1 Friday, 11 November 2011
2 [Further Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.29 p.m.
6 JUDGE HALL: Good afternoon.
7 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours.
9 This is the case number IT-03-67-R77.4, In the Matter of
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Seselj, are you hearing these proceedings in a
12 language that you understand?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I'm following the proceedings
14 in the Serbian language, which is the only language that I understand.
15 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
16 And I give you the usual reminder that under the Rules of
17 Procedure and Evidence, you enjoy the right to remain silent at all times
18 during the proceedings.
19 Now, the purpose of today's proceedings are enable the accused,
20 Mr. Seselj, to enter a plea on the amended order in lieu of indictment
21 issued on the 21st of October. At the appearance on Friday last, the 4th
22 of November, Mr. Seselj stated that he was not able to enter a plea. In
23 light of the particular and current circumstances of his case, the
24 Trial Chamber decided to extend the opportunity to him to enter a plea
25 again on the amended order in lieu of indictment. This charges
1 Mr. Seselj with contempt under Rule 77 for failing to comply with an
2 order of the Trial Chamber issued on the 15th of July 2011 to remove or
3 cause to be removed from his web site a fourth book which Mr. Seselj has
5 This book allegedly contains confidential witness information.
6 Now, at the appearance on the 4th of November, that's Friday
7 last, the public version of the amended order was read out and,
8 therefore, there is no need to do that again.
9 And so I inquire of you, Mr. Seselj, whether you prepared to
10 enter a plea today.
11 I note that you have declined to answer.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, the right to legal
13 assistance is one of the most protected rights in international law
14 generally and in human rights law in particular. And as soon as some
15 Judge finds out that such a right is violated he is duty-bound to
16 intervene immediately. You know, Mr. Hall, that this right has been
17 violated in my case. I demand to use my right to legal assistance and
18 the Registrar is not allowing me to do that. Actually, the Registrar is
19 allowing me to do it in a manner that is contrary to all principles of
20 international customary law to exercise my right to Legal Aid in
21 conditions where I would be spied on by him, and that is not the exercise
22 of the right to legal assistance. In any other country in the world, the
23 accused has the right to talk with his legal assistant in confidence and
24 that can only be considered as legal assistance if that is the way it is
25 extended to the accused. Any violation of human rights requires the
1 Trial Chamber or the acting Judge to issue an effective legal remedy.
2 That is your duty as Pre-Trial Judge, and that is the duty of your
3 colleagues who are members of the Trial Chamber in this case. The right
4 to Defence begins at the earliest stage, at the point in time when I was
5 issued with the indictment. That is the earliest stage in the pre-trial
6 proceedings. The right to defend exists in the investigating phase as
7 well and it is protected in the same way.
8 I referred to the violations in the earliest phase at the initial
9 appearances, and even before the initial appearance I indicated that a
10 violation had occurred. I said in the previous case that my right to
11 Legal Aid is being violated and that I would not be in the position to
12 submit within the deadlines the application to appeal and the appeal
14 You also know, Mr. Hall, that the Trial Chamber can issue any
15 kind of order that is necessary for the preparation or the actual
16 exercise of the proceedings. Aware that these proceedings cannot be
17 conducted without my right to Legal Aid being secured, that right at the
18 beginning, without that the whole proceedings would be null and void. So
19 ultimately it is your duty to issue orders that suit the situation and
20 the circumstances and that can only be an order issued to the Registrar
21 to ensure my -- the exercise of my right to self-defence in the same way
22 that this right is exercised in any other case, and so you can issue such
23 an order to the Registrar and the registrar is duty-bound to act pursuant
24 to such an order by you.
25 This is the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, to protect
1 procedural rights. This does not even have to be articulated in the
2 Rules or in the Statute. This is something that is inherent to a court.
3 The Court has to provide the circumstances for a just trial. Without a
4 just trial there can be no justice. You can hang me right outside this
5 door if you wish, but that would not constitute a just procedure. So the
6 right to Legal Aid being violated has violated not only my right to a
7 just trial, but it brings into question the integrity of the entire
9 I must remind you, I wrote a quotation here, the
10 Secretary-General of the United Nations in his report on the
11 establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
12 Yugoslavia, from 1993, said:
13 "The axiom is that the international Tribunal must recognise
14 internationally recognised standards in respect of the rights of the
15 accused at all stages of the proceedings."
16 I emphasise "at all stages of the proceedings." Since my rights
17 have been violated because of the actions of the Registrar, pursuant to
18 the European Court for Human Rights, I have suffered damage. I cannot
19 say that this is material damaged and I cannot say that this damage is
20 irreparable. The fact that you, Mr. Hall, as the Pre-Trial Judge, are
21 able to correct this at any phase and you can restore things to their
22 original state. As I said, the European Court for Human Rights, I have
23 been burdened with undue suffering, I am frustrated, and I'm in a really
24 bad mental state because of the circumstances. I am confused. I don't
25 understand the indictment against me. I have no Legal Aid or anything
1 like that. And I also have a feeling of loneliness and abandonment which
2 is actually the definition of my situation as it can be found in the
3 European Court for Human Rights. I have suffered moral damage so it's
4 not sufficient for this injustice to be corrected or an apology to be
5 extended to me by the Registrar or the Trial Chamber, because I am still
6 suffering from confusion, unease, and isolation.
7 The Inter-American Court for Human Rights and the European Court
8 for Human Rights consider and in their judgements they apply that: In
9 cases such as this, violations of the procedural rights or human rights
10 at any stage of the proceedings oblige the court to compensate me. I
11 refer to the Andre case before the international Tribunal for Rwanda. On
12 the 31st of January, 2007, the first-instance Trial Chamber made the
13 decision that on the 13th of September, 2007, the second-instance Trial
14 Chamber made its own decision that because the extension of Legal Aid was
15 late that the accused, Andre Rwamakuba should be compensated and damages
16 were paid to him in his case. This was $2.000 dollars.
17 In my case, the damage is not as high as that, so if you were to
18 intervene at this moment, right now, then this can be corrected in a
19 timely manner, and then I officially will submit a claim for damages in
20 the amount of 1.000 euros for undue concern, frustration, confusion, and
21 the feeling of loneliness and abandonment that I have suffered.
22 Before my right to privileged communication was taken away from
23 me, I authorised my legal advisor, Boris Aleksic, to prepare a claim for
24 damages for these entire proceedings for the violation of my rights.
25 Perhaps you're not aware of this, but I'm a veteran here, Mr. Hall. I
1 have been for nine years already.
2 Well, somebody switched my microphone off.
3 I have been for nine years already. The first and the second
4 year, the Registry prevented for seven months from receiving any visits,
5 including family visits, from receiving any phone calls, except for those
6 from the office of the warden, which I did not accept because my party
7 gained a third of deputy's post in the parliament, achieved good results
8 in the elections, and there was a danger that from here I could influence
9 the formation of the new government. There are seven such decisions from
10 the registry there. For a full four years the Registrar, without any
11 reason, denied me my right to legal assistance and to have normal
12 contacts with them.
13 Ever since Maja Gojkovic, my first legal advisor, who was an
14 attorney, an attorney with international experience, at that, they said
15 she was a suspect person, so they did not authorise her to work for me.
16 And that is what they did until my hunger strike from November and
17 December of 2006. That is when the Appeals Chamber decided that all the
18 legal -- three legal advisors can be registered. Then I had more
19 difficulties from the Registry. Then for a period I was left without a
20 right to communication. When my legal advisors came, they would take me
21 to some gas chamber where we were under the monitoring of cameras, public
22 cameras, the same ones like in the courtroom here, so each word of ours,
23 each move was recorded. This is something that is happening -- that has
24 happened several times.
25 In 1996 -- no, actually, in 2005, again, for two months I was
1 prevented from any kind of communication. I was not able to make phone
2 calls, receive visits, I could not receive any post because the Registry
3 had suspicions that I could reveal the identity of some protected witness
4 on the basis of one private telephone conversation of mine where I said I
5 heard that such and such a person, who happens to be a businessman in
6 Serbia, was do some work for the local self-authority in Novi Sad was a
7 witness in some proceedings. Without referring to any particular
8 proceedings, I just said officials of the local government in Novi Sad
9 are going into all kinds of ventures with him. This is an immoral person
10 and one should not really be cooperating with him.
11 This is what I said. And then two months ban on any
12 communication ensued. And then there was word of a proceedings for
13 contempt of court but this never actually took place, and then eventually
14 I was never informed exactly about what happened with that.
15 So these are all the reasons, why you, Mr. Hall, would need to
16 react immediately to protect my procedural rights, my elementary civil
17 rights. This is your inherent jurisdiction. And until you do so, and
18 until I exercise my right to legal assistance, I am not able to plead. I
19 would like to do that, gladly, but I am not able to because I do not
20 understand the indictment.
21 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Mr. Seselj. What you have said today, of
22 course, is an expansion and continuation of what you said last week. And
23 we will -- this matter will be taken one step at a time. And the purpose
24 of this -- of today's hearing is to complete the matter of dealing with
25 your plea.
1 So having regard to your lengthy explanation, the Chamber
2 therefore orders that a plea of not guilty be entered on your behalf.
3 And the next stages of the hearing against you will proceed in
4 due course. And such applications, as you are minded to make, of course,
5 you will make as advised.
6 Is there anything else that you wish to say before we adjourn the
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do, Mr. Hall.
9 Last time I raised the issue of the horrible food that we are
10 receiving in the UN Detention Unit. It might have seemed to you to be an
11 incredible thing, but this is today's lunch that all of us prisoners at
12 the Detention Unit received. Would be so kind to instruct the usher to
13 take this lunch and to bring it over to you, if you agree. I don't see
14 any reason for your concern. This is an original packing.
15 JUDGE HALL: I don't need to see the item, but you are entitled
16 to make the complaint which you have done. So the Registrar will be
17 informed of your complaint because, of course, the matter of the food is
18 a matter for the regime which runs the United Nations Detention Unit.
19 So, as I said, you're entitled to lodge the complaint, which you
20 have, and in the event that the authorities at the UNDU would not
21 themselves have earlier been made aware of your complaint, having regard
22 to what you have said in these proceedings in open court, I am requesting
23 the Registrar to bring your complaint directly to the attention of the --
24 those having custody of you at the United Nations Detention Unit.
25 Is there anything else?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But, Mr. Hall, it is your duty to
2 show some interest in all the problems I'm facing at the DU. I singled
3 out only one of those problems. Now you are refusing to receive evidence
4 of that. I'm' astonished and astounded. Why do you not want to receive
5 it? It's not poisoned. This is evidence, and then you can pass it on
6 either to the Registrar or whoever.
7 Mr. Hall, let us make a bargain --
8 JUDGE HALL: If I might interrupt you, Mr. Seselj.
9 You have used the word "evidence." Of course, that -- the use of
10 that word underlines what it is when you're dealing with a court. A
11 court can only receive evidence according to established rules of
12 procedure. It isn't practical or useful for a party to just hand up an
13 item and expect a court to make a determination about it. It is
14 something which would have to be considered by the authority having
15 jurisdiction in the particular matter who will then make a determination
16 having had the opportunity and having had the benefit of hearing all
17 sides on the matter.
18 So if you were to hand up that tray to me, it would be
19 meaningless. There is nothing that I can do about it.
20 Is there anything else, apart from the food, Mr. Seselj?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Hall, I am the only party to
22 these proceedings. We do not have the OTP here.
23 The Registry cannot be a party to the proceeding. They can,
24 however, express their opinions about certain procedure that fall within
25 their purview. Also, you're not telling me that as a Judge you are a
1 party to the proceeding. The indictment has been drafted by the Judges,
2 so we don't have a -- contradictory proceedings here that is typically
3 taken over from the common law. Here we have an inquisitory proceedings
4 which are typical of the European system. Here we have even indictments
5 issued by the Court itself and it is in the hands of the Court to conduct
6 the entire proceedings from beginning to end.
7 Now, Mr. Hall, here's the deal: Can you please take this, just
8 taste it a bit, and in return I will remove three of my books and five
9 documents listed here from my web site. I think it will make things
10 simple and easy, but please be so kind and receive it from me.
11 JUDGE HALL: [Overlapping speakers]
12 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation] I don't want to have to brought it
13 in vain.
14 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Seselj, I will not allow you to reduce these
15 proceedings to a farce. Do you have any other complaints apart from the
16 matter of the food which you would wish to bring to the Court's
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am putting before you specific
19 facts which you consider a farce. So what's the point of any further
20 conversation, Mr. Hall, if you believe that I brought this with the risk
21 of having it spilled over my papers in my brief case, you believe that to
22 be a farce. It's not a farce. This is concrete evidence which
23 demonstrates the quality of the food at the DU.
24 As soon as I pointed this, the camera moved away from it. Now it
25 seems the Registry is very anxious not to show this. I don't know why
1 you don't want to receive this. You are not exposing yourself to any
2 risk. Be a human being. And please find out what kind of food the
3 prisoners are receiving.
4 JUDGE HALL: It appears that Mr. Seselj has nothing else to
6 Please take the adjournment.
7 --- Whereupon the Further Appearance adjourned
8 at 2.54 p.m.