1 Thursday, 3 July 2003
2 [Status Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.39 p.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon to everybody. May we have the
7 appearances, please, for the Prosecution.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: For the Prosecution, Hildegard
9 Uertz-Retzlaff, senior trial attorney, and I'm actually expecting Mr. Dan
10 Saxon who I think is on his way already.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
12 For the Defence.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The accused, Dr. Vojislav Seselj in
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. We'll come back to this later. The
16 purpose of a meeting under Rule 65 bis, the so-called Status Conference,
17 is to find out what are the actual problems of this case, how the case's
18 development, or as it reads in the Rule as such, "A Trial Chamber or
19 permanent Trial Chamber Judge shall convene a Status Conference within 120
20 days of the Initial Appearance of the accused and thereafter within 120
21 days after the last Status Conference to organise exchanges between the
22 parties so as to ensure expeditious preparation for trial, to review the
23 status of his or her case and to allow the accused the opportunity to
24 raise issues in relation thereto, including the mental and physical
25 condition of the accused."
1 May I start with the latter point and ask you, are there any
2 special health problems you would have?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to ask
4 that we do not begin with the last point. I do have some health problems,
5 but they are not the most important for me. Could you leave those matters
6 regarding my health condition for the end, as envisaged by the rules.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The order of the proceedings are decided by the
8 Judge. May I ask you once again, do you have any health problems?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I do have serious health
10 problems. My health problems are of a psychological nature. I cautioned
11 you of these problems at the Initial Appearance. I repeated them at the
12 first Status Conference, and now this has developed into very serious
13 mental suffering, and I insist that the Trial Chamber take appropriate
14 measures to diminish or remove that suffering.
15 Your judicial clothing and robes worn by the Prosecution and the
16 Judges cause a great deal of disturbance for me. They cause a great deal
17 of anguish. You promised that something would be done, and this was
18 repeated at the Status Conference, but I still haven't received anything.
19 I insist that you set a team of psychiatric experts who will examine
20 whether your robes which are reminisce sent of the Roman Catholic
21 inquisition whether they really do cause anguish. If the psychiatrists
22 find that is not true --
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't want to hear these arguments another
24 time. You have to accept that in the courtrooms of this world, different
25 gowns are worn by counsel and Judges and so it is also in this Tribunal.
1 You have to accept it and this is no reason. If you would have special
2 health problems, please let us know. And if you have other reasons to
3 believe that you have mental health problems, please let us know. And
4 also, let us know whether they are new ones or whether they already
5 existed at the alleged time when allegedly you, as we can see it in the
6 indictment, and this is the submission by the Prosecution, have committed
7 the crimes listed there. Is it your intention that a research of your
8 mental state be conducted for the actual period of time, or also for the
9 time when the alleged crimes were committed?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No. Never in my life have I had any
11 psychological problems. They arose exclusively for the reasons I have
12 mentioned. I am not denying your right to wear the robes you're wearing.
13 But for me, it is unacceptable that they should be reminiscent of the
14 Roman Catholic inquisition. If you were to wear uniforms of the United
15 Nations, that would not disturb me. If you were to wear judicial robes
16 from Chinese, Japanese, Arabic traditions, I wouldn't mind. But this I
17 find intolerable, and my own problems are linked to this. If I had at
18 least received rules regulating this clothing, then maybe my suffering
19 would have been at least somewhat mitigated.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I believe nothing has to be added to the words
21 of the Appeals Chamber calling your submissions frivolous once, and I
22 don't want to enter into any discussion of this problem, as you believe is
23 a problem.
24 May I then continue with some other issues. The first is related
25 to a minor mistake --
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I, Your Honour --
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, I give you the floor when I feel it
3 appropriate. In the first Initial Appearance, I asked you for your name
4 and address and so on. But I omitted to ask you explicitly, is it correct
5 that part of your name is the doctor degree, and can you please tell us
6 when and where you obtained this doctor degree.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The title of "doctor" is part of my
8 name, and I acquired the title of doctor of law when, on the 25th of
9 November, 1979, I defended my doctoral thesis at the law faculty of the
10 university in Belgrade. I am a doctor of sciences. In Germany, that
11 would be a doctorate of second degree. As far as I know, Germans have
12 several levels, or a Ph.D. in among the British and the Americans.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification. In this
14 context, another question, please, and of course you know, and it's still
15 true, that you have the right to remain silent. Is it correct that you
16 gave lectures at the University of Michigan in the past?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is not true. And used an
18 untruthful fact in your decision against which I lodged an appeal, and
19 then they tried to return that appeal to me. I never held lectures at
20 Michigan University. I visited that university only once in my life for
21 three or four hours in 1978. The university in Michigan, I think it is
22 in -- near Detroit, I visited their library and was looking for certain
23 books at that library. I have never lectured at any American university,
24 and that is just evidence that this Trial Chamber in its rulings relies on
25 untruthful and unverified data.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To verify this was the intention of my question.
2 You have answered the question. I thank you.
3 You stated that making reference to the Chamber's decision on the
4 Prosecution motion for order appointing counsel to assist Vojislav Seselj
5 with his defence, we issued an order of 9th of May. And as you know, all
6 your letters related to this had been returned because they were either
7 not in the formal way or they were belated. You got as an assistance a
8 letter from the senior legal officer of the Appeals Chamber. It is not
9 for me to discuss issues of the Appeals Chamber; however, the senior legal
10 officer recalled that under Rule 73, whenever you want to move or appeal
11 against any decision of this Chamber, you have to do this in the foreseen
12 way and within seven days. Apparently, this was not the case, and this
13 was the ruling of the Appeals Chamber. Under Rule 73, it reads:
14 "Discussions and all motions without interlocutory appeal save
15 certification by the Trial Chamber which may grant such certification if
16 the decision involves an issue that would significantly affect the fair
17 and expeditious conduct of the proceedings or the outcome of the trial,
18 and for which, in the opinion of the Trial Chamber, an immediate
19 resolution by the Appeals Chamber may materially advance the proceedings."
20 Is it correct, Dr. Seselj, that you never filed such request for
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It is my opinion that there's no
23 sense in filing an appeal for certification to ask the Trial Chamber to --
24 to complain to the Trial Chamber about its own decision. I have 25 Rules
25 of the Rules of Procedure which are in contradiction with the Statute of
1 this Tribunal. I have submitted to the Appeals Chamber. It is not
2 possible for a legal officer to communicate with me. The Appeals Chamber
3 could have rejected my objection --
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Once again, we have heard this already in the
5 past. I think you have called yourself once in your Initial Appearance
6 "the best lawyer in the world." You would know yourself. But I know how
7 difficult it is to work sometimes with our Rules. You were notified on
8 the content of this Rule 73. You have these Rules in a language you
9 understand. And therefore, you have, as all the other inmates in the
10 Detention Unit or other accused before this Tribunal, to obey the Rules
11 and to follow the Rules. We can't make an exception especially for you.
12 So therefore, we have to state that you failed to request such a
13 certification that might be granted in the interests of justice; and in
14 addition, it was recalled by the senior legal officer that in case such a
15 certification is granted by the Trial Chamber, then in addition, you would
16 have to file within another seven days, as it reads in Rule 73 para
17 C, Requests for certification shall be filed within seven days of the
18 filing of the impugned decision. Where such decision is rendered orally,
19 this time limit shall run from the date of the oral decision.
20 If certification is given, a party may appeal to the Appeals
21 Chamber within seven days of the filing of the decision to certify. So
22 this would be a second -- a two-step approach. Twice seven days. Until
23 now, you have failed. It's a long time ago since the 9th of May.
24 However, I have to recall, and I'm quite sure that you're fully aware of
25 this, under Rule 127, the Rules provide for the possibility of the
1 variation of time limits. And there it reads: "Save as provided by
2 paragraph C, a Trial Chamber may, on good cause being shown by motion,
3 enlarge any time prescribed by under these Rules." So there would still
4 the possibility for you under Rule 127 to show good cause why you failed
5 to request the certification within seven days, and then the Trial Chamber
6 would have to decide whether cause indeed has been shown or not, and then
7 proceed. This would be the way, in case you would continue, to oppose
8 that which has been decided by the Trial Chamber, and this is primarily
9 that a standby counsel be assigned to you, that no doubt, you have the
10 right to defend yourself, and in addition you have the right to appoint
11 Defence counsel under Rule 44(A). I think this is absolutely clear from
12 our decision, and you can read it there and re-examine it once again. So
13 there is still a door open. If you want to proceed this way, please do
14 so. But please, immediately and try to show good cause. Do you want to
15 mention anything in this relationship?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. On the 26th of May, I filed to
17 the Appeals Chamber of the International Tribunal 37 pages of my objection
18 regarding your decision to appoint a standby counsel against the law. In
19 that objection, I stated as a reason your failure to have jurisdiction.
20 According to interlocutory appeals, certification is required in all cases
21 accept when jurisdiction is being challenged. And in addition to that,
22 the Trial Chamber also allows for questioning the legality of the Tribunal
23 itself. There's a special decision in the Tadic case. So whenever
24 jurisdiction is being challenged, I challenged your right to appoint a
25 standby counsel. And according to your own Rules, no certification is
1 required from the Trial Chamber, but the objection goes directly to the
2 Appeals Chamber. And that is in question here, challenging jurisdiction.
3 And as that is the case, I ask you to observe the provisions of your Rule
4 72 and to forward my motion directly to the Appeals Chamber.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Dr. Seselj, your letters were sent directly to
6 the Appeals Chamber, and you received the answers from the Appeals
7 Chamber. No doubt that a Trial Chamber can't interfere in the work of the
8 Appeals Chamber. And therefore, our hands are bound. What I did was
9 showing you a way how to come to this decision you apparently still want,
10 but please, don't confuse two issues: The question whether or not to
11 assign counsel against your will, but leaving you the right, the absolute
12 right, to defend yourself, and the question of jurisdiction. This, of
13 course, follows, and you mentioned it correctly, different rules. And
14 therefore, please make a distinction yourself when you file a motion, and
15 I emphasise it's not sufficient to write a letter "to whom it may concern"
16 but file a motion as foreseen under the Rules in Section 6 of our Rules of
17 Procedure and Evidence. So therefore, in case you want to try and reopen
18 the question of Defence counsel, you know now the way how to do it under
19 Rule 127 and Rule 73 paragraph (B).
20 Then let us stay for a moment with the question of Defence
21 counsel. On the one-hand side, you stated, both in the Initial Appearance
22 and in the further Initial Appearance, that you decided to defend
23 yourself. On the other hand, I received today two powers of attorney
24 authorising Maja Gojkovic, lawyer in Novi Sad, to act as your legal
25 advisor. This was signed "The Hague, the 2nd of July, 2003."
1 At the same time, you signed a power of attorney authorising Slavko
2 Jerkovic, lawyer of Savi Glacevica [phoen] Street, number 28 in Belgrade
3 as to act as my legal assistant in the case we have before us. The Rules
4 provide under Rule 44 for the right to have counsel. May I ask you, shall
5 we interpret your power of attorney related to Maja Gojkovic as such a
6 proxy or power of attorney under Rule 44(A)?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] First of all, I need to inform you
8 that more than three months ago, I informed the Registrar of this Tribunal
9 that Maja Gojkovic an attorney from Novi Sad will be my legal advisor, and
10 Slavko Jerkovic, an attorney from Belgrade, my legal assistants. Then
11 officials came, expert advisors of the Tribunal to discuss this with me
12 orally. I provided the data for Maja Gojkovic and Slavko Jerkovic. They
13 had several contacts with them. Maja Gojkovic and Slavko Jerkovic sent
14 their powers of attorney two and a half months ago. Those same court
15 officials should have come to see me to sign those powers of attorney.
16 They didn't come and they no longer answered the telephone. Maja Gojkovic
17 will be my legal advisor. She is already working in that capacity
18 informally. And Slavko Jerkovic will be my legal assistant. They will be
19 working in accordance with my instructions and my own concept of defence
20 as I have determined it. Therefore, they do not have the authority of a
21 legal Defence counsel. They cannot undertake any steps until I give them
22 instructions to do so and permission to do so. What I wish to avoid,
23 which is unfortunately the practice in this Tribunal, that when the
24 accused appoints Defence counsel, then his destiny is entirely in the
25 hands of the Defence counsel.
1 I will be in charge of my own defence case. And Maja Gojkovic and
2 Slavko Jerkovic will assist me, and some 20 or so investigators who have
3 already been engaged for that purpose.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Rules are quite clear. You have the
5 possibility either to defend yourself or to have counsel. And as we
6 already have described in our decision of May this year, that
7 notwithstanding that you prefer to take the right to self-representation,
8 it would be possible, and it does not exclude - this is written in
9 paragraph 29 of our decision - your right to obtain legal advice from
10 counsel of your own choosing. This would be counsel, and this counsel
11 would have to follow the Rules under 44(A) and would have to act under the
12 same obligations and the same rights as it is for all the other counsel in
13 this Tribunal. So it's your decision whether you want to defend yourself
14 or together with counsel. And I have to correct you. It is not true that
15 when you have an appointed counsel or assigned counsel, then you would be
16 in the hands of these counsel. The counsel would act only in your
17 interest and follow your advice.
18 So may I ask you once again, you used terms not foreseen in the
19 Statute. And I'm not aware why you explicitly used in two powers of
20 attorney two different terms, once, "legal assistant" and in the other
21 time "legal advisor." In which category shall these persons fall?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think there's no need at all to
23 raise that question again while this case lasts. For as long as it lasts,
24 I will defend myself. A legal advisor has helped me hitherto. Already,
25 for instance, in obtaining certain case law, studying certain legal issues
1 and so on. As for the legal assistant, he heads the team of investigators
2 that I have engaged, my intention being to find witnesses whereby I will
3 be able to challenge all the counts in the indictment. So my decision
4 remains the same, to defend myself. But my impression is that the whole
5 Tribunal, you yourself and the Registry of this Tribunal, are endeavouring
6 in every way to impose Defence counsel on me, even by proclaiming my legal
7 advisor or legal assistants as Defence counsel. I will not have a Defence
8 counsel. You can appoint hundreds of lawyers as standby attorneys; I will
9 not collaborate with them, nor will I recognise any move that they make.
10 You can leave me without a defence, but you cannot force me to agree to
11 anyone defending myself except me.
12 You can appoint anyone to act in my name. He can even change his
13 name, take my name. But that is beyond my powers of control. My decision
14 to defend myself is final, unequivocal, and there's nothing that can
15 change it.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Trial Chamber did otherwise, and it would be
17 for you if you are not in agreement with our decision to take the
18 necessary measures. I already indicated what these would be. And it's
19 now for you to take action or not. If you wouldn't take action within the
20 next seven days, this standby counsel would be assigned to you.
21 As for the two other persons, I have to inform you that the
22 lawyer/client privilege foreseen under Rule 97 is not available for these
23 persons before they are accepted under Rule 44(A). And they have to be
24 accepted by the Registrar, not by the Trial Chamber. So therefore, please
25 act in this respect vis-a-vis the Registrar as foreseen in Rule 44. And
1 the Registrar will then decide whether or not these persons can be seen as
2 counsel in the sense of Rule 44 and whether or not you would enjoy this
3 client/counsel privilege or not. So unfortunately, I didn't get a clear
4 answer from your side related to the question whether you want to regard
5 these persons -- you want these persons as explicit counsel as foreseen or
6 not, because one thing should be quite clear from the outset: You can't
7 give to the public the impression if you would defend yourself; and on the
8 other hand, by the back door, through the back door, let you defend by
9 counsel not appearing. So you know the steps you would have to take if
10 you so want. It's up to you.
11 May I now ask the Prosecution, are there, from the Prosecution
12 side, any submissions related to disclosure issues especially?
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, the Prosecution is continuing
14 its trial preparations, basically contacting and recontacting witnesses
15 already identified and potential further witnesses. The Prosecution has
16 to clarify the scope of the anticipated testimony, in particular, the
17 possible protective measures needed. When this process is concluded, and
18 also as far as it is developing, we will file protective measures motion.
19 One of them in the near future. And the Prosecution has also the
20 intention to file at a later stage the -- a motion requesting the
21 admission of crime-based evidence according to Rule 92 bis, but we will
22 need some time to do this, in particular, we have to clarify with the
23 Defence or with the accused which matters are actually in dispute when it
24 comes to crime-based.
25 The Prosecution is also at the moment identifying exhibits that
1 will be used at trial; however, this process is also not coming to an end
2 as long as we don't know which are the facts in dispute and which are not.
3 The Prosecution's actually awaiting the standby counsel, or rather a
4 decision of the Appeals Chamber to standby counsel, before submitting
5 suggestions to the accused pursuant to Rule 65 ter (E) for possible
6 admissions of background facts as well as an agreement on matters which
7 are not in dispute and which matters are contested. But we have actually
8 -- we will only submit that when the situation regarding Defence counsel
9 is clarified.
10 In relation to disclosure, actually my colleague Dan Saxon who
11 deals with this matter and I would like to refer to him.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
13 MR. SAXON: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Today, basically I have
14 two matters to clarify with the Trial Chamber. First of all, since the
15 arrest and detention of Dr. Seselj, the Prosecution has begun defining
16 criteria for locating and identifying material that would be subject to
17 disclosure to Dr. Seselj pursuant to Rule 68. And that process is ongoing
18 and will be ongoing for the length of these proceedings obviously.
19 However, we are prepared today to begin disclosure of materials to
20 Dr. Seselj under Rule 68. Most of the material is material already in the
21 public domain, but a portion of it is not. It is material that is not in
22 the public domain. And we have highlighted these differences in our
23 disclosure package so it will be clear to the accused.
24 We have prepared a receipt in the language of the accused and in
25 English so that the accused will be able to see exactly what it is we are
1 providing him. All of these materials that we have prepared for
2 disclosure this afternoon are in the language of the accused. So he
3 should have no trouble reading them or, in the case of several videotapes,
4 watching them and understanding them. So with the Court's leave, I would
5 ask the Registrar either now or at a later date -- or at a later moment
6 during this hearing to provide this package and a receipt for the
7 accused's signature to the accused, along with these videotapes. That is
8 the first matter.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to assist, please.
10 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let us wait.
12 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, the second --
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May it please be immediately handed over to
14 Dr. Seselj that we know whether Dr. Seselj is prepared to accept this or
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Why shouldn't I be prepared to
17 accept this? So far, I have accepted all Court documents in the Serbian
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm more than happy to know that you would
20 accept this. But let's please proceed in the way foreseen under the
21 Rules --
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] With satisfaction, Your Honour.
23 Very pleased. But only in the Serbian language.
24 MR. SAXON: There are two copies of the receipt there. One of
25 them is for Dr. Seselj, and we would ask that one of them be returned to
1 us, to the Prosecution.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Dr. Seselj, only to be on the safe side, I take
3 it that you're in possession of an audio and videoplayer provided to you
4 by the Registrar. Is this correct? That you are able to review these
5 videotapes you just received?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is correct. But unfortunately,
7 I just received it five days ago, so I haven't had time to look through
8 all the videotapes that I received on the 17th of March, if I remember
9 correctly. So that in the course of the next ten days, I will be able to
10 take a look at all that material.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. Please, let me take the opportunity to
12 recall that in the accompanying letter, it reads that you would have to
13 renew a request after one month if you then still need this audio or
14 videoplayer. Let it please be not forgotten. But I have interrupted the
15 Prosecution. Mr. Saxon, please proceed.
16 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, the Prosecution has also already
17 identified some material that is disclosable to the accused, Dr. Seselj,
18 under Rule 68. However, that material is in the English language. Again,
19 we will wait until the final resolution of the matter of standby counsel
20 before we decide or make an effort to disclose that material as well. In
21 future disclosures under Rule 68, if we have the resources to do it and
22 the amount is not too voluminous, we will try as we did on this instance
23 to provide letters and receipts in the language of the accused. We will
24 make our best effort, however, that is contingent on the language
25 resources that are available to the Office of the Prosecutor at the time.
1 Your Honour, the final point that I would make this afternoon
2 regarding disclosure pursuant to Rule 68, the Prosecution would like to,
3 as much as possible, engage the Defence and the Trial Chamber in the
4 disclosure process so that this can be a collaborative effort to make sure
5 that it is as efficient and as effective as possible. So in that light,
6 with the Trial Chamber's leave, the Prosecution intends to file, perhaps
7 on a bimonthly basis or trimonthly basis reports of the Prosecution
8 concerning its compliance with the rules of disclosure, Rule 66 and Rule
9 68. That way, we will be able to engage all the parties in this process
10 and keep all the parties fully informed in the disclosure activities of
11 the Prosecution, including the kinds of criteria, search criteria, that
12 the Prosecution is using to locate and identify potentially exculpatory
13 material for the Defence in this case. And we hope to file our first
14 report in the very near future, probably later this month, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this submission.
16 May I ask you, Dr. Seselj, you're aware of the problems emanating
17 from the fact that a huge number of documents, amounting to thousands of
18 documents, would have to be translated. But my question is, is English a
19 language you understand insofar as you could read the content in
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No. I cannot in this trial avail
22 myself of the use of English. My knowledge of English is sufficient to be
23 able to contact with the prison guards and possibly with the physician,
24 and that's all. I am not able to enter into any legal discussions in
25 English, nor am I able to professionally elaborate a legal text in
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I then ask, what about Ms. Maja Gojkovic, is
3 she able to understand and speak English?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The same goes for the second person mentioned in
6 your documents, and this would be Mr. Slavko Jerkovic, is he able to read
7 and/or speak English?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, not for the purposes of the
9 trial. Either Maja Gojkovic or Slavko Jerkovic, their knowledge is not
10 sufficient to be able to use the language for trial purposes in these
11 proceedings in any way.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You should be aware, and you have the time to
13 read Rule 44, that a counsel shall be considered qualified to represent a
14 suspect or accused if the counsel satisfies the Registrar that the counsel
15 is admitted to the practice of law in a state, or as a university
16 professor of law, and speaks one of the two working languages of the
17 Tribunal. This would be English or French. So please take this into
18 account when you decide on counsel of your own choosing.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't know why you keep insisting
20 on this question of counsel of my own choosing when I am never going to
21 have a counsel in this trial. And I don't know in what way I can express
22 my thoughts because what I'm saying doesn't seem to be understandable to
23 you. Perhaps the problem is in the interpreters. I don't know where the
24 problem lies. I am never going to have a counsel here of any kind, and if
25 you try to impose one on me, I'm not going to recognise him. I will have
1 no contact with anybody like that. I insist that I defend myself. That
2 is my right pursuant to the Statute and the European Declaration on Human
3 Rights, the universal declaration on human rights and I don't understand
4 why you keep insisting upon this question of counsel and raising the issue
5 in that way. It's my impression that you wish to cause an incident here.
6 You want to make me lose my patience, to commit an act that I do not want
7 to commit. That is my impression. I don't know why you're doing that.
8 There is no Defence counsel. I am my sole legal counsel here, and that
9 decision is unequivocal. And I can guarantee with my very life that I
10 will stand by that decision, and I guarantee it with my life.
11 There is no Defence counsel in this Court for me, and there never
12 will be. Now, as far as the material is concerned in English, Your
13 Honour, I am saving money for you and the Tribunal. You won't have to pay
14 a Defence counsel for me, an attorney for me. And therefore I assume that
15 you can use those funds as resources to ensure the translation of
16 documents into the Serbian language for me. It's cheaper, as far as I can
17 assess, and I have had occasion to ask other accused, it's cheaper to
18 engage ten translators rather than an attorney, an official attorney, as
19 far as the funds of the Tribunal are concerned. Or you can pay more.
20 There are donors of yours. So it's not my problem that your financial
21 resources are restricted. Perhaps I am guilty of something that you
22 ascribe to me, but you are going to have to prove that and I don't how
23 you're going to do that. But I can't be to blame for your financial
24 restrictions and I don't even want to think of the subject of money and
25 fact that you don't have enough money. Don't burden me with that. I have
1 other problems to worry about in my life. However every document, each
2 and every document, must be translated into the Serbian language otherwise
3 it is unacceptable to this Tribunal. If I don't see the document in
4 Serbian, the document will not be allowed to exist as far as you're
5 concerned and you're aware of that Your Honour. You were a Judge of the
6 Supreme Court of Germany, as far as I understand. And you know that there
7 are some limits in the mistreatment of the accused. Everything must be in
8 the Serbian language. Now how you're going to do that and garbage it,
9 that's up to you. But I have never refused to accept any document given
10 to me in the Serbian language. I received and took over everything that
11 was submitted to be in Serbian and signed for it except when a former
12 legal advisor contacted me and writes letters to me, senior legal
13 officer. I can't understand that. Although I have a Ph.D., I can't
14 understand that a legal officer can contact with me in that way at all.
15 I am here on a footing of equality in this trial. I am equal to
16 the Prosecutor legally speaking until I leave here, and then you can tie
17 me up and that's another matter. But while we're in this courtroom, we
18 are completely equal. We are on a footing of equality and I wish to have
19 that remain so to the end. So everything must be translated for me into
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm convinced that you perfectly well understood
22 the message that is laid done in Rule 44, and I don't want to enter into a
23 discussion of this question because it's for the Registrar to answer this
24 question and not for the Trial Chamber. So let's leave it for the moment
25 with this.
1 May I ask the Prosecution, are there any other issues from your
2 side you want to raise today?
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask you, any other issues from your side
5 you want to raise?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. I have prepared 11 issues for
7 this Status Conference here today, and I hope you'll have the patience to
8 hear me out.
9 The first question relates to my complaint with respect to the
10 indictment. And this was tabled on the 18th of April. There was some
11 problems over its reception the photocopy machine wasn't working during
12 the weekend. Monday was a Dutch holiday, and this was filed and listed on
13 the 22nd of April. The Trial Chamber was given a deadline of two months
14 to state its views with respect to my submission, and I submitted the
15 submission with respect to Rule 72. I questioned the authority and
16 competence and jurisdiction with respect to that Rule, and I also
17 challenged the formal defects in the form of the indictment. After one
18 and a half months, once again, some legal counsellor tried to give me back
19 my motion, and his explanation was that it was longer than ten pages. My
20 motion totalled 116 pages. I said, Your Honour, at the last Status
21 Conference that I was already writing my complaint with respect to the
22 indictment, that it might number several hundred pages. You said that it
23 couldn't be longer than so many pages, and I was able to reduce it to 116
24 pages and it could not have been shorter than that. Now my complaint to
25 the indictment is my absolute right which nobody can take away from me
1 following the Rules of Procedure first, and secondly as far as I know,
2 there is no legal system in the world in which that right is not absolute,
3 that the accused can lodge his complaints with respect to the indictment,
4 which is what I did.
5 However, it takes up more pages than are prescribed by the
6 President of the Tribunal. The instructions given by the President of the
7 Tribunal as a legal act does not rely on the Rules of Procedure at all and
8 Evidence. The President of the Tribunal does not enjoy the right to
9 restrict my right to table a complaint with respect to the indictment. I
10 could have written it out on 1.000 pages. That is my right. If the
11 Prosecution could send me six files of documents together with my
12 indictment and twice the number of videocassettes that I received on the
13 17th of March, then I assume that I can write out what I say to cover 116
14 pages because I didn't choose all the umpteen files and binders that the
15 Prosecution used, and there is no document in all those binders that can
16 prove the indictment. But that's their affair. It's their ballast. It
17 was your duty to respond to my complaint to the indictment to rule. You
18 accept it or you don't accept it. I expected you to reject it straight
19 away, but it was up to you to respond in one way or another. As the Trial
20 Chamber, you cannot fail to respond to my submission and just say that it
21 was too long. If you say today that you're not going to give a ruling,
22 then pursuant to Rule 72 I have the right without your go ahead to
23 complain to the Appeals Chamber in that regard because it is the lack of
24 jurisdiction in granting this agreement or ruling or filing of a motion
25 and complaint.
1 I am fully conscious of the reasons for which the Trial Chamber
2 does not wish to state its views because I challenge the competence of the
3 Tribunal with respect to Vojvodina. There was no war in Vojvodina. And
4 you want to us to prolong this process of statement of views. The Rules
5 are not of a legal nature. They can of a political nature. However a
6 Tribunal could not accept having political rulings of this kind. Now,
7 with regard to competence and jurisdiction, I looked at the joint
8 enterprise, and there is no grounds for that in the Statute as well, joint
9 criminal enterprise. In article 7(1) or 7(3). It is something that has
10 been brought up.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm sorry, we won't go into the details of the
12 indictment. This is not the purpose of a Status Conference. I only want
13 to recall, and apparently following your submissions, you're fully aware
14 that there are these limitations related to the length of motions, and it
15 is as easy as that that you only ask for leave to file a longer motion if
16 need may be, if only you show good cause. And this has not been done by
17 you in the past related to all the documents. And therefore, you are
18 treated like all the other inmates in the Detention Unit. The documents
19 are returned to you. It is for you to ask for leave for an extension of
20 this page limitation, and then the Trial Chamber in its composition of
21 three Judges will decide. It's absolutely easy, and I know that you have
22 understood this very well.
23 Are there any other problems?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I understand that. But Your Honour
25 I'm not going to abide by that because I insist upon the fact that the
1 President of the Tribunal doesn't have the right to do so, to give
2 instructions which will restrict my absolute rights or to interpret them
3 restrictively, and I'm going to continue along those lines. Let me tell
4 you this: I am ready to --
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let me immediately answer. Then you have to
6 take the consequences if you don't want to follow the rules and the
7 guidelines. That's all I have to say to this.
8 Other problems?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I also wish to say that I am ready
10 for that, to write my motions one page longer every time, and then at the
11 end of the trial, you can say that they were all rejected because of their
12 length, the length of my motions. And now something else: Your Honour, I
13 have established that the Rules of Procedure and Evidence in 25 of the
14 Rules go directly against the provisions of the Statute, and I'm going to
15 show you this very quickly. The question of status --
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This is not the appropriate time to do so.
17 That's not the purpose of a Status Conference, and it was on purpose that
18 I quoted directly from the Rules what is the purpose of a Status
19 Conference. If you want to challenge the validity of one of the Rules,
20 please do so in writing. Thank you.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'll do that with pleasure, but I
22 have not done so so far because according to the Rules, it is provided
23 that only the Judges and Secretary can put forward motions for change in
24 the Rules of Procedure. I think that this is something that should be
25 done urgently because the Defence counsel or rather the accused must be
1 set on a footing of equality with the Prosecution. But if you insist upon
2 that, I can give this idea up for the time being, but I'd just like to
3 draw your attention that I noted down all these 25 points in my complaint
4 to your decision to impose a standby counsel for me. So if you're
5 interested, you will be able to read it there. And I am convinced that
6 anything I write down will remain in writing as a record in due course for
7 people who are going to study this trial in a hundred years' time.
8 The next issue I wish to raise is my being ignored by the
9 Prosecution. I have come here of my own free will. I have been in prison
10 for four and a half months now and the Prosecution has not wanted to have
11 an official talk to me. They are running away from me like the plague.
12 However, after the last Status Conference, Madam Del Ponte did call me
13 into her office and asked me whether I wished to talk and I said, "Well,
14 why aren't you recording the conversation?" And she said, "I thought we
15 could talk privately." And I said, "We can talk privately about the
16 weather or literature, not serious questions." And afterwards, there was
17 no contact whatsoever. I was already to provide valuable information to
18 the OTP about some war crimes and their perpetrators. I also wanted to
19 testify how Zoran Djindjic the former Prime Minister was involved in these
20 crimes because Ljubisa Mauzer was the greatest criminal in Republika
21 Srpska and president of the party, and I think that Mauzer -- that the OTP
22 knows who Mauzer is. Unfortunately in the meantime, Djindjic was killed.
23 So this has been placed -- But I have serious information interesting to
24 the OTP of the case of Nebojsa Colic who stole a factory and so on and the
25 involvement of Milo Djukanovic, the Prime Minister of Montenegro, et
1 cetera. I have reliable sources and they tell me that their liquidation
2 is being prepared so it would be a good idea for you to hurry up and me to
3 give you that information while the people are still alive. And you seem
4 to be running away from me as if I have the plague or I am suffering from
5 some infectious disease or something of the like.
6 Now, on several occasions, we have mentioned another subject here,
7 the question of language. And in your ruling signed by you, Your Honour,
8 I can see that you refer to people who are not in any way professionals
9 when it comes to the Serbo-Croatian language. So I have done my best to
10 bring into Court here today and to give you one of my books, the ideology
11 of Serb nationalism, where I deal with the problem on the basis of the top
12 quality scientific research that is done to show you what the problem is
13 all about. The problem is not about the fact that I couldn't understand
14 something if I made the effort to do so, but that in the artificial
15 Croatian variation, they are thinking up new words every day to make that
16 language be as different as possible from Serbian which is the source
17 language. And in 1850 the Croats gave up their language --
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have heard already your submissions on this
19 question, and we answered this by motion. And if you have problems with
20 this, the Appeals Chamber is the adequate body to give you the answer. It
21 stands how it is, and we have reliable sources to proceed this way.
22 Any other questions?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, there are, but I insist that
24 you ask members of the Registry to accept this and that it become part of
25 the Court file because this book will be important for you for these
1 entire proceedings. I hope you will not avoid this.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... one of
3 these mainly three variants of one of the same language, and we discussed
4 in previous cases this question exhaustively. And the matter is hereby
6 So if you want to turn to another issue, please do so.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] As you're avoiding to consider this
8 question more seriously, I shall move on to another problem. Your Honour,
9 I have never received two documents that you personally promised me, and
10 those are the rules regarding the robes of the Judges and the United
11 Nations agreement with the host country. In the minutes of the Status
12 Conference and the Initial Appearance, you can find that you yourself
13 promised me those documents. These are all minor matters, and I'll deal
14 with them very quickly.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I can answer immediately. May I ask the usher,
16 please, to hand over to the -- to Dr. Seselj the document, the host
17 country agreement. But as I stated earlier, you will not receive a
18 solution of your problems related to visa questions. And I stated already
19 earlier, there's no impediment, no obstacle at all that your relatives can
20 come to The Hague and visit you in the Detention Unit. This is not a
21 question emanating from the host country agreement. This goes without
23 As regards the robes, you discussed -- you touched upon this issue
24 already earlier, and I'm tired of hearing the same repetitive story, so
25 please turn to the next issue.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you're tired, we can
2 have a break, but your fatigue cannot be an argument in these proceedings
3 because I'm threatened with 14 life sentences.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, I stated I don't want to hear any longer
5 any comments from your side related to the robes and gowns worn by
6 officials of this Tribunal. Please proceed with other issues.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have insisted several times in
8 writing that I be provided the transcripts of the Initial Appearance here
9 and of the first Status Conference in the Serbian language. This is still
10 not been served on me. I insist that this be provided because I cannot
11 participate in a trial unless all transcripts are provided, and if I'm
12 unable to use those transcripts for preparations for my Defence. For the
13 present, I still remember well --
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I have to interrupt you once again. It becomes
15 a vicious circle. In the moment, you have a counsel or whatever you would
16 call this person, legal assistant or legal advisor, the second is the
17 specific term used in another case, then you would have access immediately
18 to the transcripts, the transcripts are provided under the Rules and under
19 the Statute in the languages of -- in the official languages of this
20 Tribunal. This is English and French. On the other hand, you have the
21 possibility to review the videos taken from these Status Conferences, and
22 there should be no doubt that if you so want, you get these videos and
23 then you can follow what has been said there.
24 May I ask you in this context, is it correct that you were offered
25 a laptop, but you refused to take this laptop as a tool assisting not only
1 you, but also the parties and all the staff members of this Tribunal,
2 especially the interpreters having sometimes enormous difficulties with
3 your handwriting? Is it correct that such a laptop was offered to you?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Regarding the videotapes of the
5 Initial Appearance and the Status Conferences, I don't mind having them.
6 But I'm afraid that I can only follow what I said in the Serbian language.
7 I don't know what happens to the interpretations on videotapes. If
8 there's a technical solution to that, then the videotapes can -- I can use
9 them just as I would use transcripts on condition they're in Serbian.
10 As regards the laptop, this is something that you offered me at
11 the last Status Conference as far as I remember, and I refused it. The
12 accused addresses the Court originally by hand and original Court
13 documents are written documents. Unfortunately, I'm not prepared for any
14 modernisation. All documents have to be supplied in hard copy. If we're
15 talking about evidence, they can be on videotapes. I assume that this is
16 all evidence on videotapes and not documents.
17 As regards my own filings, they will all be written by hand. I'm
18 always at the disposal of the Court translators to help them read any word
19 they may find difficulty with. I have plenty of time to be cooperative in
20 that sense. But you will have to accept that until the end of these
21 proceedings, I will continue to write everything by hand, and that all
22 Court documents will have to be disclosed in hard copy.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the problem related to the bookshelf,
24 is it resolved in the meantime? Did you request this on the basis of a
25 Zahtev form?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I did make an oral request, and the
2 answer I received was that they would see. But it was never provided. I
3 need this simply to keep the documents in order, and those documents are
4 piling up quickly because I have whole piles of things, including books.
5 But in order to be able to conduct my own Defence, I need this --
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, we need not enter into these discussions.
7 It's absolutely clear, but a prerequisite is a written request. This
8 Zahtev form as I learned from the Detention Unit management, if you fill
9 in this form, you will get immediately the bookshelf.
10 Another issue, please, if you have.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] As far as that is concerned, I have
12 exhausted the questions I had planned for today, except if you allow me I
13 would just like to say two sentences in connection with what has been said
14 by the representative of the Prosecution. The representative of the
15 Prosecution is raising the problem of documents, and he is linking that
16 with the imposition of a standby Defence counsel. The Prosecution must
17 not act in that way. The Prosecution must perform its duties regardless
18 of that matter. And the Prosecution must not waste time, precious time,
19 with respect to interpretation because sooner or later, these things will
20 have to be translated and nothing will change in that respect. And I
21 would like to say to you, Your Honour, in response to one of my first
22 questions, you referred to the position of the Appeals Chamber which has
23 nothing to do with the subject that I raised here.
24 The position of the Appeals Chamber has to do with my request for
25 your disqualification, and not regarding the motion that you referred to
1 in connection with the Appeals Chamber. Those are two separate matters.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think you are aware that your request for
3 disqualification, I have to refrain from any comments on this, was decided
4 by the Bureau rejecting this as a frivolous motion. So nothing has to be
5 added to this.
6 Let me now turn to another point, only recently, in fact,
7 immediately before I entered the courtroom, I received a document from
8 Yugoslavia. I go into some details of this. And it was forwarded by the
9 Embassy of Serbia and Montenegro and sent to us the 1st of July, 2003. I
10 have to recall that during your Initial Appearance, the 26th of February,
11 2003, when asked whether the embassy should be informed on your
12 deprivation of liberty according to Article 36 of the Vienna Convention,
13 you answered: "No. I do not wish to have any contact with the consulate
14 of the so-called Serbia and Montenegro. It is my conviction that in
15 Serbia and Montenegro, Mafioso and criminals are in power and I do not
16 wish any guarantees or any contact with them."
17 On the other hand, we have a request for legal assistance from
18 Serbia and Montenegro forwarded to us through the embassy. And this reads
19 as follows, addressed to the International Tribunal: "Before the Special
20 Department of the District court in Beograd, the investigation procedure
21 is pending against the suspect Vojislav Seselj, born on October 11, 1954
22 in Sarajevo, son of the father Nikola for founded suspicion that he has
23 committed the criminal act of association for enemy activity of the
24 Article 136, paragraph 2 in connection with paragraph 1 of the Criminal
25 Law of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in concurrence with the criminal
1 act of assassination of representatives of the highest federal authorities
2 by instigation of the Article 122 in connection with the Article 23 of the
3 Criminal Law of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, (currently: Basic
4 Criminal Code).
5 "It is necessary to interrogate in the capacity of the accused
6 Vojislav Seselj who is situated in the Detention Unit in Scheveningen in
7 The Hague, so you are most kindly to requested to approve the
8 interrogation either in these premises or in the premises of the
9 International Crime Tribunal for former Yugoslavia of Vojislav Seselj on
10 the basis of the Criminal Procedure Code.
11 "Besides the Summary Judge of this Court, Mr. Vucko Mircic, and
12 the recorder, Ms. Novka Babovic, at such interrogation has been to be
13 present also the Deputy Special Public Prosecuting Attorney Mr. Milan
14 Radovanovic, as well as the suspect's Defence attorney, Attorney at Law,
15 Mr. Slavko Jerkovic of Beograd-Zemun.
16 "The suspect's Defence attorney advised us that the suspect
17 demands for his interrogation to be recorded by the means of devices for
18 sound and optical recording, to which he is entitled under the Article 179
19 of the Law on Criminal Procedure. In case you meet this request of ours,
20 you are kindly requested as well to bear in mind that we shall provide a
21 person and a device (camera) for taping the interrogation of the suspect
23 "We dare emphasise that the investigation in question is being
24 introduced against further 45 persons, 24 persons of which are in
25 confinement in the District Prison of Beograd, so that, for such reasons,
1 urgent procedure is unavoidable. You are thus most kindly requested to
2 consider approving the interrogation of Vojislav Seselj in the period from
3 July 3 to July 17 taking into consideration our estimate that the hearing
4 may last eight hours at the most.
5 "Summary Judge of the Special Department, signed Vucko Mircic."
6 So there seems to be a discrepancy. On the one-hand side you told
7 us the 26th of February you do not want to have anything to do with
8 representatives of Serbia and Montenegro. And on the other side, it is
9 explicitly said here that your Defence attorney advised that a special way
10 of interrogation should be conducted. May I ask you, therefore, are you
11 prepared to undergo such a procedure of interrogation by authorities based
12 on a request for legal assistance in criminal matters?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In the Serbian public, I have
14 already made my position known, and I have authorised my lawyers, Maja
15 Gojkovic and Slavko Jerkovic to inform the investigating judge that I'm
16 ready to be heard in their presence, not just Slavko Jerkovic but also
17 Maja Gojkovic would come with the investigating judge and the Prosecutor.
18 But I wrote a letter to the Registry of this Tribunal requesting that this
19 Tribunal, because I'm here under your jurisdiction now, I think it is up
20 to you to make sure that nobody can manipulate my status here for any
21 purposes whatsoever. And that is why I would request that this Tribunal
22 or the OTP provide a recording of my interrogation in the same way that
23 they do it when they are interrogating suspects. And that after that
24 interrogation, I be given the videotapes. If this Tribunal can guarantee
25 that, I'm prepared and ready to talk to the investigating judge, with
1 pleasure. There's only one thing that I fear, that somebody from the
2 authorities in Belgrade should later on manipulate with my statements.
3 What has happened hitherto, that the police hear a witness, then ministers
4 then get hold of that and then manipulate with it. I wish to avoid that.
5 But my assessment of the authorities remains the same. Now, if you will
6 protect me and provide a recording of that interrogation and I'm given a
7 tape of that interrogation, I'm ready to do that. I'm not avoiding it; on
8 the contrary, I wish to do it.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So we have got a clear answer from your side,
10 that you would not make use of your fundamental right to remain silent as
11 an accused in this affair pending against you in Belgrade. And therefore,
12 you would be prepared to answer the questions put to you, and it would be
13 only a question of how to proceed, how to protect your rights, and how
14 technical to conduct this interview. Is this a correct statement, that
15 you are prepared to answer these questions? Not to make use of your
16 right, because it wouldn't make sense that we prepare this interrogation,
17 and then later you tell us you make use of your right to remain silent.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is all correct, Your Honour,
19 with the exception of one sentence. I have haven't yet been an accused
20 over there. I'm just a suspect. So the status is a different one, and
21 I'm saying this for the benefit of the public. So if you do provide these
22 conditions for me, and you can guarantee that I will have the tape in my
23 hands after the interrogation, I'm ready for any interviews. I have never
24 used my right to silence as my defence especially as those accusations
25 from Belgrade against me are fabrications.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clear answer. I think it
2 would be then for the Registrar and for the Prosecution to prepare the
3 necessary measures if this request for assistance in criminal matters will
4 be granted. And in the past, it was the policy to grant these requests.
5 Any other issues to be raised? I can't see any. This concludes
6 today's Status Conference.
7 --- Whereupon the Status conference
8 adjourned at 5.06 p.m.