Case No.: IT-98-34-T

BEFORE THE TRIAL CHAMBER

Before:
Judge Liu Daqun, Presiding
Judge Maureen Harding Clark
Judge Fatoumata Diarra

Registrar:
Mr. Hans Holthuis

Order of:
14 November 2001

PROSECUTOR

v.

MLADEN NALETILIC aka "TUTA"
and
VINKO MARTINOVIC aka "STELA"

___________________________________________________________

DECISION ON THE ADMISSION OF WITNESS STATEMENTS INTO EVIDENCE

___________________________________________________________

The Office of the Prosecutor:

Mr. Kenneth Scott

Counsel for the Accused:

Mr. Kresimir Krsnik, for Mladen Naletilic
Mr. Branko Seric, for Vinko Martinovic

 

TRIAL CHAMBER I, SECTION A ("the Chamber") of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 ("the Tribunal"):

BEING SEIZED OF a number of witness interview statements for admission into evidence that were tendered by Counsel for Mladen Naletilic and Counsel for Vinko Martinovic during the deposition proceedings pursuant to Rule 71 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("the Rules");

BEING SEIZED OF further witness interview statements for admission into evidence that Counsel for Mladen Naletilic and Counsel for Vinko Martinovic tendered during the proceedings before the Chamber;

NOTING "The Prosecutorís Submission Concerning Exhibits Tendered During Depositions", filed 16 August 2001, whereby the Prosecution argued that witness interview statements do not represent evidence under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal an and, therefore, opposed to their admission into evidence;

NOTING the "Response of the Defence of Mladen Naletilic to the Prosecutorís Submission Concerning Exhibits Tendered during Depositions", filed 17 August 2001, arguing that the admission into evidence of witness interview statements is appropriate since they serve the function of verifying the credibility of witness testimony given in court;

NOTING that by "Declaration to the Prosecutorís Submission Concerning Exhibits Tendered During Depositions" and by referring to a letter of Counsel to the Prosecution, Counsel for Vinko Martinovic on 4 September 2001 also requested that witness interview statements should be accepted as evidence;

CONSIDERING that witness evidence under the Rules is the live testimony of a witness in court or, alternatively, witness testimonies or statements under specific Rules such as Rules 71, 89 (F), and 92 bis;

CONSIDERING that a Trial Chamber of the Tribunal does not possess any knowledge as to the conditions, circumstances and context in which a witness interview statement has been obtained, and whether or not such statements were taken by legal experts of national or international authorities according to internationally recognised procedural standards;

CONSIDERING that, therefore, the Chamber will not attach the same per se probative value to such witness interview statements established without any judicial control as it does with regard to testimony received live in court and under the supervision of the Chamber;

CONSIDERING that, in accordance with the Chamberís "Order Re-stating the Principles on the Presentation of Documents and Other Evidence Items", dated 25 October 2001, parties are, however, allowed to refer to witness interview statements to attempt to impeach a witness by challenging the consistency and reliability of the witnessí testimony;

CONSIDERING FURTHER that the witnessí live testimony in reaction to being challenged by confrontation with these interview statements will represent the "evidence" and that the witness interview statements only serve the purpose to aid in the challenge of specific parts of live testimony and do not by themselves represent such "evidence";

CONSIDERING that the challenged part of the witnessí testimony is clearly reflected in the trial transcript and that it will be taken into account by the Chamber when making their findings;

CONSIDERING therefore, that it is sufficient to mark relevant witness interview statements for further reference in the transcript with an Identification Number ("ID number");

CONSIDERING FURTHER, that witness interview statements are only admitted into evidence if the Chamber is satisfied that they may have additional probative value pursuant to Rule 89 (C) in relation to a witnessí live testimony;

 

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS DECIDES

  1. Witness interview statements not covered by Rules 71 or 92 bis, notwithstanding if they were established by the Prosecutorís office of the Tribunal or a local authority in the former Yugoslavia, shall not be admitted into evidence unless, in extraordinary cases, the Chamber rules otherwise.
  2. Witness interview statements referred to by a party during a witness testimony will be given an ID number for documentary purposes.
  3. The oral motions of Counsel for Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic with regard to the admission into evidence of defence exhibits D1/1, D1/1a, D1/2, D1/2a, D1/3, D1/3a, D1/4, D1/4a, D1/5, D1/5a, D1/6, D1/6a, D1/7, D1/7a, D1/8, D1/8a, D1/9, D1/10, D1/10a, D1/12, D1/12a, D1/18, D1/31, D1/34, D2/1, D2/1a, D2/4, D2/4a, D2/14 are rejected.
  4. The defence exhibits D1/23.1, D1/23.2, D1/23.3, D1/23.4 and D1/23.5 are admitted into evidence.
  5. The Registry is requested to give the Defence exhibits that are listed in paragraph 3 above ID numbers and exhibits that are listed in paragraph 4 above exhibit numbers in consultation with the Chamber.

 

Done in English and French, the English version being authoritative.

Dated this fourteenth day of November 2001,
At The Hague,
The Netherlands

__________________
Judge Liu Daqun
Presiding Judge

[Seal of the Tribunal]