new public filings since the
8 last Status Conference.
9 First, there is an application by the Republic of Croatia for
10 leave to appear as amicus curiae and to submit an amicus curiae brief.
11 This was filed on the 22nd of March, 2016. The Prosecution's response to
12 it was filed on the 31st of March, and the corrigendum to that response
13 was filed on the 1st of April, 2016. The Judges are still deliberating
14 on this motion.
15 Second, there is a public redacted version of the corrigendum to
16 Valentin Coric's appellant's brief filed on the 23 March 2016.
17 Third, the Appeals Chamber rendered a decision on
18 Valentin Coric's motion for admission of additional evidence on appeal
19 pursuant to Rule 115. This was filed on the 20th of April of this year.
20 As I have already mentioned, the Scheduling Order for this Status
21 Conference was filed on 21st of April of this year.
22 I therefore note that there is one public motion pending before
23 the Appeals Chamber, namely, the said application by the Republic of
25 There are also some confidential motions pending, but I cannot
1 give any details on these precisely because they are confidential.
2 Now, I come to an important part of today's agenda; namely, I
3 will turn on the Prosecution and on each Defence team to ask if there are
4 any issues that you would like to raise.
5 I start with the Prosecution. Are there any issues that you
6 would like to raise?
7 MS. ELMORE: Nothing from the Prosecution, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
9 And we do the round, starting with Mr. Karnavas for Mr. Prlic.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't have any
11 specific issues other than it would be convenient to know the status of
12 how it's -- the Appeals Chamber is progressing with the appeals. It has
13 been some time, and for scheduling purposes it would be good to know a
14 ballpark when we can anticipate getting questions from the Appeals
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. I'll come to that soon.
17 Counsel for Mr. Stojic, any issues you would like to raise?
18 MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
19 nothing to raise at this session, but I subscribe to the question by
20 Mr. Karnavas because the Stojic Defence is interested in the same issue.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
22 MS. PINTER: [Interpretation] The Defence of General Praljak has
23 nothing to raise.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
25 Defence counsel for Mr. Petkovic.
1 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] The Defence of General Petkovic,
2 apart from the questions raised by my colleagues, has nothing to add.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And Defence counsel for Mr. Coric.
4 MR. PLAVEC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have nothing.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
6 And counsel for Mr. Pusic.
7 MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] [Via videolink] Thank you,
8 Your Honour. The Pusic Defence has nothing to raise.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you.
10 So, yes, it's a perfectly legitimate point, and important as
11 well, that you have raised, Mr. Karnavas, and the situation is as
13 The bottom line issue, namely the expected date of delivery of
14 judgement, remains the same as it has been for the past four years since
15 the Tribunal has been reporting to the Security Council; namely, that it
16 is expected to be decided definitively towards the end of 2017. So
17 that's the situation.
18 Now, I took over the Presidency of the Tribunal and also of this
19 appeal, as you know, last November, and I started immediately to get very
20 actively involved in this appeal to make sure, first of all, what was
21 happening. I was on the panel, of course, but I was not the Presiding
22 Judge, so I took an interest to verify exactly what the situation was and
23 also to make sure that all preparations were in hand for whatever is
24 needed during the next two years at the time. Mostly making sure that
25 the Appeals Chamber in this case is adequately staffed at all given times
1 within the limitations imposed on the Tribunal by the Security Council
2 when it comes to staffing. We cannot go to the Security Council and we
3 say, "We need an extra 20 staff. Could we employ another 20 staff?" The
4 Security Council will tell us you need to decrease the number of the
5 staff and not to increase it. So that is the truth of the situation.
6 But, however, the realpolitik was that when I took over there was
7 a good prospect of having Karadzic finished according to schedule, or
8 more or less according to schedule, Seselj finished more or less
9 according to schedule, there was a big question mark on whether the staff
10 on Hadzic could be retained for the purpose of Hadzic or whether they
11 could be employed elsewhere, and there is Stanisic and Zupljanin over
12 which I preside and that was scheduled to finish in June.
13 So what I did in consultation with the head of Chambers and, of
14 course, my colleagues, is to schematize exactly how staff will be
15 retained after these cases are finished and moved to Prlic and Mladic,
16 because I also have a big responsibility for Mladic. With the present
17 complement of staff remaining after Karadzic, remaining after Seselj,
18 et cetera, I think we are in a position to provide both the Appeals
19 Chamber in Prlic and the Trial Chamber in Mladic with the totality of
20 staff that is required. So that I am really -- I can assure that I'm
21 really hands on, on this, and making sure that at any given moment that
22 we don't find ourselves in any calamity. That's number one.
23 Number two is, of course, we have been studying the various
24 grounds of appeal from both Prosecution and Defence, and we are working
25 on them. As you know, it's a humongous exercise. I don't think in my 16
1 years here I remember anything so difficult and so elaborate as this
2 appeal. Maybe the Butare appeal which we decided from the ICTR, which we
3 decided last December. But, again, there is a lot of similarity but this
4 appeal is very difficult, but we are moving according to schedule. In
5 other words, I asked -- starting from the P5 to update me exactly on the
6 planning, scheduling of reports on the various counts and on the various
7 grounds of appeal, and I'm receiving those which I'm pass onto my
8 colleagues, et cetera.
9 The idea, hopefully, is that I hope to be able to have something
10 really concrete on which we can work towards the end of this year, and
11 then we can dedicate the -- next year for the drafting of the judgement
12 and finalization of it after we have heard, of course, the hearings here.
13 But this is more or less where we stand.
14 What I want mostly to stress is to put your mind at rest,
15 Mr. Karnavas, and your colleagues, that I am almost full-time occupied
16 with this appeal. I say "almost" because I am also occupied with the
17 Stanisic and Zupljanin and we are in the last month and a week before we
18 deliver judgement. After the delivery of judgement in Stanisic and
19 Zupljanin, then I will be occupied really full-time on this case and make
20 sure that we meet the deadlines and that you will receive -- you will be
21 kept updated as we go along. Okay?
22 Any further questions? Yes.
23 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, just briefly -- and thank you very
24 much for the detail and the information that you've just provided to all
25 the parties. I think all of us are aware of the various demands,
1 competing demands being placed on the Appeals Chamber from all different
2 directions, not just in this case.
3 If I could just echo one of the remarks made by Mr. Karnavas.
4 Because, as you've indicated, the case is so broad and extensive across
5 all six of the accused, the numbers and grounds of appeal, the questions,
6 assuming there are going to be questions provided to the parties in
7 advance of the hearing, I think are really exceptional importance in this
8 case to enable the parties the preparation that would enable them to
9 really respond in an informed way to the Chamber's inquiries.
10 So I know it's very early, but just to say that when the
11 questions -- we're very hopeful when the questions come will be
12 sufficiently in advance of the hearing so that we address the --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I can put your mind at rest. You know what the
14 procedure is. Basically, internally we prepare what we refer to as a
15 preparatory document and we work on that in preparation for the hearing.
16 The prep doc is circulated amongst the Judges, and there is ample time
17 for Judges to come forward with their comments. And also at a certain
18 point in time, I will ask my colleagues what questions they would like me
19 to direct to the parties for the purpose of the hearing.
20 So expect to receive details of these questions not now,
21 obviously, because we are nowhere near of having a prep doc ready now,
22 but we are working on that. And, yes, you will have ample time to
23 prepare for the answering of these questions, all of you, both
24 Prosecution and Defence. Okay?
25 Any further questions?
1 All right. I think there is nothing left for me except to thank
2 you. I am assuming that there are no other matters to be raised. And so
3 I thank you all for your attendance and adjourn this Status Conference.
4 Thank you.
5 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at
6 11.26 a.m.