Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 72

1 Thursday, 26 June 2003

2 [Further Appearance]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 3.01 p.m.

6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the Registrar call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number

8 IT-02-65-PT, the Prosecutor versus Zeljko Meakic, Momcilo Gruban, Dusan

9 Fustar, Predrag Banovic, and Dusko Knezevic.

10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, the appearances, please?

11 MS. CHANA: May it please, Your Honours, Sureta Chana for the

12 Prosecution, assisted by case manager, David Leese.

13 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. My name

14 is Jovan Babic, a lawyer from Novi Sad, and I'm here representing the

15 accused, Predrag Banovic.

16 JUDGE MAY: Thank you very much. This is a hearing of a joint

17 motion concerning a plea agreement between Predrag Banovic and the

18 Prosecution. As a result, I will put the count 1 of the indictment again

19 to Predrag Banovic. Would you stand, please?

20 Predrag Banovic, you are charged in this count with persecutions

21 on political, racial or religious grounds, a crime against humanity,

22 punishable under Articles 5(h) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.

23 How do you plead to that count, guilty or not guilty?

24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation]

25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the accused, please. The

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1 interpreters cannot hear the accused.

2 JUDGE MAY: You will have to repeat that. Yes, the microphone is

3 on.

4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I plead guilty.

5 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Take a seat. The Trial Chamber had

6 notification in the motion and accompanying papers of this proposed plea.

7 We have read those papers. We have seen the declarations made by the

8 accused. We note that he has been advised throughout by counsel.

9 Accordingly, we find that the plea is voluntary, informed, and

10 unequivocal. We have considered, too, the factual basis on which it is

11 based and we are satisfied that it is a sufficient factual basis for the

12 crimes and the accused's participation in them.

13 Accordingly, a finding of guilt will be entered. We will direct

14 the Registry to sever the indictment against the other accuseds and

15 proceed against this accused alone.

16 Now, I understand, Ms. Chana, that the Prosecution will now

17 withdraw in the light of that plea, counts 2 to 5 against this accused.

18 MS. CHANA: Yes, Your Honour. The Prosecution so confirms.

19 JUDGE MAY: Thank you very much. It remains then to set a

20 timetable for the hearing of this plea. The timetable must deal first of

21 all with any Prosecution brief, the Prosecution brief, I should say, and

22 any statements of any witnesses who the Prosecution want to call. We had

23 in mind three weeks for that.

24 Ms. Chana, is that -- is there any objection to that?

25 MS. CHANA: None whatsoever. Very reasonable, Your Honours, thank

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1 you.

2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Babic, it will then be for you to respond. Again,

3 with the Defence brief together with any statements of any witnesses who

4 you intend to call. We had in mind a further three weeks after the

5 Prosecution brief for you to respond. Is there any objection to that?

6 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, because my intention is

7 primarily to use the statements on the basis of Rule 92 bis, and in order

8 to take these statements, I think that three weeks, considering where I

9 live and work and considering the territory where I have to go, I don't

10 think that will be sufficient for me.

11 JUDGE MAY: How long are you asking for?

12 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Well, I believe a realistic timetable

13 would be two months, a deadline of two months, please.

14 JUDGE MAY: We will consider that.

15 [Trial Chamber confers]

16 JUDGE MAY: Well, we think two months is rather long. What we

17 will give you is six weeks, six weeks after the Prosecution brief. So

18 looking at that --

19 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

20 JUDGE MAY: So looking at those dates, that will bring us -- two

21 months from now will bring us to the end of August. We would propose to

22 have a hearing during the first week in September. Ms. Chana, how long do

23 you anticipate you would require?

24 MS. CHANA: Your Honour, the Prosecution anticipates no longer

25 than an hour for the oral submissions. Thank you.

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1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Babic, can you give us an idea of how long you

2 might require?

3 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, because I will submit --

4 I will make written submissions, I believe that -- I also believe that my

5 oral submissions will not be longer than one to two hours.

6 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Thank you.

7 [Trial Chamber confers]

8 JUDGE MAY: Well, we have in mind, Wednesday, the 3rd of September

9 at 2.30 p.m. in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 3rd of September. We will

10 have the hearing then. If it's necessary to go over, we will have to keep

11 another afternoon clear.

12 Are there any other matters?

13 Mr. Babic, yes.

14 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in thinking about

15 further presentation of evidence regarding the character of the accused, I

16 have opted for most -- the presentation of evidence should be, that is,

17 the statements of persons who know Predrag Banovic well, but I would like

18 to use these statements on the basis of Rule 92 bis so that I wouldn't

19 call these witnesses to come here and testify so that we don't create

20 additional costs regarding this trial, but I have faced an issue, and I

21 would like to raise it here so that I would take your guidance as to what

22 to do next.

23 And this is the issue in question: So far in our practice, we

24 have certified those statements by the so-called Apostilles certification,

25 which is on the basis of The Hague convention, of the 5th of October,

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1 1961, and this certification means that such a certified document can be

2 used abroad. Now, my interpretation is that such a certification, which

3 is done by the competent court, such a statement can be used as evidence

4 bearing the circumstances that I've already mentioned before. Now, what I

5 want to ask you is whether I have understood Rule 92 bis in this regard

6 and whether I've interpreted this correctly and if so, then I will proceed

7 as explained.

8 JUDGE MAY: Well, the position is this: That we are not dealing

9 with a contested matter and speaking for myself, provided the document is

10 certified in some way, I would have thought it sufficient for our purposes

11 in the circumstances. Unless there is any contrary view, let me just

12 consider it for a moment.

13 [Trial Chamber confers]

14 JUDGE MAY: If there is any difficulty about the statements when

15 we receive them, we will notify you but speaking for myself, I cannot see

16 a difficulty provided they are properly certified as being the statement

17 of the person making them for these purposes.

18 JUDGE KWON: And I don't think there is any objection from the

19 Prosecution.

20 MR. BABIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.

21 MS. CHANA: Not an official objection as such, Your Honours, but

22 the Prosecution will reserve its right after it's seen these statements

23 for cross-examination, as is the case with 92 bis statements. If I do not

24 envisage that will be a possibility, but nevertheless I would like to

25 reserve it after we've seen them.

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1 JUDGE MAY: You can of course but it is a plea, so it's a

2 different position to a contested case.

3 Very well, we will adjourn now and sit when indicated.

4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.15 p.m.,

5 to be resumed on Wednesday, September 3, 2003, at

6 2.30 p.m.