Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 14560

 1                           Tuesday, 7 July 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                      --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, will you please

 6     call the case.

 7             THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you and good afternoon, Your Honours.

 8             This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus

 9     Vojislav Seselj.

10             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.

11             Today is Tuesday, the 7th of July, 2009.  Let me first greet

12     Mr. Seselj, Ms. Dahl and her entire team of the OTP, not to forget, of

13     course, the court reporter, who was already working this morning with me

14     on another case and is now working again.  Good afternoon to you,

15     Mr. Usher, and all the people assisting us.

16             We are now in open session, so for the time being I shall not

17     deal with the witness who's about to start testifying.

18             But very briefly, Mr. Seselj, I would like to address a few

19     administrative issues.  I'll give you the floor, but please be brief,

20     because we have a lot on our plates today.

21             First of all, the issue of the videos.  Since your associates

22     cannot make it to The Hague, we could work as follows:  The video

23     recordings could be sent to the office in Belgrade and will be kept by

24     the representative of the Registry in Belgrade, and on a specific date

25     and at a specific time suitable to them, the associates could view them

Page 14561

 1     there.  In this way, we would not have to pay flights and per diems for

 2     accommodation.  So rather than having your associate come to The Hague,

 3     we could send the video recordings to Belgrade.

 4             Does this suit you or not?

 5             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Judges, given that you have

 6     suspended my two legal advisers, Zoran Krasic and Slavko Jerkovic --

 7             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  I'm not getting

 8     the French interpretation.

 9             Please start again.

10             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Given that you have

11     suspended --

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There seems to be a problem,

13     Registrar.  Can you please check.  It may be that they are on the

14     Albanian channel.

15             You can start now.  Thank you.

16             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Given that you have

17     suspended my two legal advisers, Zoran Krasic and Slavko Jerkovic, I have

18     no possibility to have their assistance in reviewing these video

19     recordings, either in The Hague nor in The Hague office in Belgrade.

20     Until their status is reinstated in this case, this question is simply

21     meaningless to put.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you for being short in

23     your observations.

24             The second topic.  You know that the Trial Chamber, and I, in

25     particular, are worried about your health, following articles in the

Page 14562

 1     Belgrade press.  That's why the Trial Chamber asked for an expert to

 2     examine you.  A Serbian doctor was suggested by the Registry, so we

 3     thought, quite innocently, that that wouldn't cause a problem, and we

 4     have just learned from the Registry that you have a problem with it,

 5     because you say that the doctor belongs to a political party that is

 6     opposed to yours.  I don't know how you came to know in which party he

 7     is.  He's not here to do politics, but he's here to give his point of

 8     view as a medical expert.  So do you still refuse to see him?

 9             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] When the prison medical

10     officer told me that a cardiologist from the Military Medical Academy

11     from Belgrade was being engaged - can I mention his name without us going

12     into a private session? - that's Dr. Dragan Dindjic [phoen] from the

13     Military Medical Academy, this was the first I heard of him, and I made

14     some inquiries with my friends in Belgrade about who he was.  And I've

15     been told that he is a member of the Democratic Party and that he's a

16     personal physician of Boris Tadic, the president of the republic.  In

17     view of that fact, I absolutely have no trust in him, and I therefore

18     refuse to have any contact with him.  I have forbidden the detention

19     medical officer to provide my medical records to him because it is

20     exclusively a discretionary right of mine to decide who can have access

21     to my medical records.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.  This is now on the

23     record.  We were not aware that he was the personal doctor of President

24     Tadic.

25             Very quickly, do you have any special question to address to the

Page 14563

 1     Trial Chamber?

 2             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] I have only two questions.

 3             Firstly, the video recordings of the court proceedings, I would

 4     like to remind you, gentlemen, Judges, that at the time you have ruled --

 5     or, rather, Judge Antonetti ruled, as a Pre-Trial Judge, and this ruling

 6     existed from the previous stage only before I had been given video

 7     recordings.  Now I'm being given DVDs of trials.  I have received them on

 8     a regular basis, after each session.  However, the case manager,

 9     Marina Ragus, told me that there was some problems with the video

10     recordings of the 8th of January, when, in a closed session, a protected

11     witness, 065, testified via videolink.  He was a very important witness,

12     but the video recording does not contain any of his answers to the

13     questions asked.  We intervened with the Registry on several occasions,

14     and their final answer was that there was no video recording or audio

15     recording of that testimony, that there was only an official transcript

16     in English.

17             You know very well that I don't trust this official transcript at

18     all, and this immediately gave rise -- suspicion that somebody

19     deliberately destroyed both recordings, audio and video, in order to

20     falsify the official transcript.  What else could I think?

21             Now, this brings another problem, and that is my right to

22     self-representation.

23             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I was, indeed,

24     informed by a member from the Registry some ten days ago that there was a

25     technical hitch.  I'm always surprised when we have technical problems,

Page 14564

 1     but there, there was.  What you have just said was confirmed in the

 2     Registry's memo.  Unfortunately, I did not have time to look at the

 3     English text and the French text again.

 4             Let me explain.  When we speak, you see, the transcript, the

 5     LiveNote's on your screens, and that's the authoritative text, overnight

 6     it is sent to Canada to be translated into French.  I don't know why they

 7     chose to send it to Canada, but normally the next day we get the French

 8     version.  I'm going to read again the 100 pages or so in English and in

 9     French, and should there be anything suspicious, I'll tell you.  But

10     right now, I'm unable to say anything about it because I've not yet had

11     an opportunity to look at the text.

12             However, if the audio recording has disappeared because for some

13     reasons, some technical reasons, there was no recording, all we have left

14     is the transcript in English and in French.

15             So the Judges will be able to look into the matter.  One solution

16     might be to call the witness again, or we might think that what has been

17     done is enough.  But that's all I can tell you right now.

18             Second topic, please.

19             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Going back to the previous

20     topic, I hereby submit that you instruct the Registry to have this

21     official transcript immediately translated into Serbian so that I can

22     review its contents and, if necessary, make some objections.  But this is

23     again relying on memory and, therefore, unreliable.

24             Concerning the video recording and the loss of the audio

25     recording, I think that the testimony of this witness is fully

Page 14565

 1     disqualified with respect to the possibility of proving any culpability

 2     based on his evidence.  I think you're aware of that.

 3             You also know that every transcript here has to be corroborated

 4     by either video or audio recording.  Otherwise, the transcripts would

 5     have been verified and authenticated in a different way after each

 6     session.  This is how it is being done in the European Court, where there

 7     are no audio or video recordings provided.

 8             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Is that all?  No other topic?

 9             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Yes.

10             Quite briefly, since I promised to remind you of this every time,

11     in view of the fact that the Trial Chamber, presided by you,

12     Judge Antonetti, is not conducting these proceedings within the set

13     time-limit, I think that this is a blatant violation of my right to a

14     fair trial, and therefore I demand that all members of the Bench

15     individually state the reasons for their breaching my right to a fair

16     trial.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As you know, it was a majority

18     decision.  I expressed my opinion, as you know.  Please read my many

19     interventions on the issue in that respect.

20             But regarding what I've said so far, let me add this:  If you are

21     of the view that the trial is too long, you know the case law of the

22     European Court of Human Rights that says that in certain circumstances,

23     the accused, who is in provisional detention, may be asked to be

24     released, and you are free to do so, and you can try to get a state to

25     provide guarantees in keeping with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence,

Page 14566

 1     and the Trial Chamber, if seized of the matter, will discuss and make a

 2     determination, because there can always be an appeal by the Prosecutor,

 3     and the Appeals Chamber is the one that has the final word.  So this is a

 4     procedural means available to you if you are of the view that your

 5     custody is unreasonably long.

 6             Let's moved to closed session.

 7             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Please, before you move into

 8     a closed session, I have to tell you one more thing.

 9             If my detention has been unreasonably long, this is not solely my

10     problem.  This is the problem for the Trial Chamber as well.  The Trial

11     Chamber has to state whether my detention has been unreasonably long or

12     not.  I could object to other things, but on this specific issue I have

13     no objections directly to you, Mr. Antonetti.  Your colleagues, however,

14     should state their opinions on that.

15             Secondly, concerning provisional release, you know very well that

16     there is not a single state that will provide guarantees for me.  If the

17     Rules of Procedure provide that a country or the government should

18     provide guarantees, there is no such provision envisaged that -- there is

19     going to be no country providing such guarantee, or that the accused is

20     unwilling or reluctant to accept this guarantee.  Therefore, my right to

21     a fair trial and my right not to be unreasonably detained for a long time

22     depends -- does not depend on the will of a third party.  It depends

23     solely on the Trial Chamber, whether you adhere to the law or not.  There

24     is not a single country in the world that would consider such a long

25     detention reasonable, that the suspect or the accused has to wait for a

Page 14567

 1     trial for five years, as I have done.  If that is a fact, then the Trial

 2     Chamber should seek a solution, not me.  Don't put impossible demands and

 3     requests on me to find a state that would provide guarantees for me,

 4     because I know in advance there is no such state willing to provide such

 5     guarantees.  Why is that?  In my country, there is a pro-Western,

 6     mafia-type, treacherous government.  I wouldn't accept their guarantees

 7     for the life of me.  I'd rather die.  Why would, then, on the other hand,

 8     any foreign government provide any guarantee for me?  There's no ground

 9     for that, either.

10             But it is not my duty to find a way out of this situation.  That

11     is your duty, and you are not doing it.  Apparently the majority of

12     members of the Trial Chamber don't believe that there should be a

13     solution sought.

14             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you know that the

15     trial can resume very quickly when the other Trial Chamber, which is

16     seized of various procedural matters, has completed its work.  Recently,

17     the other Trial Chamber issued a decision finalising a contempt of court

18     proceeding.  A decision has been issued.  Let us hope that other issues

19     will be issued and that the trial could resume shortly.

20             We were just five hours away from the Rule 98 bis procedures,

21     maybe a little longer, if there is a decision by the Trial Chamber on the

22     extension of time asked by the Prosecutor.  We're just in the last leg of

23     the Prosecution case.  All there is left is that small tools -- short

24     tools to put an end to the Prosecution case, and we'll be there.  I'm

25     waiting, just as you are.  I hope there will be a solution soon.

Page 14568

 1             THE ACCUSED SESELJ: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have

 2     insisted several times to be told whether there is any other proceedings

 3     being conducted except for the proceedings for the contempt of court.  I

 4     haven't received any information to that effect. (redacted)

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10             Now, what does that have to do with the current proceedings and

11     what the implications are?  I don't see any.  Perhaps there are some

12     implications.  Perhaps someone is hopeful that on the basis of the

13     acquittal, a Defence lawyer can be imposed on me in the continuation of

14     the process, which is impossible.

15             There is no judgement scheduled for July.  It may be handed down

16     in September.  Then it needs to be translated into Serbian for me, which

17     will take another month, and we'll be in October.  Then I have a

18     fortnight to lodge an appeal.  That means by mid-November.  Then I have

19     another two months to lodge an appeal.  That's mid-January.  While the

20     Appeals Chamber is deliberating on my motions, and I also have the right

21     to appeal the rebuttal of the Prosecution, we will be in the summer next

22     year.  And if this judgement becomes final, you cannot act upon it

23     forthwith, because any judgement that is not final cannot be deemed valid

24     and cannot produce any new legal consequences, except that it is going to

25     perpetuate and prolong my detention, and it will go on like that for

Page 14569

 1     probably 30 or 40 years more.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, let's move into

 3     closed session, and let's check that we can see the witness.

 4                           [Closed session]

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17                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.38 p.m.,

18                           to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 8th day of July,

19                           2009, at 2.15 p.m.