1 Friday, 18 February 2011
2 [Initial Appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.04 p.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Good afternoon, everyone. Would the Registrar
7 please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. This is case number
9 IT-95-5/18-R77.1, the Prosecutor versus Berko Zecevic.
10 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 I am Judge O-Gon Kwon, Presiding Judge of the Trial Chamber III,
12 and have been designated to hear this initial appearance
13 Professor Dr. Zecevic.
14 First of all, I would like to make sure that Dr. Zecevic is
15 following the proceedings in a language which he understand.
16 Dr. Zecevic, are you receiving the interpretation into your own language?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 JUDGE KWON: Would you turn on the -- press the microphone.
19 Microphone. Turn on the microphone.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Kwon, I receive
21 normal audio feed.
22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Dr. Zecevic. It is my understanding that
23 you are having back pain and spine-related conditions, so I don't mind
24 you stand up from time to time whenever necessary.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you kindly.
1 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
2 I would now like the counsel appearing for Dr. Zecevic to
3 introduce himself.
4 MR. METTRAUX: Good afternoon, Your Honour. On behalf of
5 Dr. Zecevic, Guenael Mettraux, counsel, and Jesenka Residovic as legal
7 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Mettraux.
8 In light of some motions which we received from you this
9 afternoon, Mr. Mettraux, I asked for the Prosecution to be represented at
10 this hearing, although that would not normally be the case. So could the
11 Prosecution please introduce yourself for the record.
12 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Alan Tieger,
13 Fergal Gaynor, and Iain Reid appear for the Prosecution.
14 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Tieger.
15 Now Dr. Zecevic, while the Chamber has read your motions filed by
16 your Defence counsel this afternoon, and we'll get to that shortly, I
17 first have to go through certain formalities, so I'd like you to state
18 your full name and date and place of your birth for the record, please.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Berko Zecevic, university professor
20 in Sarajevo, born on the 13th of December, 1949, in Srebrenica,
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Professor. It is my understanding that
23 you were transferred to the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague
24 yesterday. Can I take it that your family is aware of that transfer?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I was able to speak with them on
1 the phone.
2 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. And I would like to check that you have
3 received a copy of the Order in Lieu of Indictment, dated 4th of
4 February, 2011, in your own language, and that you have understood its
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have received all material, and I
7 have fully understood what is written there.
8 JUDGE KWON: Now you are represented here today by Mr. Mettraux.
9 Are you satisfied with your representation here today?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm more than satisfied.
11 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Please make yourself comfortable and be
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 JUDGE KWON: Before we proceed any further, I would like to deal
15 with the motion which was filed confidentially by the Defence counsel,
16 but before we go further, can I ask the reason why the motion was filed
17 confidentially? If necessary, we can go into private session.
18 MR. METTRAUX: I don't think it's necessary, Your Honour. I'm
19 grateful for the question. We've indicated to the Prosecution we haven't
20 received the record of these proceedings and weren't able to determine
21 exactly which filings remain confidential and which were not. We'd be
22 more than happy to file a public version of all three filings as soon as
23 we are able to ascertain which of the filings remain confidential.
24 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Then there's no problem. We discuss the
25 matter in public session, including the motion for withdrawal of the
1 Order in Lieu of Indictment.
2 MR. METTRAUX: There is none, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Dr. Zecevic, I understand from that
4 motion that you are willing to testify in the Karadzic case. Is that
5 correct, Professor?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have never refused to testify in
7 court. My reaction was prompted by the Prosecution and how they treated
8 me, even though they were aware of my limitations. Given that I had
9 spine surgery and that my ability to sit and to stand is extremely
10 limited, I made a proposal to the Prosecution reflecting not my wishes
11 but reflecting the result of my previous work with students, and so far I
12 have been able to work with students for two or three lessons only, after
13 which time I lose feeling in my toes on both feet. Following such
14 lessons, I have to lie down for ten hours in order to regain feeling in
15 my toes. It is certainly not appropriate for me to tell the Prosecution
16 for how long I can testify, but I made a proposal to sit twice for
17 45 hours, but not longer than that, totaling 180.
18 The Prosecution did not accept this proposal of mine, and this
19 proposal was given completely honestly, without any bad intention on my
20 part. I am somebody who has been co-operating with the OTP for the past
21 16 years. I provided hundreds and hundreds of hours of support to the
22 OTP. I wrote hundreds of pages of various reports for them.
23 Finally, I came to conclusion that any further co-operation with
24 the OTP would result in me losing my integrity as a person, losing my
25 freedom. Therefore, my actions were an attempt on my part to regain my
1 integrity and to regain my freedom.
2 Later on I became aware that they misinterpreted my requests and
3 that it looked as though I did not want to help the court and that my
4 actions were aimed against the court, which had never occurred to me. It
5 had never occurred to me to bring into question the high esteem that I
6 have for this court.
7 Therefore, I'm prepared to testify. I would kindly ask you to
8 take into account several basic facts when making your ruling as to the
9 length of my testimony. I hope you will be able to take all elements
10 into account. Today as we set out to come to this building, I travelled
11 in a car for 20 minutes in very cramped conditions that are bad for my
12 health. I was in the cell here. I was handcuffed both here and in
13 Sarajevo, and I will be forced to wait for transport once my testimony
14 begins as well. So if I were to testify for three to four hours each
15 day, that means that there will be additional three to four hours of
16 physical -- physically limiting circumstances that would be bad for my
18 I have to tell you that as a professor who teaches, I have to be
19 in good physical shape to be able to come to teach my students. I don't
20 know that there are any cases where professors come on stretchers to
21 teach and to work.
22 By doing what I did, I undertook something that was aimed at
23 ensuring the livelihood of my family. As a professor, as an active
24 professor, I'm quite capable of giving very precise and prompt answers to
25 any questions that are put to me. As an expert, I will provide answers
1 to you, to the OTP, to the Defence. I have prepared various
2 presentations that are quite illustrative in explaining the facts that
3 are relevant to you, but please bear in mind that once I leave this
4 Tribunal, I have to work in order to provide livelihood for my family and
5 for myself and that I also need to be able to walk in order to do that.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Professor, but please let me understand
9 While we are most certainly willing to accommodate your
10 particular medical condition by tailoring our sitting sessions in a way
11 that cause -- that causes you the least possible discomfort, but in a
12 nutshell, it is not for you as a witness to dictate the terms of your
13 testimony, including the total time of your evidence. So I have to ask
14 you again whether it is your intention that you are willing to testify
15 only for three hours.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour Judge Kwon, I came
17 here, and having consulted with my lawyer, I said that I would testify
18 for as long as you consider that I need to testify.
19 JUDGE KWON: Thank you very much, Professor. I'm very pleased to
20 hear of this development, and I will inform my colleagues in the
21 Trial Chamber accordingly. Please be seated.
22 Well, in light of this development, I would like first to hear
23 from the Prosecution concerning the Defence motion for withdrawal of the
24 Order in Lieu of Indictment.
25 Yes, Mr. Gaynor.
1 MR. GAYNOR: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 We do not oppose the withdrawal of the contempt proceedings at
3 the conclusion of the testimony of Dr. Zecevic. Now, I don't know if
4 Mr. Zecevic's counsel is going to make any submissions concerning
5 provisional release, but that's our principal position.
6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Mettraux.
7 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, we will make submissions on
8 provisional release once this matter has been dealt with by the Chamber.
9 We're having difficulties, as indicated to the Office of the Prosecutor,
10 obtaining the necessary visas that would permit Mr. Zecevic --
11 Dr. Zecevic, to stay on Dutch territory. We understand from the
12 Registry's indications that the change of status on the part of
13 Mr. Zecevic from an accused to a witness would greatly facilitate matters
14 and that they stand ready at this moment to contact the Dutch authority
15 to facilitate his stay were he to be released from the UNDU today.
16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Mettraux. I don't think your filing
17 of provisional release will be necessary.
18 I have discussed this matter with my colleagues in the
19 Trial Chamber already, and we consider it prudent to simply suspend the
20 Order in Lieu of Indictment, as well as the order for detention on remand
21 until Professor Zecevic's testimony in the Karadzic case is completed.
22 We will issue a written decision to this effect after -- after this
23 hearing, as soon as practicable.
24 MR. METTRAUX: We're very grateful to Your Honour.
25 JUDGE KWON: Then on a practical matter, I take it that,
1 Mr. Tieger or Mr. Gaynor, we can hear the testimony of
2 Professor Dr. Zecevic when the Karadzic proceedings resume on Tuesday
3 next week?
4 MR. GAYNOR: Yes, Mr. President. We can start with Dr. Zecevic,
5 or we can continue with the witness who is currently in the middle of his
6 evidence. We're prepared to go as Your Honours wish.
7 JUDGE KWON: Let me consult the Legal Officer of the Chamber.
8 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
9 JUDGE KWON: Considering the circumstances, it is better to hear
10 Mr. Zecevic as soon as possible, but the question is whether the witness
11 we are currently hearing can be released until that time.
12 MR. GAYNOR: Yes, he can be released. He's -- I think he's
13 currently in The Hague now. He has elderly relatives who he cares for,
14 so he would be keen for him to return home as soon as possible.
15 If I can say this: There are two hours of cross-examination
16 ordered for him, examination-in-chief is almost complete. So if we were
17 to deal with him first thing on Tuesday, perhaps we could -- we could
18 send him home on Tuesday morning and then start with Dr. Zecevic. That
19 might be the better option possibly.
20 JUDGE KWON: Do you have any observation on this, Mr. Mettraux?
21 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, simply to indicate that the
22 representatives of Dr. Karadzic have informed us that they would be
23 willing and ready to start with Dr. Zecevic on Tuesday. They had to make
24 certain arrangements for the expert to come here. This is the only
25 additional information we have.
1 JUDGE KWON: To make it simple, why don't we start with
2 Mr. Zecevic, Mr. Gaynor, on Tuesday.
3 MR. GAYNOR: That's very well, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
5 And Mr. Mettraux, we have also received your request to be
6 present in the courtroom during Dr. Zecevic's testimony, and I understand
7 that neither the Prosecution nor Mr. Karadzic's team opposes that
9 I'm not in a position right now to give our decision on that
10 motion, but you will have it on Monday.
11 MR. METTRAUX: Very well. Thank you.
12 JUDGE KWON: Are there any matters to raise?
13 MR. METTRAUX: Not from this side.
14 MR. GAYNOR: Nothing from us either. Thank you, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. The hearing is now adjourned.
16 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned
17 at 3.24 p.m.