Case No. IT-99-36-A

BEFORE THE PRE-APPEAL JUDGE

Before:
Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen, Pre-Appeal Judge

Registrar:
Mr. Hans Holthuis

Decision:
5 May 2005

THE PROSECUTOR

v.

Radoslav BRDJANIN

_________________________________________

DECISION ON MOTION TO EXTEND DATE FOR FILING APPELLANTíS BRIEF

_________________________________________

Counsel for the Prosecutor:

Mr. Mark McKeon

Counsel for the Accused:

Mr. John Ackerman

 

I, MOHAMED SHAHABUDDEN, Judge of 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");

NOTING the "Order Appointing a Pre-Appeal Judge," filed on 22 October 2004, in which the President designated me to serve as Pre-Appeal Judge in this case;

NOTING the Judgement rendered in this case by Trial Chamber II on 1 September 2004 ("Judgement");

NOTING the "Decision on Motions for Extensions of Time" issued on 9 December 2004 ("Decision of 9 December 2004"), which extended the deadline for the filing of the Appellantís Brief to 50 days beyond the Appellantís receipt of a B/C/S translation of the Judgement ;

NOTING that the B/C/S translation was delivered to the Appellant on 7 April 2005, with the consequence that the deadline for filing the Appellantís Brief is 27 May 2005;

BEING SEISED OF the Appellantís "Motion to Extend Date for Filing Appellantís Brief," filed 27 April 2005, which argues that a further extension to 27 June 2005 is warranted because (1) counsel needs time to meet with the Appellant in order to discuss matters that have come to the Appellantís attention upon reviewing the judgement, (2) the record in the case is voluminous and the issues complex, such that counsel considers that he needs more time to complete the brief adequately, and (3) counsel has been required to review 5,963 new documents provided on appeal by the Prosecution in B/C/S only;

NOTING the Prosecutionís Response, filed on 28 April 2005, which states that each of these issues was already considered by the Appeals Chamber in its Decision of 9 December 2004 granting the initial extension, and that they therefore do not constitute "good cause" for a new extension within the meaning of Rule 127 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence;

NOTING the Appellantís Reply, filed 2 May 2005, which argues that counsel is in the best position to judge whether he needs additional time to prepare the brief and that the Appeals Chamber should defer to his judgement on fairness grounds, treating its time limits "more as guidelines than as rules," and further contends that the Chamber will only benefit from a better-prepared brief;

CONSIDERING that the need for counsel to meet with the appellant was already taken into account when the Appeals Chamber granted an extension of the original deadline to 50 days beyond receipt of the B/C/S Judgement, a period that allows enough time for the appellant to review the Judgement and contribute meaningfully to his defence;1

CONSIDERING that the complexity of the case and the record was also already considered by the Appeals Chamber, and was the basis for granting an extension of 50 daysórather than 30 to 40, as would have been consistent with Appeals Chamber precedentóbeyond the receipt of the B/C/S Judgement, and does not therefore provide "good cause" for a further extension;2

CONSIDERING that the Tribunalís deadlines are not merely "guidelines," but are instead essential to the orderly and efficient progress of cases, and that the deference to counselís judgements that the Appellant urges would amount to disregard for those deadlines, with the parties simply submitting filings on the dates they choose;

CONSIDERING that, however, although the Prosecutionís transfer of new documents was also anticipated at the time of the 9 December 2004 Decision, defence counsel was at that time unaware of the number of documents involved and the time it would take to review them;

CONSIDERING that the Prosecutionís disclosure of nearly 6000 new documents available only in B/C/S presents an unusual circumstance substantially increasing the burdens on defence counsel beyond what was anticipated at the time of the 9 December 2004 Decision, and making it impracticable for counsel to prepare an adequate appeal brief in the time allotted by that decision;

CONSIDERING that, therefore, the interests of justice require that these exceptional circumstances be recognized as providing "good cause" for a moderate extension of one month, resulting in this case in a deadline of 27 June 2005;

GRANT the Appellantís motion and ORDER that the Appellantís Brief be filed by 27 June 2005.

 

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

______________________
Mohamed Shahabuddeen
Pre-Appeal Judge

Dated 5 May 2005
At The Hague
The Netherlands

[Seal of the Tribunal]


1. Decision of 9 December 2004 at 4.
2. Id.