Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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 1                           Tuesday, 8 October 2013

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [Status Conference]

 4                           [The appellants entered court]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 10.00 a.m.

 6             JUDGE MERON:  Please be seated.

 7             Registrar, would you please call the case.

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

 9     IT-04-74-A, the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al.

10             JUDGE MERON:  I would like to begin by ensuring that the audio

11     equipment is working properly.  Can the appellants hear the proceedings

12     in a language they understand.  Beginning with Mr. Prlic.  Mr. Prlic?

13             THE APPELLANT PRLIC:  Yes, I am.

14             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you.  Mr. Stojic?

15             THE APPELLANT STOJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours.

16     Everything is all right.  Thank you.

17             JUDGE MERON:  Mr. Praljak?

18             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Everything's fine,

19     Your Honour.

20             JUDGE MERON:  Mr. Petkovic?

21             THE APPELLANT PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, everything

22     fine here.

23             JUDGE MERON:  Mr. Pusic.

24             THE APPELLANT PUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, everything

25     fine here.

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 1             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you.  Counsel for the Prosecution.

 2             MR. STRINGER:  Good morning, Mr. President.  May I -- I should

 3     point out that I think that Your Honour overlooked one of the accused,

 4     Mr. Coric.

 5             JUDGE MERON:  I'm terribly sorry.  That's completely inexcusable

 6     and I beg your pardon.

 7             MR. STRINGER:  It was Mr. Coric, Mr. President, seated next to

 8     Mr. Pusic.

 9             JUDGE MERON:  Mr. Coric.  I'm sorry.  I misread --

10             THE APPELLANT CORIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, everything is

11     fine.

12             JUDGE MERON:  I'm really sorry.

13             Next I would like the appearances by the Prosecution, so we are

14     coming back to you.

15             MR. STRINGER:  Yes, good morning, Mr. President.  For the

16     Prosecution, Douglas Stringer, Katharine Marsden, and our case manager,

17     Mr. Colin Nawrot.

18             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you, Mr. Stringer.  For the Defence now.

19             For Mr. Prlic.

20             MS. TOMANOVIC:  Good morning, Mr. President.  Suzana Tomanovic,

21     co-counsel for Dr. Jadranko Prlic.

22             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you, Ms. Tomanovic.

23             For Mr. Stojic, please.

24             MS. NOZICA: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.

25     Senka Nozica, counsel for Mr. Stojic, and Michelle Gonsalves and

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 1     Brooke Stedman, Mr. Stojic's legal assistants.

 2             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you, Ms. Nozica.

 3             For Mr. Praljak.  Mr. Praljak is representing himself.

 4             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the

 5     Registrar, after your judgement by which you confirmed his allegations

 6     about my financial status, removed my two counsel, Ms. Nika Pinter and

 7     Ms. Natacha Fauveau-Ivanovic, from my case which is why I'm representing

 8     myself.  Obviously, it is the Registrar's right to stop paying my counsel

 9     after your decision.  However, I don't think that it is his right to

10     remove them from my case because it has to do with the confidential

11     relationship between myself and them.  So they could have given in their

12     notice to me or I could have removed them myself.

13             Obviously they expressed their wish to deal with the procedural

14     issues, and to make sure that I make the right decision on representing

15     myself and that involves all the technical problems.  They expressed

16     their wish that I submitted to the Registrar in writing to defend me or,

17     rather, to represent me pro bono for a certain while until we are able to

18     deal with the technical problems.  However, for the purposes of this

19     particular session, I'm going to represent myself.  Thank you very much,

20     Your Honour.

21             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you, Mr. Praljak.

22             For Mr. Petkovic?

23             MS. ALABURIC:  Good morning, Your Honour.  I'm Vesna Alaburic,

24     and with my colleague Guenael Mettraux, we are counsel for Mr. Petkovic.

25             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you very much, Ms. Alaburic.

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 1             For Mr. Coric?

 2             MS. TOMASEGOVIC-TOMIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,

 3     Your Honour.  Representing Mr. Coric, Ms. Tomasegovic-Tomic, co-counsel

 4     Drazen Plavec, and legal counsel, Mr. Stephane Bourgon.  Thank you.

 5             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you very much, Ms. Tomasegovic-Tomic.

 6             For Mr. Pusic?

 7             MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.

 8     Representing Mr. Pusic, counsel Ibrisimovic from Sarajevo and

 9     Mr. Mulalic.

10             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you, Mr. Ibrisimovic.

11             As you are aware, Rule 65 bis (B) of the Rules of Procedure and

12     Evidence requires a status conference to be convened within 120 days

13     after the filing of a Notice of Appeal, and thereafter, within 120 days

14     after the last status conference for each appellant in the Tribunal's

15     custody.

16             A status conference serves two primary purposes.  First, it

17     allows the appellants an opportunity to express concerns relating to

18     their appeal or detention conditions and for the Tribunal to inquire

19     about the mental and physical condition of the detained persons.

20             Second, it provides an opportunity to update the appellants with

21     respect to the status of their case.

22             In the present case, Notices of Appeal of Mr. Praljak and

23     Mr. Pusic, were filed on 28 June 2013.  Thus the status conference is

24     taking place before the expiration of the 120-day period specified in

25     Rule 65 bis (B).  Today's status conference was scheduled by an order

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 1     issued on 13 September 2013.

 2             I turn to the situation and health of the appellants, and I would

 3     like to begin by inquiring into the status conference -- of the detention

 4     conditions and health situation of the appellants.  If you wish, if any

 5     one of the appellants wishes, I would close the session and have this in

 6     closed session.

 7             Anyone who would want me to close the session?  I see no such

 8     request.  Therefore I will proceed with an open session.

 9             So let me now go by -- one by one and ask whether there are any

10     problems.

11             Mr. Prlic.

12             THE APPELLANT PRLIC:  Yes, Mr. President, I am fine so far.

13             JUDGE MERON:  I'm glad to hear that.

14             Mr. Praljak?  Yes, please.

15             THE APPELLANT STOJIC: [Interpretation] Everything is fine,

16     Your Honour.  I have no problems at all.

17             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you very much.  I'm terribly sorry.  Let

18     me -- let me go back to Mr. Stojic --

19             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] That was Mr. Stojic.

20             JUDGE MERON:  Let me go back to Mr. Stojic.  I'm terribly sorry.

21     Mr. Stojic, everything is fine, I take it, as you said.

22             THE APPELLANT STOJIC: [Interpretation] Everything fine,

23     Your Honour.  Thank you for asking.

24             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you very much.  Now we are coming to

25     Mr. Praljak.

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 1             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] I have no objections,

 2     Your Honour.

 3             JUDGE MERON:  I take it you have no problems, and I'm glad to

 4     hear that.

 5             Mr. Petkovic?

 6             THE APPELLANT PETKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, everything

 7     is fine, no problem at all.

 8             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you very much.

 9             Mr. Coric?

10             THE APPELLANT CORIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't have

11     any objections to the accommodation in the Detention Unit.  However,

12     I would like to provide certain information about my health.  As of

13     recently, I have been on the -- monitoring for heart problems.  I had an

14     infection of lymph nodes and some other minor problems, but that would be

15     all from me for the time being.

16             JUDGE MERON:  I hope you are satisfied with the treatment you are

17     getting?

18             THE APPELLANT CORIC: [Interpretation] The health care in

19     Detention Unit takes place in two parts.  One part is in the Detention

20     Unit itself and the other in the hospital.  I must say that there is a

21     difference between the two, and I have some minor objections to the first

22     stage of the treatment which takes place in the Detention Unit.  However,

23     there is nothing major to report and I'm sure that we will be able to

24     find a solution to those minor problems.

25             JUDGE MERON:  I'm very glad to hear that.

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 1             Mr. Pusic?

 2             THE APPELLANT PUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't have

 3     any problem with the Detention Unit.  I've been having problems with my

 4     health.  We all have problems with the diet in the Detention Unit.  We

 5     have been eating the same uniform food for years now, so we are forced to

 6     buy food for our own money.  We are not here of our own will and the food

 7     that we are offered is really below any standards.

 8             JUDGE MERON:  Counsel for Mr. Pusic, did I understand you

 9     wanted --

10             MR. IBRISIMOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

11     I thought that Mr. Pusic would be telling you about his health condition.

12     You know that we submitted an ex parte confidential submission on

13     provisional release.  However, since he did not raise that issue, there

14     is no need for us to go into closed session and deal with that.

15             JUDGE MERON:  Registrar, Claudia, could you kindly report to the

16     Registrar about the comments I heard about the quality of the food, and

17     I would be grateful if the Registrar would look into that.

18             So let me turn now to recent procedural history of the case, an

19     update of the case.  On 21 June 2013, upon the request of the parties,

20     I ordered that the Notices of Appeal of Mr. Prlic, Mr. Stojic,

21     Mr. Petkovic, and Mr. Coric be filed within 60 days of the issuance of

22     the English translation of the trial judgement and that, without

23     prejudice, the Notices of Appeal of the remaining parties may be filed

24     within 90 days of the issuance of the trial judgement.  The Notices of

25     Appeal of Mr. Praljak and Mr. Pusic were filed on 28 June 2013.  The

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 1     Notice of Appeal of the Prosecution was filed on 27 August 2013.

 2             On 22 August 2013, I granted, in part, requests by Mr. Praljak

 3     and ancillary request by the Prosecution, for an extension of time for

 4     the filing of their appeal briefs and for leave to exceed word limits.

 5     I also granted the request by Mr. Pusic for an extension of time to file

 6     his appeal brief.

 7             I ordered Mr. Praljak, Mr. Pusic, and the Prosecution to file

 8     their appeal briefs no later than 135 days from the issuance of the

 9     official English translation of the trial judgement.  As a result, there

10     is a harmonised briefing schedule in place for all parties.

11             By the same decision, I allowed Mr. Praljak to file an appeal

12     brief totalling no more than 45.000 words, and the Prosecution to file a

13     response thereto within the same word limit.

14             I note that I received a complete set of filings pertaining to

15     the motions filed by the Prosecution and Mr. Pusic concerning the

16     latter's Notice of Appeal filed on 15 and 26 July 2013 respectively.  A

17     decision on these issues will be delivered in due course.

18             On 3 October 2013, Mr. Praljak filed a public urgent motion with

19     confidential annexes requesting a stay of proceedings until he receives

20     the translation of various documents into a language he understands,

21     which is B/C/S.

22             The Appeals Chamber has not yet received a response from the

23     Prosecution to this request, as of this morning.  On 4 October 2013,

24     Mr. Praljak filed a public motion with public and confidential annexes

25     requesting the assignment of his formerly Tribunal-paid counsel under the

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 1     Tribunal's legal aid provisions which apply to level 3 cases.  No

 2     response from the Prosecution has been filed yet.

 3             The Appeals Chamber will deal with Praljak's request of 3 and

 4     4 October as soon as it has received responses in these matters.

 5             At this point, I would like to ask the parties whether they have

 6     any other issues that they would like to raise at this time.

 7             Mr. Praljak?

 8             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Meron,

 9     on the 29th of August, 2013, I sent you a letter in which I asked from

10     you, Your Honour, Judge Meron, and from Mr. Meron, I asked to reconsider

11     the decision on my financial status.  We are dealing with two things

12     here.  First of all, I've not received a reply yet, and that problem has

13     been dragging on since 2005, i.e. for the full eight years.  Throughout

14     the eight years --

15             JUDGE MERON:  Can I ask you just to kindly stop for one second?

16     Let me tell you -- was it yesterday or this morning?  Yesterday we filed

17     an answer to you.  It's already in the -- it has been formally filed.  As

18     regards the timing of this reply, you will have to read it and you will

19     see whether you still have problems after that.  But it's all done.  On

20     the 7th of October, there is a decision called "Decision on

21     Slobodan Praljak's request for further review."

22             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] In that case, if you have

23     reached a decision, there is nothing further I can say before I read it.

24     I would like to say that during the eight-year period, nobody has ever

25     spoken to me.  I don't know whether you're fully informed or not.  None

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 1     of my answers, none of the facts that I provided, have been either

 2     translated or have reached you, Your Honour, Judge Meron.  I have

 3     provided a number of responses and there is one that I wrote on 103

 4     pages, and I publicly claim here in public session that the Registry is

 5     running a complot against me, something that is not legally founded which

 6     is not part of any civilisation behaviour.  This is a witchcraft that

 7     started a long time ago.  Nobody ever checked anything.  Nobody ever

 8     talked to me.  There is no control mechanism that would allow anybody to

 9     investigate things.  All the documents and facts are proclaimed either

10     confidential or ex parte.  I wanted that to be removed.  However, even if

11     this is not removed, I'm sure that in defending my dignity and in

12     defending the truth, I'm going to publicise all that urbi et orbi.

13             And now, Your Honour, Judge Meron, I would like to ask you just

14     one more thing.  Despite the fact that you sent me an answer, the letter

15     that I sent you was translated into English almost well enough but not

16     perfectly well, because there are some stylistic characteristics that

17     have not been taken into account.  I would kindly ask your staff to make

18     a photocopy of a better translation for this to be provided to you, with

19     your permission, of course, because this document is a better translation

20     of the letter that I sent to you with my request in it, and the request

21     was for the other side in the proceedings, and the other side is

22     Slobodan Praljak in this case, to be heard, and to be able to present his

23     own facts, his own claims, and to be able to show documents to bear

24     witness to the facts that he is presenting.  Thank you very much.

25             Further on, there is one more thing that I would like to raise.

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 1             JUDGE MERON:  Let me just ask the Registry to have a look at the

 2     accuracy of the translation, if there is something inaccurate, to advise

 3     me accordingly.  Yes.  Yes, and you can take into account the letter.

 4     Please go ahead.

 5             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] In a letter that was sent

 6     before the first instance decision was read, I requested from the

 7     Trial Chamber Judges, and from His Honour Judge Antonetti, to finally

 8     define the term of freedom or liberty when one is provisionally released

 9     for humanitarian reasons, and then he sent me a confidential reply in

10     which he provided his opinion on that.  And since that was done ex parte,

11     only I and my counsel can actually read it and use it.  However, since

12     the position of His Honour Judge Antonetti on what is the definition of

13     provisional release, as opposed to detention, and that differs from the

14     customary positions of this Tribunal that had been voiced until then, and

15     since this applies to all --

16             JUDGE MERON:  I am having some difficulty in discussing the

17     propriety of correspondence between you and Judge Antonetti.  That stage

18     is gone, and especially if those things were ex parte, I would suggest

19     that -- sorry?

20             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK:  No.

21             JUDGE MERON:  Sorry.  I think that would be better not for you to

22     proceed and you will see that in the decision which I issued yesterday on

23     the 7th of October, there is something relevant to it.  So why don't you

24     just wait and read it.

25             THE APPELLANT PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Well, in that case, I

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 1     will wait before I can offer any further comments.  Thank you very much.

 2             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you very much, Mr. Praljak.

 3             Are there any other issues that any of the other appellants would

 4     like to raise?  I see the Prosecution is --

 5             MR. STRINGER:  No, Your Honour, nothing from the Prosecution.

 6             JUDGE MERON:  Thank you very much.  Since there are no other

 7     matters being raised, I thank the parties for their attendance.  I will

 8     adjourn the proceedings.  Thank you very much.

 9                           --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at

10                           10.27 a.m.