1 Thursday, 17 July 2008
2 [Further appearance]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: Good afternoon, everybody. Good afternoon to the
7 Prosecution, to the Defence, to Mr. Djordjevic. Mr. Registrar, would you
8 be so kind as to announce the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case
10 IT-05-87/1-PT, The Prosecutor versus Vlastimir Djordjevic.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much.
12 We are here this afternoon in the occasion of the amendment to
13 the indictment which was granted by the Chamber on I think 7th July, and
14 the purpose of this hearing is to ask you, Mr. Djordjevic, to enter a
15 plea of guilty or not guilty today to the new count that has been
16 included in the indictment as a result of the Trial Chamber's decision.
17 So we are here under Rule 50(b) to allow you to enter your
18 plea; and as you may recall, the Prosecution moved for amendment of
19 the indictment to include a new charge of murder in Podujevo and also
20 to include not new charges but inclusion of new victims relating to
21 two charges that had already been included in the indictment, namely
22 the incidents that took place in Suva Reka and in Vucitrn. And on
23 9th July pursuant to the Chambers order, the Prosecution filed the new
24 indictment. The indictment alleges that you, Mr. Djordjevic, took part
25 in a joint criminal enterprise to modify the ethnic balance in Kosovo
1 in order to ensure the continued Serbian control in the area. The
2 indictment further alleges that the purpose of the joint criminal
3 enterprise was to be achieved through a widespread or systematic campaign
4 of terror or violence including the crimes charged in the indictment.
5 A number of individuals formed part of this joint criminal enterprise
6 together with you, including Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic,
7 Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladimir Lazarevic, and Sreten
9 Counts 3 and 4 of the indictment allege killings of hundreds of
10 Kosovo Albanian men, women, and children throughout the province of
11 Kosovo. The killings were allegedly committed between 1st January and
12 20th of June, 1999, by the forces of federal -- the Republic of
14 The incidents of mass killings which the Prosecution charges
15 under count 3 and 4 are listed in paragraph 75 of the indictment. As
16 a result of the added new charge, paragraph 75(l) now includes the
17 Podujevo incident. Furthermore, in relation to the Suva Reka incident
18 charged in paragraph 75(d), as Delta, the Prosecution was granted leave
19 to add the names of three further victims to Schedule (d), as Delta; and
20 also in relation to the Vucitrn incident charged in paragraph 75(i), for
22 victim to Schedule (i).
23 Mr. Djordjevic - I'm addressing counsel Djordjevic now - has the
24 accused received a copy of the amended indictment?
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as Defence counsel
1 for the accused Vlastimir Djordjevic, I have to say that he was served a
2 copy of the indictment in a language he understands only late in the
3 evening, and in fact, due to procedural reasons, this fact could have
4 been registered in the appropriate protocol only early this morning.
5 I consider this in a way to be a violation of the accused
6 person's right to Defence. However, since the counts from the third
7 amended indictment resemble to a great degree the fourth amended
8 indictment, and also there is the fact that we were allowed as a special
9 circumstance a visit this afternoon lasting one hour. We talked to our
10 client, and we thought that it was in our interest to allow him to enter
11 his plea this afternoon, although, it is impermissible to have this kind
12 of thing happen, namely to have a copy of the indictment served on him in
13 a language he understands. We decided nevertheless that he does enter a
14 plea because it is in our interest, and he is going to do that today with
15 regard to the new counts in the indictment and the incidents described by
16 the OTP in the fourth amended indictment against accused Vlastimir
18 Once again I express my regret on account of what had happened,
19 and I believe that it is truly not proper to receive early in the morning
20 such serious charges against yourself, and then within a few hours
21 without looking into the other circumstances you have the possibility of
22 entering your plea. He is going to do that today, nevertheless,
23 observing Rule 50(c), I believe, of the rules of procedure and evidence,
24 and we are going to be in a position to file some preliminary motions
25 within the next 30 days.
1 So, Your Honour, I would like to inform you of the fact that
2 our client will enter a plea today. Thank you.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you for this information, counsel, and I
4 regret on behalf of the Tribunal the delay that has occurred here in
5 relation to the service of the amended indictments on your client. I
6 take it, however, that you and your client were given a copy of the
7 motion earlier on and that at least the English version of the amended
8 indictment did reach you in time, so I hope that we are not seriously
9 damaging the justice of your client.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, once again I wish
11 to point out that that is precisely the reason why we are going to enter
12 our plea today in view of the amended indictment. Formally, we know how
13 things stand, and we know that the accused has to be served a copy of the
14 indictment in his own language. Why this was not done, I don't know, but
15 I cannot -- but not mention it today for the simple reason that this kind
16 of thing should not happen again. Thank you.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: I fully agree with you, and as I said, I
18 apologise on behalf of the Tribunal, and I am grateful for your
19 flexibility and openness.
20 Mr. Djordjevic, would you please stand up. Under the statute and
21 the rules, you enjoy the right to remain silent at all times if you wish,
22 but I understand from what your counsel has just said that you are
23 willing to enter your plea today. Let me just for the sake of clarity
24 read out the addition that has been made to the indictment in respect of
25 the Podujevo incidents, and that reads as follows, it's very short: "On
1 or about the 28th March of 1999, forces of the former Republic of
3 Duriqi, and Llugaliu families, all women and children, in the courtyard
4 of a house in the town of Podujevo
5 were ordered to gather in the courtyard, and 14 were killed and 5
6 children were seriously injured in the shooting. Those persons killed
7 are known by name and set forth in Schedule L, which is attached as an
8 appendix to this indictment."
9 This is the inclusion that has been made, and I wish to ask you,
10 Mr. Djordjevic, if you plead guilty or not guilty to this new charge.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty.
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much we will enter your pleading
13 of not guilty in the record. You may sit.
14 I just want to be sure that in addition to this new charge, that
15 the Defence is also aware and the accused, of course, is aware of the
16 inclusion of three new victims in the Suva Reka incident and one new
17 victim in the Vucitrn incident. Can you affirm this?
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we are fully aware
19 of the indictment, and we confirm that we are aware of the way in which
20 the OTP amended the indictment by including new charges. As I said, we
21 are going to use legal recourse that is available to us in view of our
22 client's plea within the next 30 days.
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you very much. You mentioned awhile ago,
24 counsel, that you intend to file a preliminary motion under Rule 72; is
25 that correct?
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I just said that I retain the
2 right to do that after more extensive consultations that we are going to
3 have tomorrow during the work meeting that we are going to have at the
4 UNDU. That will certainly last for three hours, and after that we are
5 definitely going to decide whether we are going to file a preliminary
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. May I just remind you that in that
8 case, the 30-day limit will start on the 9th of July -- the 7th of July,
9 sorry, on the day of the decision.
10 This brings us to the end of the formal part of this hearing,
11 and I would then like to raise another matter, which relates to a motion
12 that I have received from the Prosecution asking for extension of time in
13 relation to the extra investigations that had to be made after the
14 testimony of General Aleksandar Dimitrijevic in the Milutinovic trial. I
15 understand that the Prosecution is asking for two more weeks
16 to submit their pre-trial brief, and I realise by now that I did not ask
17 for the presentation of the parties in today's hearing, so I would like
18 you to introduce yourself, Mr. Prosecutor.
19 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour. It's Priya Gopalan and
20 myself, Chester Stamp, for the Prosecution. With us is our case manager,
21 Mr. Colin Nawrot.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: Welcome to you.
23 MR. STAMP: Thank you.
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: As you are aware, we have issued a scheduling
25 order to request the Prosecution to file its pre-trial brief on Monday
1 the 25th of August, and the Defence to file its pretrial brief on Monday,
2 the 15th of September. Since I know that the Defence has asked for more
3 time to prepare its case, and since I know that, also, the Prosecution
4 had requested an extension of time at the last status conference, we had
5 a discussion about this, and I indicated the Chamber's firm commitment to
6 have the case made ready for start -- the trial made ready for start by
7 mid-October. This stands unchanged.
8 I am not sure that the reason the Prosecution has put forward
9 as in support of its motion for extension of time is really convincing.
10 The fact that you have had a two-day testimony of General Dimitrijevic
11 Milutinovic would not seem to me to be a factor that requires an
12 extension of two week's time to submit your pretrial brief. So at least
13 from a starting point, I'm not inclined to grant your motion.
14 However, as you can recall from our discussions here when we had
15 the last -- at the last status conference, we did include one extra week
16 because we anticipated that there could arise unforeseen circumstances.
17 So we do in fact have one week to give to the -- to each of the parties.
18 And since I believe that the reasons put forward by the Prosecution for
19 extension of time does not warrant a delay of two weeks, then on the
20 other hand since we do have an extra week at our disposal, I'm determined
21 to grant the Prosecution's motion in the sense that we will delay the
22 filing of the pre-trial briefs with this extra week. That is to say, my
23 proposal is that we change or we alter the scheduling order so as to now
24 set the time limit for submission of the Prosecution's pretrial brief for
25 Monday, the 1st of September, and equally to move down one week for the
1 Defence from the 15th of September to the 22nd of September. This will
2 still allow us to start the trial in mid-October as scheduled or as
3 planned, at least.
4 Mr. Stamp.
5 MR. STAMP: Your Honour.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: If the Chamber will give you this extra week,
7 will you then promise me that there will be no more requests for delays?
8 MR. STAMP: On the basis of what I know now, I make that promise.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: Because I must say that -- I must be frank with
10 you that whatever comes up from now on will not be granted. There will
11 be no more delays than this one. We had this extra week because we
12 thought that there might come up something. Now something has arisen. I
13 don't know if the grounds are sufficient, but since we do have this week,
14 I'm prepared to go along with your requests and grant it. But that's the
15 end, and there will be no more delays.
16 MR. STAMP: Very well, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE HARHOFF: Please respect this and take it into account, and
18 this goes, as well, for the Defence.
19 MR. STAMP: We will do all that is necessary to comply with the
20 deadlines, and we'll do so.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: So it is hereby decided, and the scheduling order
22 will follow in writing, that the Prosecution is now to submit its
23 pretrial brief on Monday, the 1st of September, and the Defence will file
24 its pretrial brief on Monday, the 22nd of September.
25 Mr. Djordjevic, do you have anything to add?
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. First of
2 all, I wanted to say that the Defence has accepted the scheduling order
3 given previously, bearing in mind that from the 15th of September, which
4 was our last deadline for the pre-trial brief submission, until the
5 envisaged beginning of the trial, we had more of a time lapse than we are
6 going to have now. So I still don't have the scheduling order indicating
7 when the trial against the accused Djordjevic would begin. However, if
8 it is indeed the date that you have just given us, the 13th of October,
9 then given the extension of the deadline for the Prosecution and for the
10 Defence, as well, that means that from that date until the beginning of
11 the trial, which is the 13th of October, we have literally a week less
12 than we had under the previous deadline.
13 So based on some earlier plans that we have, the Defence would
14 normally agree to this extension of deadline providing that the beginning
15 of the trial is also postponed by a week because that would be in
16 compliance with the plan based on which the Defence has been working
17 until now. Otherwise, our plan so far would be effected. However, we
18 will always abide by whatever the Chamber says. There are some
19 additional problems there. I don't want to repeat myself. I have stated
20 those problems earlier, and I will admit that we are in somewhat better
21 position than our colleagues who were Defence lawyers in the Milutinovic
22 case. But on the other hand, we have some other circumstances that
23 represent a burden to us because when we start the trial, there will
24 still not be any judgement in the Milutinovic case, so we have to take
25 that into account when working on this case.
1 That's all I have to say. Thank you.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic. May I just note that
3 the time you have from now on until the trial starts remains unchanged.
4 The only thing that has changed is that you are being offered an
5 opportunity to submit your pre-trial brief a week later than originally
6 anticipated, and may I repeat that I'm not in a position to confirm that
7 the trial will start on Monday, the 13th of October. My indication has
8 been that it will start in mid-October. I assume that this will be
9 sometime during that week that starts with Monday, the 13th of October,
10 but whether it's going to be Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, I can't say
11 because this will be in the end for the Trial Chamber to determine
12 exactly when it wishes to have the pre-trial conference and the opening
13 statements. It may be Monday the 13th, but it may also be at some later
14 date. I will leave that, respectfully, to the Trial Chamber to determine
15 for itself.
16 What I can do is that I can ensure that the trial is made
17 ready to begin by mid-October, and this is my promise to the President,
18 and I do so by asking the parties to file their pre-trial briefs on the
19 dates that we have now agreed upon. So that's all I have to say
20 regarding this matter.
21 Mr. Djordjevic, are you still in good shape?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I am in pretty good shape.
23 I'm a bit concerned due to this great haste which exists in my case.
24 Today, it's exactly one year and one month that I have been here, so I
25 think that there's plenty of time to put me on trial. However, I believe
1 that this Court will take into consideration all facts, and then this
2 excessive haste will not effect my case. Thank you.
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic. Maybe I should say
4 that the fact that you have been here already for one year is in itself,
5 in my view, too long, so I think it's about high time we get on with your
6 trial. And as we have said at the last status conference and at many
7 previous status conferences before the last, the fact that the judgement
8 in Milutinovic will not be rendered until later cannot remain a factor
9 that should delay your trial. When the judgement is actually rendered in
10 Milutinovic, and we don't know the dates as of yet, then I'm sure that
11 the parties will have an opportunity to adjust their strategies in light
12 of what is decided in the Milutinovic judgement; but as I said last time,
13 let's cross that bridge when we get there. I think the important thing
14 is to get your trial started, and if the judgement in Milutinovic calls
15 for any amendments, I think it's for the Trial Chamber to deal with that
16 at that time.
17 But I'm glad that you can confirm that you are still in good
18 health, and may I ask you if you have any other issues that you wish to
19 raise at this occasion, since we are here together now?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, there are some other issues
21 concerning my financial situation and facts to establish that. They are
22 treating me as though I were Rockefeller, and it is my impression that
23 there is some kind of special procedure instituted against me. I guess
24 that this will be the fastest case before this Court. There are some
25 cases where people waited for a trial for three or five years, and my
1 trial is to begin after one year, and I am interested in having a speedy
2 trial, but I hope that this excessive haste will not affect the issues of
3 my responsibility or any issues concerning my defence.
4 JUDGE HARHOFF: I can assure you, Mr. Djordjevic, that you will
5 be given a fair trial that lives up to the same standards as any other
6 accused before this Tribunal. There is no difference made between you
7 and anybody else, and as I've said before, I think the fact that some of
8 your co- -- some of the other accused before us have had to wait for
9 several years before their trial could start is, in my view, something
10 that is only deplorable. It has to do with organisational problems and
11 other sorts of issues, but it is really deplorable that people would have
12 to wait for so long before their trial could start after they have been
14 No more to be said about this. I wish to ask the parties if they
15 have any other issue to raise at this moment.
16 MR. STAMP: Nothing, Your Honour. Thank you very much.
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Nothing for the time being,
18 Your Honour.
19 JUDGE HARHOFF: As regards the financial issue that your client
20 raised, I will instruct my senior legal officer to contact you and to see
21 if there are any problems that can be sorted out in this respect.
22 This concludes the second or the third initial appearance as
23 it is, and we stand adjourned. Thank you.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2:53 p.m.