1 Monday, 18 March 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [Further Initial Appearance]
4 --- Upon commencing at 3.02 p.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, good afternoon. Are you hearing me in
7 a language that you can understand?
8 THE ACCUSED: French.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: If I understand him well, he's got the French
10 version. Could you put it on -- the Serbo-Croat would be number what? Is
11 it all right now? Are you hearing me in a language that you can
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. This is case number
16 IT-94-2-PT, the Prosecutor versus Dragan Nikolic.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Appearances for the Prosecution?
18 MR. YAPA: May it please, Your Honour, Upawansa Yapa appearing for
19 the Prosecution. With me is Patricia Sellers and Mr. William Smith.
20 MS. Diane Boles is the case manager for the Prosecution.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you. Appearances for the accused.
22 MR. MORRISON: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Howard Morrison for
23 Dragan Nikolic.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you. Let's go straight to the
25 most important part of our agenda for today's meeting. You will recall
1 that following a motion by the Prosecution for leave to amend the first
2 amended indictment, a long-awaited motion, I must say, this Chamber on the
3 15th of February of this year, filed its decision, and as a result of
4 which, we now have a second amended indictment, an indictment which -- an
5 amended indictment which essentially reduces the original 80 counts to
6 eight counts, but with some changes that are significant. I'm referring
7 in particular to the fact that this second amended indictment adds three
8 new charges under Counts 2, 3 and 6, which naturally necessitate the --
9 that your client, Mr. Morrison, enters a new plea.
10 Now, before proceeding any further, I just wanted to make sure
11 that your client is -- has already been made aware of the nature of the
12 amendments effected to the indictment and particularly as to the nature of
13 the changes that have been effected. If that is not the case, or if your
14 client thinks that this Trial Chamber ought to give -- explain to him the
15 nature of these changes in some detail, then naturally I am prepared to go
16 ahead and I will give a short explanation. But I would await for a
17 response from you first, before embarking into that, Mr. Morrison.
18 MR. MORRISON: Your Honour, the amended indictment has been served
19 upon my client in a language he understands. He's had the opportunity to
20 read it. I've had the opportunity to go through it with him. I do not
21 think it is necessary for him to have anything else done today other than
22 simply be arraigned as to what his plea is on those fresh matters. He
23 will immediately correct me, I'm sure, if I'm wrong as to that assumption,
24 but these are matters to which he has already indicated the nature of the
25 plea and I have already indicated to the OTP.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Morrison. And also another point
2 that I would like to raise is that your client has a right to have either
3 the entire new amended indictment or the amended parts of the indictment
4 or the newly introduced parts in the indictment read out to him in a
5 language that he can understand. Does he insist on this right, or does he
6 opt to renounce to it?
7 MR. MORRISON: Your Honour, the investigation has already been
8 made into that, and Mr. Nikolic is content that simply the new amended
9 parts are put to him. He doesn't require repetition of those matters
10 which have already been, as it were, arraigned, and he doesn't require the
11 full details to be put to him. I've discussed this already with my
12 learned friends from the OTP and indeed with the learned associate, and it
13 can be done in short form.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. So basically, if I read you well, you would
15 agree if the Chamber just informs for formality's sake that -- your client
16 that three new charges have been brought against him under counts 2, 3,
17 and 6 and then proceed to ask him to enter a plea, either to those three
18 particular counts, amended counts, or to -- just a general plea to the
19 whole amended indictment, whichever one you as Defence counsel prefers.
20 MR. MORRISON: Well, Your Honour, the -- a plea to -- a general
21 plea to the amended indictment will suffice because it will be the same
22 plea, even if it was put on individual counts.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly. Okay. Mr. Morrison we can proceed
24 along these lines.
25 The Trial Chamber is informing you that the new indictment
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 contains three new charges against you which are contained in counts 2, 3,
2 and 6. Basically, count 2 charges inhumane acts allegedly to have taken
3 place in the Susica camp as a crime against humanity. Count 3 charges you
4 with an additional murder, namely that relating to the killing of a
5 certain Galib Music. And count 6 alleges torture as a crime against
6 humanity in particular and relation to two individuals, namely say Sead
7 Ambeskovic, and Hajrudin Osmanovic.
8 That said, the only other thing remaining to me is to ask you what
9 plea you want to enter to the second amended indictment, as I understand
10 you are aware of it. Do you plead guilty or not guilty according to the
11 second amended indictment? Unless you want to state something else, in
12 which case you are free to go ahead.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would just like to plea. I have
14 nothing else to say except that I plead not guilty, Your Honour. Thank
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Nikolic. You may sit down.
17 Mr. Morrison, is there anything else you would like to state in
18 regard to this particular stage, part of our agenda?
19 MR. MORRISON: Your Honour, no. It is plain that those are now
20 all matters which are in issue between the Prosecution and the Defence.
21 Your Honour may not be aware that since the last hearing, there
22 has been significant new disclosure under Rule 66 and Rule 68 in respect
23 of the Defence. There are included in that disclosure a total of 58
24 statements which have not yet been translated into B/C/S, and therefore I
25 cannot take instructions from Mr. Nikolic.
1 I'm informed that the time scale, because of the pressure of work
2 for such translations, is going to be in the order of four to six weeks
3 from today, which means that it's going to be difficult to take the matter
4 further before, first of all, Mr. Nikolic has had the opportunity to read
5 and absorb the new statements and, secondly, for him to give me detailed
6 instructions upon them. As soon as that's been done - which looks from
7 the time scale point of view to be no earlier than the end of April of
8 this year - I will be in a position to enter into hopefully some
9 meaningful discussions with the Prosecution as to the future conduct of
10 this case.
11 I can start that process in respect of those statements which have
12 already been translated and in respect of which I already have
13 instructions, but I'm not evidently going to be able to finish that
14 process until the statements are available.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand that. And I appreciate you putting the
16 Chamber into the picture.
17 Mr. Yapa, is there any way in which this process could be
19 MR. YAPA: Your Honour --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I know what the difficulties are, and I know that
21 you are not answerable and you cannot account for these problems, but ...
22 MR. YAPA: I'm thankful to Your Honour for raising this question.
23 We have had some consultation, and the understanding we have is that it
24 will take four to five weeks for the translations to --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: How bulky are these documents? How voluminous?
1 MR. YAPA: Your Honour, there are about 20 new statements. It's
2 only that much. But the time given is four to five weeks for the
3 translations to take place.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you.
5 We'll move to the next item on our agenda for this -- for today's
6 meeting, this afternoon's meeting, and that is the pending motion on the
7 illegality of the arrest.
8 Now, I'm afraid, Mr. Morrison, that I am not a harbourer of good
9 news today in this regard because the situation is not much changed since
10 the last meeting.
11 What I can explain is that we've had some problems, human
12 resources problems, as a result of which progress in the elaboration of
13 the decision on the -- on your motion on the alleged illegality of your
14 client's arrest has been -- has had to slow down. We should be in a
15 position to proceed at a faster speed now that we have got an additional
16 officer present now, recruited, and it should make it possible for the
17 legal officer who was working on this motion, on the research involved on
18 this motion, to concentrate more on this matter. However, I do want to
19 make myself clear on this. It's not something that has been abandoned or
20 something that has been neglected. It's something that we are working
21 upon. We consider it of the utmost importance, being -- regarding an
22 alleged illegal arrest, and I can assure you that it will receive our
23 utmost attention. But we require more time, and we will keep you
24 informed, and hopefully, by the next meeting, we will be in a position to
25 hand down our decision, unless fresh problems arise.
1 Do you have anything to state in regard?
2 MR. MORRISON: Your Honour, no. Thank you for keeping the Defence
3 apprised of the position. The situation is this, that we are inevitably
4 delayed by the translation problems. Even if the motion was, as it were,
5 ready today, that translation problem wouldn't have gone away so the time
6 scale wouldn't, I would have thought, be much affected. Besides which, I
7 always found it unwise to complain about any lapse of time for which I'm
8 not responsible because when there comes a lapse of time for which I am
9 responsible, it's much easier to make well-received motions.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I appreciate that, Mr. Morrison. I thank you.
11 MR. MORRISON: It all depends how I phrase it on the next occasion
12 as to how it's appreciated.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: So we move to any other matter that you would like
14 to raise. Prosecution?
15 MR. YAPA: We do not have any matters.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Defence?
17 MR. MORRISON: Your Honour, no, thank you.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nikolic, it is customary for this Trial Chamber,
19 each time there is a meeting of this kind, to ensure that your state of
20 health is good and it's being given attention to, and that the conditions
21 pertaining to your state of detention in the detention centre of this
22 Tribunal are adequate and according to recognised standards and also the
23 rules of this Tribunal.
24 Do you -- is there anything that you would like to state in regard
25 to either of these two points that I have raised with you?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no comments to
2 make. My health is fine. Of course, now I've been here for a while,
3 nearly two years, the personnel in the detention unit are well. I have no
4 problems. I have visits from my family. Generally speaking, I have
5 nothing to complain about. Thank you very much.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
7 I suppose there is nothing else to be added, and that being the
8 case, the meeting is closed. We stand adjourned to the next one. Thank
10 Incidentally, Mr. Morrison and Mr. Yapa, if, during -- between now
11 and the next meeting, assuming that the translations would have been
12 forwarded to you and there are discussions that may impact the need for us
13 to proceed with the decision on the illegal arrest or the future of this
14 trial, to please come forward in the usual, recognised manner and inform
15 the Tribunal, the Chamber.
16 MR. YAPA: Of course.
17 MR. MORRISON: Yes.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
20 3.21 p.m.