International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 3981

1 Wednesday, 5 June 2002

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 2.29 p.m.

5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. And please, call the case.

6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T,

7 the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.

8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The appearances.

9 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian,

10 soon to be joined by Ann Sutherland, assisted by Ruth Karper.

11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this exact explanation. For the

12 Defence.

13 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Branko Lukic and Mr.

14 John Ostojic for the Defence.

15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you, good afternoon. I asked for starting

16 without the presence of the witness on purpose. You know that the outcome

17 on the negotiations probably on agreed facts on signature and so on was

18 due yesterday or yesterday evening. And I really don't want to go into

19 details and waste the time with these technical questions right now. What

20 I want to know is whether or not the parties are prepared to have a 65 ter

21 (i) meeting tomorrow, 10.00, to discuss these issues without wasting the

22 time necessary for hearing the witnesses being, at present, in The Hague.

23 MR. KOUMJIAN: That would be acceptable to us. Just to inform

24 Your Honours regarding the timing of the witnesses for the rest of this

25 week, the next witness, I asked the VW services to bring that witness by

Page 3982

1 3.30 today in case we get to that witness today, which I think there's a

2 good chance of. But I don't anticipate that witness taking more than a

3 day, and that is the only witness we have left this week. There are no

4 other witnesses. We tried to get another short witness this week, and we

5 were not able to do so. We have another witness coming over the weekend

6 and would be available Monday to testify.

7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I understand. My only point is that

8 unfortunately, we have a lot of administrative issues which we, at any

9 rate, have to do in the courtroom, as the admission into evidence, we have

10 to go through the documents. That will take time enough. The point was

11 to discuss other issues in this environment.

12 MR. OSTOJIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. We would be prepared

13 to meet at the Court's convenience either tomorrow or at any time to

14 discuss the signature issues. We are still working and contemplating some

15 of the issues that were raised in the fourth amended indictment and have

16 not included that discussion either between counsel as well as between the

17 client. We anticipate that we will conclude that in short order, and

18 depending again how the witnesses go the balance of the week, we will

19 endeavour to utilize that time to meet with the client and see if we can

20 at least provide the Court and opposing counsel with some stipulated facts

21 or agreed facts as revealed or reflected in the indictment.

22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So I understand correctly that it would be

23 better from your point of view to meet on Friday morning?

24 MR. OSTOJIC: Or Thursday. Either way is fine, Your Honour.

25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's have the 65 ter (i) meeting tomorrow

Page 3983

1 morning, 10.00, in my office. And the point, why I raised the question of

2 agreement or not agreement, did the parties meet on the question whether

3 or not we have go into details of the rape committed against the witness

4 now before us? And the Bench, I have to emphasise, the Bench would

5 appreciate if the parties could agree on the fact that the person, our

6 witness, was raped in the past, and therefore both parties omit to ask any

7 further questions to that crime, only to that crime. But I fully

8 understand if the Defence regards it necessary to contest it. Of course

9 it's your right. It's only the question whether or not you could agree on

10 this point.

11 MR. OSTOJIC: Quite frankly, I don't believe that we had actually

12 discussed with the Office of the Prosecution this very issue, but I know

13 that we generally contemplated, just so the Court knows, our strategy is

14 not to contest this witness' factual description of the sexual assault and

15 rapes that occurred as she has alleged. However, we do have questions not

16 of particular or specificity with respect to the rape. We do have some

17 follow-up questions on the issues, and I could share them with the Court.

18 And I prefer to do that so you can tell me if I should ask them or not.

19 So I'm not sure if I should ask you now. I can wait. It just goes to

20 documenting the rape, whether it was documented. We also have a concern

21 quite frankly as to the stab wound that was on the left shoulder. It goes

22 solely to credibility of the witness. I made some observations that

23 perhaps the Court didn't. Perhaps I'm wrong in the observations I made in

24 connection with her prior statement earlier and her discussion saying she

25 couldn't lift her arm, as an example. Again, I'm not arguing the

Page 3984

1 credibility of this witness and the specific sexual assaults that occurred

2 to me, but I may question at some time other aspects of her testimony,

3 although it all depends on how the cross goes. So I may ask her about

4 that and I did plan on asking her if she could raise her arm because at

5 one point it seemed to me from the transcript that she stated she was

6 unable to raise it. If that's unacceptable, I won't ask those questions.

7 If it is, then I will.

8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The question is: Is this point relevant for the

9 Prosecutor's office, whether or not this witness has got this injury or

10 not and the consequences of this injury.

11 MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, in respect of the injury, she has --

12 I've seen the injury, and she is willing to show the Court or we can have

13 a photograph taken of her shoulder, which will show the wound.

14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can I recall --

15 MS. SUTHERLAND: In relation to your question --

16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I recall that we have before us a case

17 against Dr. Stakic, and to be very frank, it shouldn't be, and as a case

18 as felt as a case against the witness, for me, it's difficult to

19 understand, first of all, why the Office of the Prosecutor and under which

20 legal perspective the Prosecutor would insist on the one or other point

21 regarded to this crime because it would be really an advantage that we --

22 if it would not be necessary to go into details of these committed

23 crimes -- committed crime, which is evidently far, far away from the

24 responsibility of Dr. Stakic, to be that concrete.

25 MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, the witness's credibility is of

Page 3985

1 concern to us. In relation to your other question, I would defer to lead

2 counsel to answer your question in relation to that.

3 MR. KOUMJIAN: Our response is that we don't plan to go into

4 further details unless we need to follow up on the Defence questions. As

5 my co-counsel stated, if the Defence is attacking her credibility, that is

6 of concern to us. We believe she is credible. And if there's any

7 insinuation she is not, it's only fair to her to put on all the evidence

8 that indicates she is telling us the truth.


10 MR. OSTOJIC: If I may, the Defence is not and has not taking the

11 position that this witness is not credible on events she personally

12 suffered through in 1992, nor would we make that proposition even with

13 much less with the witness present, but definitely not even outside of her

14 presence. But our point that there were other facts that she discusses

15 and other facts that she gave on her August 24th, 2000, statement which I

16 expect to have questions answered to, if permitted, and depending on how

17 those answers go, and I'm just giving the Court the foresight, my last

18 section in questioning, I anticipate it, again depending on how the

19 answers are given, and I am confident that they will be truthful, then I

20 won't go into the issue of her stab wound. But I will not at all go into

21 the sexual assaults and the rape that she sustained, in that summer of

22 1992, nor do we have an interest in doing that. But to answer a question

23 previously raised by the Court if I may, we cannot, however, stipulate to

24 facts that do not come or go against our client, as reflected in the

25 fourth amended complaint. I just don't want, in the future, and I know

Page 3986

1 I'm speculating, for someone to cues this Defence team or this defendant

2 or anybody else here, stipulating to facts. And Mr. Kuruzovic, or whoever

3 the allegations are made against, didn't have an opportunity to address

4 that. We just don't want it to go on the record as a stipulation by the

5 Defence, but we do not attack, or will not, attack her credibility on

6 those assaults.

7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Can I just raise one separate brief matter

8 regarding the 65 ter meeting tomorrow morning.

9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, but first to conclude on this issue, I

10 understand that the Defence will be precise and as sharp as they regard it

11 necessary, but in the way that in the past will treat the person in the

12 way that can be accepted, have no doubt about this. I would have

13 preferred if the Office of the Prosecutor would have indicated that this

14 incident is no longer at stake, because really we have to take care not to

15 run out of proportion. We should be aware what it is for such a person to

16 be here as a witness in a case, not as you mentioned as the alleged

17 perpetrator, but in a case against Dr. Stakic, where a totally different

18 emphasis lies. So I think it's not necessary to go into other details,

19 but it shows the importance to come as soon as possible really to agreed

20 facts, and also to ask the Prosecutor once again, in how far it's possible

21 and we regard it as necessary to streamline the case as soon as possible.

22 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just briefly, we do think that an incident like

23 this, that the accused, Dr. Stakic, does share some responsibility for

24 this. I don't think this is the time the Court wants to hear my argument

25 regarding why that's so. But we very much do believe that the impunity of

Page 3987

1 crimes by individuals against non-Serbs during this time period was the

2 result of a policy.

3 Regarding the other matter I just wanted to bring up briefly for

4 consideration at the meeting, I wanted to ask the Bench to consider how

5 you want to handle the 92 bis statements that are admitted. This could

6 affect the time we use on Friday. Does the Chamber wish that these

7 actually be read in open Court? I don't know, or is it simply enough to

8 have them submitted, in writing, to the Court?

9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's enough -- we expect the motion to

10 be submitted, in writing, as soon as possible.

11 MR. KOUMJIAN: I don't mean the motion, but the Court has granted

12 the 92 bises. I think we've already submitted the majority of the

13 statements, and that's my only question was, because of the translation

14 issue, did you want those actually to be read in open court, or do you

15 want those simply to be submitted for translation.

16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's discuss this also tomorrow at the 65 ter

17 (i) meeting. Thank you.

18 Then the witness may be brought in, please.

19 We go in closed session once again.

20 [Closed session]

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16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

17 7.06 p.m., to be reconvened on

18 Thursday, the 6th day of June, 2002,

19 at 2.15 p.m.