Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 1

1 Monday, 25 June 2001

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The appellants entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 10.09 a.m.

6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Will the registrar please call the roll.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-96-23 & 23/1-A, the Prosecutor

8 versus Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac, and Zoran Vukovic.

9 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I take it everyone can hear me; is that

10 correct? Yes. Then may we have the appearances for the appellants.

11 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. My

12 name is Slavisa Prodanovic, attorney. Next to me is my colleague, Dejan

13 Savatic, attorney from Brussels, and we represent the Defence of the

14 accused Dragoljub Kunarac.

15 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. I am

16 Momir Kolesar, representing the accused Radomir Kovac. My co-counsel is

17 Mr. Vladimir Rajic, who is excused today.


19 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. I'm

20 Goran Jovanovic, attorney from Zemun, representing Mr. Zoran Vukovic.


22 For the Prosecution.

23 MR. YAPA: May it please Your Honour. I'm Upawansa Yapa,

24 appearing for the Prosecution. I owe an apology to Your Honour's court.

25 I was late in coming to Your Honour's court. It was due to personal

Page 2

1 reasons. I tender my apology.

2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I believe, Mr. Yapa, there was some

3 misunderstanding as to which courtroom was being used for this occasion,

4 and so I could well understand the difficulties --

5 MR. YAPA: I thank Your Honour.

6 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: -- which you might have had.

7 Now, this is a -- perhaps before I do that, I might lean over to

8 the registrar's representative to ask whether she was wanting to indicate

9 something.

10 THE REGISTRAR: No, Your Honour.

11 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thought I detected a trace of anxiety on

12 your countenance.

13 This is a Status Conference held pursuant to Rule 65 bis (B) of

14 the Rules, which it would be proper for me to read out, even though I

15 assume that we are all fully aware of its terms. "The Appeals Chamber or

16 an Appeals Chamber Judge shall convene a status conference within one

17 hundred twenty days of the filing of a notice of appeal, and thereafter

18 within one hundred twenty days after the last status conference, to allow

19 any person in custody pending appeal the opportunity to raise issues in

20 relation thereto, including the mental and physical condition of that

21 person."

22 So that sets the parameters of our meeting today, and I think we

23 would all appreciate the value and good sense of the Rule as affording an

24 opportunity to an appellant to make contact with the Court and not allow

25 him to languish perennially in custody without seeing his judges.

Page 3

1 So the purpose of the Rule is to allow the appellant, in this case

2 appellants, an opportunity to raise any issues before the Court concerning

3 the appeal and also to raise any issues concerning their conditions of

4 detention. And at the same time, it allows the Court an opportunity to

5 say its piece to the appellants as to the status of the current

6 proceedings.

7 I think, perhaps, I may be permitted to speak to that effect

8 straightaway. As I read the papers, judgement in this case was entered on

9 22nd of February this year. An appeal by Mr. Vukovic and Mr. Kovac was

10 filed on 6th of March this year, and an appeal by Mr. Kunarac was filed on

11 7th of March this year.

12 Now, the judgement was not in B/C/S, and so understandably an

13 extension was granted on 25th of May this year, the effect of which was to

14 allow the appellants 30 days after the B/C/S translation of the judgement

15 would have been filed for the purpose of filing their appellant briefs.

16 The B/C/S version was later filed on 14th of June this year, and I believe

17 that the appeal briefs will have to be filed by the 16th of July, next

18 month. Technically, I think the period of time would have elapsed on the

19 14th of July, but that is, of course, a Saturday, and so under the Rules

20 there will be an allowance of time ending on the following Monday.

21 Then the respondent's brief will have to be filed by the 15th of

22 August. This is my calculation. If I'm wrong, the bar will correct me.

23 And the Prosecution -- the reply from the appellants will then have to be

24 filed by the 30th of August.

25 So the current disposition of matters is that we are in the

Page 4

1 process of pleading in written form, and so it would be premature to

2 forecast exactly when the oral proceedings will take place, but I think

3 that in a general way, I may say that the Tribunal tries to move the pace,

4 and so we can expect that the oral hearings will be held within a

5 reasonable time after the conclusion of the written proceedings which are

6 due to end, I think, on the 30th of August.

7 Now, then, I turn the matter over to counsel for the appellants.

8 It will be for you to say whether you would wish to speak alone or in

9 conjunction with the appellants personally.

10 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to tell

11 you that we have received a copy of the B/C/S translation of the judgement

12 on 14 June, both my co-counsel Savatic and Mr. Kunarac, and we will fulfil

13 the obligations set out as concerns the deadline. However, as far as

14 point (C)1 of the 19 January regarding the length of submissions, and

15 given -- taking into account the size, that is, the scope and the

16 complexity of legal issues involved, the Defence for Dragoljub Kunarac and

17 Radomir Kovac will file a joint request to increase the number of pages

18 for the appeals brief.

19 The judgement rendered to Dragoljub Kunarac and to Radomir Kovac

20 by the decision of 22 February 2001 contains a very comprehensive

21 reasoning regarding both the general allegations and factual base of the

22 case and the legal issues involved. The judgement contains a detailed

23 analysis of the witness testimony which compels the Defence to produce its

24 own analysis.

25 In addition, the judgement, which is 283 pages long, contains an

Page 5

1 analysis of the legal issues, and because we need to respond to all the

2 points made by the Trial Chamber, the Defence of Dragoljub Kunarac and

3 Radomir Kovac believe that it is impossible to do this within the 100

4 pages, and we ask that this be extended to either 160 pages or 40.000

5 words maximum. We believe that it is in the interests of justice that the

6 accused be allowed to submit and expand the appellants' brief, because

7 otherwise the fairness of the trial may be jeopardised. What we are

8 asking is not an extension of the deadline. We will submit this brief by

9 16 of July, regardless of whether we are allowed to have an extended

10 version or not.

11 The next thing I would like to point out was that my client wanted

12 to be actively involved in various aspects of writing of the brief, and

13 with that in mind we have requested from the Registry to provide us some

14 video highlights of the Tribunal, that is, some of the key witnesses'

15 evidence. However, we have not found an understanding. We were told that

16 the technical capabilities do not allow for this. Before the Status

17 Conference, we tried to talk to a member of the Registry. We were unable

18 to reach this particular staff member, and we will continue to endeavour

19 to find him in order to address this issue. And this is all I have.

20 Thank you.

21 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Mr. Prodanovic. Would you kindly

22 help me with an explanation of your reference to (C)1. What was that

23 intended to convey? I think you mentioned point (C)1.

24 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, these are provisions

25 that guide the length of submissions which were set out in 19 January of

Page 6












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and

13 English transcripts.













Page 7

1 this year.

2 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I've got it now. You are referring to

3 paragraph 1(A) of the practice direction on the length of briefs, which --

4 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] That is correct, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: -- limits you to 100 pages. I understand.

6 Now, should I understand you to be saying that you will, in due

7 course, file a motion for extension of the permitted length of the brief?

8 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] That is correct, Your Honour. We

9 will attempt -- I believe that we will, within the deadlines given us, and

10 provided that we are allowed this extension, that we will still be able to

11 comply with the deadline of the 16th of July.

12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: So you are not now making such a motion; you

13 will make such a motion in due course?

14 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, no. We now file

15 such a motion, but we will also submit it in a written form following the

16 Status Conference.

17 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you. Then is it convenient that I

18 should turn to your colleagues, if you are through?

19 MR. PRODANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I have

20 finished. That is all I had.


22 MR. KOLESAR: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of Radomir

23 Kovac also received the translated copy, that is, a B/C/S version of the

24 judgement. I fully understand the deadlines as set out by you, and we

25 will definitely comply with these deadlines. In other words, our

Page 8

1 appellant brief will be filed no later than 16 July, as you ordered, and

2 there will be no problem in that. The problem is the one that my learned

3 colleague Prodanovic pointed out.

4 In the case of Radomir Kovac, in order to ensure a fair trial in

5 accordance with Article 20 of the Statute, we believe that the brief

6 cannot be limited to 100 pages, as the practice direction of 19 January

7 calls for. In addition to what my learned friend said, I can just point

8 out that during the first instance proceeding, we had a number of

9 witnesses, a number of experts. A lot of evidence has been tendered, was

10 tendered, and we have a judgement which is the first in the history of

11 international law, with a number of factual and legal issues that the

12 appellant needs to address in his brief, and I therefore support the

13 motion of my learned friend to extend this brief from 100 to 160 pages, or

14 40.000 words. This is an oral application now, but we are preparing a

15 written motion too, and if you direct us to submit it, we will file it

16 today.

17 Thank you. That is all. And my client has nothing to say in

18 person, to add to this.

19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: I thank you, Mr. Kolesar.

20 Would your colleague like to take the floor?

21 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence of

22 Mr. Zoran Vukovic also received the B/C/S translation of the judgement,

23 and we also will comply with the deadlines regarding the filing of an

24 appeal. I support my learned colleagues' motion to extend the length of

25 the appellant briefs; however, Mr. Zoran Vukovic does not have a need to,

Page 9

1 in his own brief, to present their case in more than 100 pages.

2 I only have one thing to point out: The Defence of Zoran Vukovic

3 intends to suggest, and we will, we will submit this in detail in our

4 brief, we -- I just want to foreshadow this. We have -- we intend to

5 present one more piece of evidence and that is going to be a birth

6 certificate, and it is a birth certificate of Mr. Vukovic's daughter. So

7 I just want to inform both the Trial Chamber and the -- my learned

8 colleagues from the OTP that we intend to enter this piece of evidence,

9 and I will give the details in my brief.

10 Your Honour, this is all that the Defence of Mr. Zoran Vukovic has

11 for the Court at the moment. Thank you.

12 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Mr. Jovanovic. I understand you

13 to be saying that you support your colleagues as regard their intention to

14 file a motion for extension of the page limits, but that so far as your

15 client is concerned, you do not feel any need to go beyond the existing

16 limit of 100 pages; and lastly, that you would be seeking to introduce

17 some additional evidence. Is that right?

18 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] That is absolutely so, Your

19 Honour.

20 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: May I say to you that I take it that you

21 would attend to the Rules which relate to the question of producing

22 additional evidence to the court, and you would wish to conform to the

23 relevant procedures?

24 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour.

25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Then am I clear in my mind that counsel for

Page 10

1 the appellants have had their say so far as the purposes of this Status

2 Conference are concerned? Is there anything else that you wish to say in

3 addition to what you have said?

4 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Jovanovic speaks for all of you on that

6 point.

7 Then I turn to the Prosecution.

8 MR. YAPA: Thank you, Your Honour. At this stage in the Status

9 Conference, so far as the Status Conference is concerned, I do not have

10 anything to say, but in respect of the application I believe what was done was to

11 give notice of an intention to file a motion, so we will make our response

12 at the stage when the motion is filed. It is provided for in the

13 Rules, and in the practice direction.


15 MR. YAPA: And as regards the additional evidence that my learned

16 friend referred to, there is a certain procedure to be followed, and I

17 hope that procedure will be followed, and we will respond at that time.

18 Thank you very much.

19 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Yes. I think that Mr. Yapa was referring to

20 paragraph 7 of the practice direction on the length of briefs and motions

21 which reads thus: "A party must seek authorisation in advance from the

22 Chamber to exceed the page limits in this practice direction and must

23 provide an explanation of the exceptional circumstances that necessitate

24 the oversize filing."

25 I take it that we're all familiar with that Rule and with its

Page 11

1 proper import.

2 So if I understand our position correctly, that ends these

3 proceedings. Therefore, I would now adjourn the case until such further

4 time as other events will take place. Thank you very much.

5 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at

6 10.34 a.m.