Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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1 Tuesday, 16 September 2003

2 [Further Initial Appearance]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 3.30 p.m.

6 JUDGE JANU: Madam Registrar, can you call the case, please.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Case Number

8 IT-97-25/1-PT, the Prosecutor versus Mitar Rasevic.

9 JUDGE JANU: Appearances for the Prosecution.

10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honours. For the

11 Prosecution, Mr. Bill Smith, and my name is Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff.

12 JUDGE JANU: Appearances for the Defence.

13 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Branko Lukic for Mitar

14 Rasevic, today.

15 JUDGE JANU: Hello to you both.

16 Mr. Rasevic, can you hear the proceeding in a language you can

17 understand?

18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yes, I can.

19 JUDGE JANU: Thank you. You may sit down.

20 We will proceed with further appearance of the accused Mitar

21 Rasevic, pursuant to Rule 62 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. And

22 we start directly with the pleading. Mr. Rasevic, during your initial

23 appearance on 18 August this year, you stated that you received the

24 indictment in a language you understand, that you read it, and that you

25 understand its content. And you also explicitly waived your right to have

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1 the indictment read in its entirety. Do you stand by this statement even

2 today, or shall we read the indictment to you?

3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I stand by my previous

4 statement. I fully understood the indictment, and there's no need for the

5 indictment to be read back to me.

6 JUDGE JANU: Thank you for that. And so are you now ready to

7 plead, Mr. Rasevic?

8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when I first appeared

9 before this Tribunal on the 18th of August, I intended to enter a plea.

10 However, the counsel that I had required to represent me before this Court

11 could not be present there. Even a month later, the counsel that I had in

12 mind for representing me here could not be brought here. And until such

13 request is met in a satisfactory way, and I have given my terms, I will

14 not be ready to enter any kind of plea.

15 JUDGE JANU: All right. Thank you. You can sit down.

16 So we will proceed under the Rule 62, count 4, which states that

17 "a Judge shall, if the accused fails to enter a plea at the initial or any

18 further appearance, enter a plea of not guilty on the accused's behalf."

19 So pursuant to Rule 62 IV, I hereby enter a plea of not guilty for all

20 counts on the behalf of Mitar Rasevic. And I will go through the

21 indictment now and read the counts and a plea of not guilty applies to all

22 the counts.

23 So the first count against you is a charge of persecution on

24 political, racial, and religious grounds, being a crime against humanity.

25 Accused pleads not guilty.

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1 The second count is a charge of torture as a crime against

2 humanity. Again, not guilty.

3 The third count is a charge of torture as a grave breach of the

4 Geneva Convention of 1949. Not guilty.

5 The fourth count is a charge of torture as a violation of the laws

6 or customs of war. Not guilty.

7 The fifth count is a charge of inhumane acts as a crime against

8 humanity. Not guilty.

9 The sixth count is a charge of willfully causing serious injury to

10 body or health, being a grave breach of Geneva Convention. Not guilty.

11 The seventh count is a charge of cruel treatment as a violation of

12 the laws or customs of war. Not guilty.

13 The eighth count is a charge of murder as a crime against

14 humanity. Not guilty.

15 The ninth count is a charge of willful killing as a grave breach

16 of Geneva Convention. Not guilty.

17 The tenth count is a charge of murder as a violation of the laws

18 or customs of war. Not guilty.

19 The eleventh count is a charge of imprisonment as a crime against

20 humanity. Not guilty.

21 The 12th count is a charge of unlawful confinement of civilian as

22 a grave breach of the Geneva Convention. Not guilty.

23 The 13th count is a charge of inhumane acts as a crime against

24 humanity. Not guilty.

25 The 14th count is a charge of willful causing of grave suffering

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1 as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. Not guilty.

2 The 15th count is a charge of cruel treatment as a violation of

3 the laws or customs of war. Not guilty.

4 The 16th count is a charge of enslavement as a crime against

5 humanity. Not guilty.

6 The 17th count is a charge of inhumane treatment as a grave breach

7 of Geneva Conventions. Not guilty.

8 The 18th and last count is a charge of slavery as a violation of

9 the laws or customs of war. Not guilty.

10 I would like, Madam Registrar, to note, I would like you to note

11 that a plea of not guilty was entered on behalf of Mr. Mitar Rasevic to

12 all the counts of the indictment.

13 And also, Mr. Rasevic, I would like to inform you that pursuant to

14 Rule 62 bis, you may change this plea of not guilty to guilty in any

15 relation to some or all counts at any later stage of the proceeding.

16 And now, I would turn to Mr. Lukic. Mr. Lukic, I think we should

17 discuss a little bit the -- I would like to know -- I would like to see

18 where we are standing in relation of appointment of permanent Defence

19 counsel, if you can advise me on this subject.

20 MR. LUKIC: I would like, Your Honour, to be able to advise you on

21 that matter, but I'm afraid that it would be -- that that question should

22 be put to the Registrar because right now, I am talking with Mr. Rasevic.

23 We have contact, but he prepared his defence with another Defence attorney

24 who was a mediator in between the Tribunal and Mr. Rasevic in connection

25 with his voluntary surrender. And that's why Mr. Rasevic is a bit

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1 surprised why his counsel is not allowed to defend him during these

2 proceedings. So we all hope that that matter would be solved soon and

3 that Mr. Rasevic would have appointed lawyer by his choice.

4 JUDGE JANU: Mr. Lukic, please, can you give me the name of this

5 lawyer who is cooperating with the accused?

6 MR. LUKIC: I know that the first lawyer who brought -- who came

7 here with Mr. Rasevic was Mr. Slavisa Prodanovic. And as I learned from

8 the Registrar, there is some kind of investigation against Mr. Prodanovic,

9 but the second choice of Mr. Rasevic is my colleague from Belgrade,

10 Mr. Kolesar. So I don't know what the Registrar decided regarding this

11 lawyer.

12 JUDGE JANU: I was informed by the registry that pursuant to the

13 directive on assignment of Defence counsel, both those counsels you named

14 and which were requested by the accused are not eligible for appointment.

15 So because you are the counsel, present counsel, of Mr. Rasevic, I would

16 be very happy if you could advise him on the decision which was --

17 decision of the President. I don't know if you are aware of this. It's a

18 decision of the President on assignment of Defence counsel. It's in --

19 it's from 20th of August. And it indicates the Prosecutor versus Vaselin

20 Sljivancanin. So would you be so kind to use this decision and explain

21 the situation to Mr. Rasevic. Maybe in the light of this decision, he

22 will choose any other counsel from the list.

23 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour, I will do my best. And I think that

24 Mr. Rasevic has been misinformed regarding this decision because he heard

25 in the Detention Unit that Mr. Sljivancanin was approved, those counsel

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1 were approved to defend Mr. Sljivancanin. So obviously he is not informed

2 correctly. I can explain him the decision because I read the decision and

3 I know the substance of the decision. I will assist the Registrar as long

4 as it's necessary, and I really hope that the permanent counsel will be

5 appointed to Mr. Rasevic as soon as possible because as we know, as of

6 today, his deadlines for objections to the indictment would start. So in

7 the next 30 days, he should have somebody who would be able to object if

8 there is anything to be objected regarding this indictment.

9 JUDGE JANU: Yes, I agree with you fully.

10 So thank you for this moment.

11 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.

12 JUDGE JANU: So other issues I would like to deal with is to

13 instruct the Registrar to fix a day for a trial when appropriate, taking

14 into consideration, Madam Registrar, what was said here by Mr. Lukic

15 concerning the problems with the counsel. And I will schedule this

16 Status Conference pursuant to Rule 65 bis(A) to be heard within 120 days

17 in order to facilitate the preparation of the trial. You will, both

18 parties, be informed of the exact day in due course.

19 In the meantime, the accused will remain in custody, but may file

20 an application for provisional release pursuant to Rule 65. Concerning

21 OTP, I would like to know, I was informed by my legal staff that the

22 supporting material has been served directly upon the accused. Is that

23 correct, Madam?

24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour, that's correct.

25 JUDGE JANU: Thank you.

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1 Is there any matter that the Prosecution wishes to raise at this

2 stage?

3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour.

4 JUDGE JANU: The same question for the Defence, Mr. Lukic?

5 MR. LUKIC: No, Your Honour. Thank you.

6 JUDGE JANU: So I think we have dealt with all the points. So

7 thank you for attending. And I will adjourn the proceeding.

8 --- Whereupon the Further Initial Appearance

9 adjourned at 3.45 p.m.