Case No. IT-02-60-A

IN THE APPEALS CHAMBER

Before:
Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen

Registrar:
Mr. Hans Holthuis

Decision:
31 August 2005

PROSECUTOR

v.

VIDOJE BLAGOJEVIC
DRAGAN JOKIC

_______________________________________________

DECISION ON DRAGAN JOKICíS SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE APPEAL BRIEF

_______________________________________________

The Office of the Prosecutor:

Mr. Norman Farrel

Counsel for the Appellants:

Ms. Cynthia Sinatra and Mr. Christopher Staker for Dragan Jokic
Mr. Vladimir Domazet for Vidoje Blagojevic

 

1. The Appeals Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991 ("International Tribunal") is seised of appeals from the Judgement of Trial Chamber I in the case of Prosecutor v. Blagojevic et al., Case No. IT-02-60, rendered orally on 17 January 2005 and in writing on 24 January 2005 (ďJudgementĒ). Appeals have been filed by both Appellants, Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic, as well as by the Prosecution.

2. I, Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen, was designated Pre-Appeal Judge in this case by an "Order Assigning Judges to a Case Before an Appeals Chamber," filed on 14 February 2005.

3. As recounted in more detail in a prior decision,1 "the appeals process in this case has been delayed by several necessary extensions of time." The most recent such extension for Jokic was granted in the Pre-Appeal Judgeís Decision of 21 July 2005, which provided a further 30-day extension for Jokic to file his Appeal Brief by 13 September 2005.2

4. The Appeals Chamber is now seised of a new Supplemental Motion for Extension to File Appeal Brief (ďSupplemental MotionĒ) filed by Appellant Jokic on 12 August 2005, seeking a further 75-day extension of time.3 In its Response, filed on 22 August 2005, the Prosecution opposes Jokicís motion, contending that the Appellant fails to give justifiable reasons why he is unable to file his Appeal Brief within the 202 days that he has already been allotted. The Prosecution also notes that the supplemental motion principally reiterates arguments which this Chamber has already refused to accept as "good cause" for further extensions of time in its Decision of 21 July 2005. The Appellant did not file a reply to this response.

5. Rule 127 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Tribunal ("Rules") provides that "on good cause being shown by motion" the Appeals Chamber may "enlarge or reduce any time prescribed by or under these Rules". Jokic offers two reasons as to why this requirement is satisfied. First, he requests the Appeals Chamber to re-consider its determination that the evidence newly discovered by the Prosecution ("The Drina Corps Collection") does not constitute a basis for an extension of time to file the appeal brief. Second, he claims that his defence team has recently hired additional co-counsel who need additional time to become familiar with the issues in the case, the transcript, the testimony of relevant witnesses relied upon in the appeal and the newly discovered evidence which the defence intends to present in a Rule 115 request.

6. The first of these reasons provides no justification for an extension. In this Chamberís recent Decision of 21 July 2005, it has already been ruled that the Drina Corps Collection is not a part of the trial record, and it is relevant to this appeal only insofar as the parties are able to establish that materials included in it should be admitted at the appeal stage pursuant to Rule 115 of the Rules. Jokic has repeatedly indicated that he intends to file a Rule 115 motion after the completion of the disclosure of The Drina Collection.4 But Appeals Chamber precedent makes clear that the intention to file a Rule 115 motion in the future does not constitute good cause for an extension of time in filing appeal pleadings.5 Neither the fact that parts of the Drina Collection will only be available to the Defence through the Electronic Disclosure System (EDS) in late September 20056 nor the fact that the Defence encounters difficulties in securing translation of the CDs recently disclosed in conjunction with the Drina Collection justifies a further extension of time to file the Appellantís appeal brief. Should the Appellant in future file a motion for additional evidence under Rule 115, the timing of translations may be relevant to the issue of why that motion was not filed within the 75 days from the date of the judgement. In any event, this is a matter to be dealt with at that time.

7. Accordingly, the first reason of Jokicís Motion does not constitute "good cause" as required pursuant to Rule 127. Furthermore, in order to succeed in a Motion for Reconsideration, Jokic would have to "demonstrate the existence of a clear error in reasoning in the Decision, or of particular circumstances justifying its reconsideration in order to avoid injustice."7 The Appellant has not satisfied this standard.

8. Likewise, the new hiring of co-counsel does not provide good cause for an extension. Jokic claims that the newly hired members of the Defence counsel need additional time to become familiar with the issues in the case, the transcript, the testimony of relevant witnesses relied upon in the appeal and the newly discovered evidence that will be presented in a Rule 115 request.8 The Appellant, however, fails to provide a reason that the lead defence counsel remains unable to complete the Appeal Brief within 202 days after the Judgement was rendered in English and 67 days after the Judgement has been translated into B/C/S and issued to the Appellant. Counsel has not established that prior to the hiring of additional staff, the defence team was incapable of meeting the deadlines. Ms. Cynthia Sinatra was counsel for part of the trial and filed the Notice of Appeal identifying the alleged errors in the Judgement, and she has further been assisted by a legal consultant with substantial experience in appeals before this Tribunal. The hiring of additional co-counsel to review additional material filed should, if anything, help her to concentrate fully on the timely filing of the appeal brief. Therefore, the addition of further new staff members does not provide good cause for an extension of time.

9. Accordingly, none of the arguments proffered by Jokic provides "good cause" under Rule 127 to further extend the length of time already granted for the filing of his Appeal Brief.

Disposition

Jokicís Supplemental Motion is DENIED.

 

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

_______________________
Mohamed Shahabuddeen
Pre-Appeal Judge

Dated 31 August 2005
At The Hague
The Netherlands

[Seal of the International Tribunal]


1. Decision on Appellantsí Motions for Extensions of Time in Which to File their Responses to the Prosecutorís Appeal Brief, 31 May 2005.
2. Decision on Blagojevicís and Jokicís Motions for Extension of Time to File their Appeal Briefs, 21 July, 2005, para. 23.
3. See Defence of Vidoje Blagojevic Motion for Extension of Time in which to file his Appellantís Brief, filed 30 June 2005 (ďBlagojevicís MotionĒ); Dragan Jokicís Motion for Extension of Time to File Appeal Brief, filed 2 July 2005 ("Jokicís Motion").
4. Transcript of Status Conference of 17 June 2005, pp. 24-25; Appelantís Supplemental Motion for Extension of Time to File Appeal Brief, 12 August 2005, para. 6.
5. 14 April Decision, p. 5.
6. As the Prosecution asserts, and Jokic does not contest, over 130.000 pages of the Drina Collection have apparently already been made available to the Defence on EDS by 5 July 2005. Prosecutorís Response to Jokicís Supplemental Motion for Extention of Time to File Appeal Brief, 22 August 2005, para. 7.
7. Prosecutor v. Galic, "Decision on Defenceís Request for Reconsideration," IT-98-29-A, 16 July 2004, p. 2.
8. Appelantís Supplemental Motion for Extension of Time to File Appeal Brief, 12 August 2005, para. 6.