Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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 1                           Tuesday, 29 April 2008

 2                           [Status Conference]

 3                           [Open session]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 10.07 a.m.

 5             JUDGE POCAR:  Good morning to everybody.  May I ask Madam

 6     Registrar, will you please call the case.

 7             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honour.  This is case number

 8     IT-98-29/1-A, the Prosecutor versus Dragomir Milosevic.

 9             JUDGE POCAR:  Thank you.  May I have the appearances of the party

10     for the Prosecution.

11             MS. LEWIS:  Good morning, Your Honour.  Nicole Lewis, appearing

12     for the Prosecution, together with my co-counsel, Ms. Shelagh McCall, and

13     our case manager, Mr. Sebastiaan van Hooydonk.

14             JUDGE POCAR:  Thank you.

15             For the Defence.

16             MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.  I'm

17     attorney at law Branislav Tapuskovic, appearing for Dragomir Milosevic,

18     and with me is my co-counsel, Branislava Isailovic, an attorney at law

19     from Paris.  Thank you.

20             JUDGE POCAR:  I thank you.  Now, may I turn to Mr. Milosevic, and

21     may I ask you if you can hear and follow the proceedings in a language

22     you understand .

23             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.  I can hear and

24     understand everything.  I can follow, yes.

25             JUDGE POCAR:  Thank you very much.

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 1             Now, this is a status conference called in accordance with

 2     Rule 65 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, which requires, as

 3     everybody knows, that a status conference be convened within 120 days

 4     from the filing of a notice of appeal and thereafter within, again, 120

 5     days after the last status conference.

 6             The purpose of the status conference is, first, to allow any

 7     person in custody, pending an appeal, the opportunity to raise issues in

 8     relation to its detention.  So may I first ask the counsel for the

 9     Defence if there is any question of this kind to be raised here?  And

10     then I will ask Mr. Milosevic himself.  But, please, Mr. Tapuskovic.

11             MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, to the best of my

12     knowledge, observing the mental and physical health of Mr. Dragomir

13     Milosevic, I think there are no complaints concerning the conditions in

14     the Detention Unit of this Tribunal.  He will certainly not raise any

15     issues in that respect.  However, he will address you now.  He is

16     expecting to learn quite soon the decision of your Chamber concerning his

17     motion for provisional release for the reasons stated in the motion.

18             There is nothing further for me to add, and of course

19     Mr. Milosevic himself will inform you of this.

20             JUDGE POCAR:  Thank you, Mr. Tapuskovic.

21             May I ask Mr. Milosevic, himself, if he has any issue to raise

22     concerning the detention, apart from the motion for provisional release

23     that we will address later, but please, Mr. Milosevic.

24             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

25             With respect to the conditions in the Detention Unit, I have no

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 1     issues to raise, nor do I have anything to say concerning any possible

 2     problems.  In brief, everything is in good order.

 3             Thank you.

 4             JUDGE POCAR:  Thank you.  Now, you may sit down.

 5             As to the question of the provisional release, on 14 April the

 6     Defence filed an application for provisional release pursuant to

 7     Rule 65(i), to which the Prosecution responded on 18 April.  I can say

 8     only that the Appeals Chamber is currently dealing with the application,

 9     and I can anticipate that it will render a decision very soon.  It's a

10     question of days, maybe even tomorrow or the day after tomorrow we can

11     issue the decision.  So it's a question of a very short time in which the

12     Appeal Chamber will render its decision.

13             May I now turn to the briefing schedule.  May I recapitulate the

14     briefing schedule now.

15             The Prosecution filed its notice of appeal in this case on the

16     31st of December, 2007, and submitted its appeal brief on 30 January

17     2008.  I recall the Prosecution's appeal is limited to sentencing.

18             The Defence notice of appeal was filed on 11 January 2008.  In

19     February, the Defence filed a motion seeking an extension of time for the

20     filing of the Defence appeal and Respondent's brief on the basis that

21     Mr. Milosevic had not yet received the official B/C/S translation of the

22     trial judgement.  And on the 20th of February, I issued a decision, as

23     the Appeal Judge, granting a motion and ordering the Defence to file its

24     appeal brief within 15 days and the Respondent's brief within seven days

25     of the receipt of the translation.

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 1             As the parties are aware of, I believe, the Appeal Chamber has

 2     been advised by the Registry that the B/C/S translation of the judgement

 3     will be available no later than the 1st of August, 2008, so we expect --

 4     the Appeal Chamber expects to receive the appeal brief of the Defence and

 5     the Respondent's brief of the Defence within the month of August, within

 6     the deadlines as indicated in the decision I issued on 20 February 2008.

 7             Now, this is just on the briefing schedule.  Is there any issue

 8     the parties want to raise as to the briefing schedule or any other issue

 9     that they want to raise on this appeal at this point of time?

10             Mr. Tapuskovic, or maybe the Prosecutor first.  Or as you wish.

11     I have no problem.

12             MS. LEWIS:  Your Honour, the Prosecution has nothing which it

13     wishes to raise at this point.

14             JUDGE POCAR:  I thank you.

15             The Defence?

16             MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

17             I wish to raise an issue which is of crucial importance for the

18     Defence, though I don't want to use strong words.  I have your decision,

19     issued on the date you said it would be issued, and you approved a time

20     period of 15 days for Mr. Milosevic to submit his appeal brief.  This is

21     to be submitted within 15 days of his receipt of the official translation

22     of the trial judgement.  You stated that although Mr. Milosevic's Defence

23     counsel should already be working on their submissions, and this is quite

24     valid because we are in fact already working on this, however I have to

25     raise a point concerning language.  We had to study the documents in

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 1     English, although we are both lawyers who used exclusively French in the

 2     course of the proceedings, and we are slightly handicapped by this.  But,

 3     of course, this is not an obstacle for us to do our work conscientiously

 4     every day.  We are doing our best to state our appeal in as few words as

 5     possible, and at present we don't need to ask for permission to submit a

 6     lengthier brief.

 7             However, the 15-day period approved by you seems to us to be too

 8     short.  The judgement is over 300 pages long.  In fact, it's 326 pages

 9     long.  It concerns a large number of incidents, each one of which

10     requires a separate and detailed analysis in order to draw attention to

11     all the points the Appeals Chamber should take into consideration.  We

12     therefore feel that this 15-day time period is very short.  The accused

13     needs at least 10 days to read and study the judgement for him to give us

14     any suggestions, and of course we must respect his suggestions and deal

15     with them in our appeal brief.

16             You know that the Prosecutor was very magnanimous and agreed with

17     40 days, which is in harmony with some other decisions issued by this

18     Chamber.  For example, in the Prosecutor versus Milan Mrksic,

19     IT-95-13/1-A, and Lemaj, IT-03-66-A.  Therefore, we feel it would be

20     highly justified for this 15-day period to be extended within the

21     framework applied in previous cases.

22             In view of the characteristics of the judgement, its

23     voluminousness, the number of incidents it encompasses, and in view of

24     the fact that the Prosecutor did not object, I believe that this is

25     something Your Honour should reconsider.

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 1             JUDGE POCAR:  Thank you.  May I ask the Prosecution for their

 2     reaction.

 3             MS. LEWIS:  Your Honour, as my learned friend from the Defence

 4     has pointed out, in the Prosecutor's request for the Defence's request

 5     for an extension, we did submit that we were of the opinion that between

 6     50 and 40 days would be a fair period of time for the appeals brief and

 7     between 7 and 15 days for the response brief, and we stand by that.  We

 8     have nothing to add.

 9             JUDGE POCAR:  Thank you.

10             Well, let me consider the decision in light of the practice of

11     the Appeals Chamber, which was derogated from in this case and in the

12     Mrksic case, as correctly the Defence is pointing out.  The practice of

13     this Appeal Chamber is not to grant all the time that has been granted in

14     this case.  The practice of the Appeal Chamber is to keep in this case

15     the briefing schedule as it is in the Rules, allowing when the

16     translation is made available to the party, that party to come with a

17     motion to add something if that is necessary.  So I believe the parties

18     have been given -- the Defence has been given already more time than it

19     is granted normally to a Defence in cases of this kind.

20             I know that the Mrksic case went in another direction, but this

21     is not the precedent I intended to follow.  Indeed, when I decided in

22     February, my option was either to follow the -- either to follow the

23     practice of the Appeals Chamber, and that would have been to leave

24     undisturbed the briefing schedule, allowing later in August, when the

25     judgement would become available in B/C/S, the Defence to add something

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 1     to the brief as already submitted in February or March or to decide to

 2     grant more time, as I have done, and delay the whole appeal -- the whole

 3     appeal brief to August.

 4             So in this situation, I am of the view that the Defence has

 5     already been given more time than is usually given to prepare its

 6     Defence, to prepare the brief, and so I'm not prepared to change my

 7     decision of 20th February.

 8             MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may.

 9             Your Honour, I respect your position in every way.  However, I do

10     need to ask myself one thing, as Mr. Milosevic's Defence counsel.  We are

11     to meet the requirements of justice in relation to Milosevic.  The

12     judgement runs into 326 pages.  What can he possibly be expected to do

13     over such a short time?  He's expected to read the judgement in its

14     entirety.  We're not spending all of our time in The Hague.  I'm spending

15     most of my time in Belgrade and my colleague in Paris.  He will take at

16     least 10 days to read the judgement in its entirety.  I assume it should

17     be necessary for us to have sufficient time to at least confer with him

18     so that we can hear him on any suggestions that he might have.  This way

19     will be impossible.  We have to start working on our appellate brief --

20     or rather his appellate brief on the very first day after he has received

21     the translation.

22             Once we make it to The Hague, once he's read it, I think 15 days

23     is too short a time for us to communicate effectively to know what his

24     suggestions might be.  If we spend several days talking over the phone,

25     it might take more than just several days.  We should sit down to it with

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 1     him, and all of this is despite our best efforts, efforts that we are

 2     making already.  This is a situation which makes it very difficult for us

 3     to approach our task in a conscientious manner.

 4             I move that this decision be subjected to another review so that

 5     we may perhaps be granted a little more time to sit down with our client

 6     and consider any suggestions that he might raise, having read the

 7     translation of the judgement in its entirety.  That is why I asked for

 8     your understanding, Your Honour, in terms of perhaps extending this

 9     deadline that the Prosecution, too, has agreed to.

10             Thank you.

11             JUDGE POCAR:  I thank you, but for the reasons that I have

12     already explained, I'm not prepared to change the briefing schedule as

13     set in the decision of 20 February 2008.  If, after the brief has been

14     submitted, for any reason the Defence believes it has to bring a motion

15     showing good cause from bringing additional elements, that motion will be

16     considered by the Appeal Chamber.

17             MS. LEWIS:  Thank you, Your Honour.

18             JUDGE POCAR:  This is my decision today.

19             Are there any other issues that the parties want to raise at this

20     point?

21             The Prosecution?

22             MS. LEWIS:  Your Honour, nothing for the Prosecution.

23             JUDGE POCAR:  I thank you.

24             Defence?

25             MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Not for the time being,

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 1     Your Honour.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE POCAR:  I thank you.

 3             Well, I believe this concludes our business today.  I thank the

 4     parties for their attendance, and I call the proceedings to a close.

 5             The status conference is adjourned.

 6                           --- Whereupon the status conference concluded at

 7                           10.27 a.m.