Case No. IT-03-67-PT

Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj

DECISION

THE DEPUTY REGISTRAR,

CONSIDERING the Statute of the Tribunal as adopted by the Security Council under Resolution 827 (1993), and in particular Article 21(4)(d) thereof;

CONSIDERING the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (hereinafter "the Rules") as adopted by the Tribunal on 11 February 1994, as subsequently amended, and in particular Rules 44 and 45 thereof;

CONSIDERING the Directive on Assignment of Defence Counsel (hereinafter "the Directive"), as adopted by the Tribunal on 28 July 1994, as subsequently amended, and in particular Articles 19 and 20 thereof;

CONSIDERING the Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel Appearing Before the International Tribunal (IT/125 REV.1) (hereinafter "the Code of Conduct"), and in particular Articles 9 and 13 thereof;

CONSIDERING that on 25 February 2003, Vojislav Seselj (hereinafter "the Accused") stated his intention to defend himself in a letter addressed to the Registry:

NOTING that Article 21(4)(d) of the Statute states that an accused has the right to be assigned legal assistance in any case where the interests of justice so require;

CONSIDERING that on 9 May 2003, the Trial Chamber issued its Decision on Prosecutorís Motion for Order Appointing Counsel to Assist Vojislav Seselj with his Defence, in which the Trial Chamber decided that standby counsel shall be assigned to the Accused in this case;

NOTING that, as the Trial Chamber indicated, the "Accusedís right to defend himself is left absolutely untouched and that standby counsel is not an amicus curiae but an assistant operating in the sphere of the Accused only, who will serve to safeguard a fair and expeditious trial";

NOTING that the Accused was provided with the opportunity to nominate a standby counsel from the Rule 45 list but informed the Registry that he did not wish to do so;

CONSIDERING that on 5 September 2003, The Registrar issued a Decision to assign Mr. Aleksandar Lazarević, attorney at law from Belgrade, as standby counsel to the Accused;

CONSIDERING that the Accused has since expressed very serious allegations against Mr. Lazarevic and his family and that Mr. Lazarevic has informed the Registry that he intends to institute proceedings in a domestic court against the Accused based on these allegations;

CONSIDERING that it would be a conflict of interest for Mr. Lazarevic to continue to represent the Accused before the International Tribunal while concurrently taking legal action against the Accused;

CONSIDERING that on 13 February 2004, Mr. Tjarda Eduard van der Spoel, attorney at law from Rotterdam, informed the Registry of his consent to replace Mr. Lazarevic as standby counsel to the Accused;

CONSIDERING that Mr. van der Spoel meets the requirements of the Rule 45 list of counsel who are eligible to be considered for assignment of counsel, and that there are no conflicts of interest;

NOTING that in accordance with Article 9(D) of the Code of Conduct, Mr Lazarevic is obliged to surrender any papers and property to which the client or the Tribunal is entitled;

NOTING that in accordance with Article 13(A) of the Code of Conduct, Mr. Lazarevic remains subject to a continuing duty of confidentiality of the client's affairs and shall not reveal to any other person, other than to members of his team who need such information for the performance of their duties, information which has been entrusted to him in confidence or use such information to the client's detriment or to his own or another client's advantage;

NOTING that standby counsel will be bound by the same obligations as counsel appearing before the Tribunal and in particular by the Code of Conduct and the Directive ;

NOTING that counsel-client privilege will apply to any correspondence and communication between the Accused and standby counsel;

CONSIDERING that the appointment of standby counsel does not exclude the right of the Accused to obtain legal advice from counsel of his own choice fulfilling the requirements of Rule 44(A);

DECIDES to withdraw Mr. Lazarevic and assign Mr. van der Spoel as standby counsel to the Accused, effective as of the date of this Decision.

___________
David Tolbert
Deputy Registrar

Dated this sixteenth day of February 2004
At The Hague
The Netherlands