Case No. IT-03-68-T

IN TRIAL CHAMBER II

Before:
Judge Carmel Agius, Presiding
Judge Hans Henrik Brydensholt
Judge Albin Eser

Registrar:
Mr. Hans Holthuis

Decision of:
2 November 2004

PROSECUTOR

v.

NASER ORIC

___________________________________

DECISION ON PROSECUTION MOTION FOR THE TESTIMONY OF WITNESSES VIA VIDEO-CONFERENCE LINK

___________________________________

The Office of the Prosecutor:

Mr. Jan Wubben

Counsel for the Accused:

Ms. Vasvija Vidovic
Mr. John Jones

 

TRIAL CHAMBER II ("Trial 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 ("Tribunal"):

BEING SEISED OF the Prosecution Motion for the Testimony of Witnesses via Video-Conference Link ("Motion"), filed partly confidential on 26 October 2004, requesting that witnesses Radenko Zivanovic and Svetlana Trifunovic be permitted to give their testimony by means of video-conference link pursuant to Rule 71bis of the Tribunalís Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("Rules"), between the Tribunalís field office in Belgrade and the Tribunal in The Hague;

NOTING that in its Motion the Prosecution states that Radenko Zivanovic can not travel to The Hague due to a diagnosed phobia of airplane travel,1 while Svetlana Trifunovic is unable to travel to The Hague, due to her obligations as a nursing mother with two young children;2

NOTING that on 29 October 2004 the Defence suggested that, in the event that the Motion will be grated, the evidence of Radenko Zivanovic and Svetlana Trifunovic may be heard on 25 and 26 November 2004 respectively;3

NOTING the Defence Response to Prosecution Motion for the Testimony of Witnesses via Video-Conference Link and Defence Ex Parte Annex A ("Response"), filed partly confidential and ex parte in part on 29 October 2004, opposing the Motion with respect to both witnesses on the grounds that it is not in the interests of justice that the testimony of these witnesses be received via video-conference link and that the conditions for applying Rule 71bis have not been met;

NOTING that the Defence opposes the Motion with respect to Radenko Zivanovic in particular on the grounds that: (a) when first listed to be a live witness, Radenko Zivanovic did not suggest that he has any condition which would create an obstacle to him travelling to The Hague; (b) the document attached to the Motion is a referral to a psychiatrist and not a definitive diagnosis or a medical report; and (c) the Prosecution has offered no reason why Radenko Zivanovic cannot travel to The Hague by land;

NOTING that the Defence opposes the Motion with respect to Svetlana Trifunovic in particular on the grounds that her family obligations prevent her from coming to The Hague to testify as the Tribunalís Victims and Witnesses Section ("VWS") is perfectly capable of accommodating nursing mothers;

CONSIDERING that it is of no relevance that, when first listed to be a live witness, Radenko Zivanovic did not suggest that he has any condition which would create an obstacle to him travelling to The Hague;

CONSIDERING that Radenko Zivanovicís condition does not allow him to travel long distances, neither by air or land;4

CONSIDERING that Svetlana Trifunovicís very particular family obligations prevent her from travelling to The Hague;

FINDING that it is in the interests of justice that the evidence of Radenko Zivanovic and Svetlana Trifunovic be received via video-conference link;

CONSIDERING that guidelines for the giving of evidence by video-conference link have been laid down in the "Decision on the Defence Motions to Summon and Protect Witnesses, and on the Giving of Evidence by Video-Link" issued by Trial Chamber II in Prosecutor v Dusko Tadic, Case IT-94-1, 25 June 1996 ("Tadic Decision");

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS

PURSUANT TO Rule 71bis of the Rules;

HEREBY ORDERS that the testimonies of Radenko Zivanovic and Svetlana Trifunovic be conducted by video-conference link between the Tribunalís field office in Belgrade and the courtroom in The Hague on 25 November 2004 and 26 November 2004 respectively;

DIRECTS the Registrar to take all reasonable steps in the circumstances of the present case to ensure that the guidelines established in the Tadic Decision are followed.

 

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

Dated this 2nd day of November 2004,
At The Hague
The Netherlands

____________________________
Carmel Agius
Presiding Judge

[Seal of the Tribunal]


1. A medical report verifying Radenko Zivanovicís neurotic disorder is attached to the Motion as Confidential Annex A, in both its original BCS and English translation versions.
2. An affidavit from an OTP Investigator is attached to the Motion as Confidential Annex B, detailing the circumstances which prevent Svetlana Trifunovic from traveling to The Hague to give testimony.
3. T. 1522.
4. Prosecutor v. Milomir Stakic, IT-97-24-T, Decision on the Defendant, Milomir Stakicís Motion for Testimony by Video Converence Link per Rule 71bis, 6 February 2003: In this decision the Trial Chamber accepted a similar condition of a witness as a cause for granting a motion pursuant to Rule 71bis.