Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 11192

 1                           Wednesday, 29 October 2008

 2                           [Closed session]

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11 Pages 11193-11293 redacted. Closed session.















Page 11294

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19                           [Open session]

20             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you have the floor.

21             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have two questions to raise,

22     Judges.

23             The first question is:  I should like to remind you that the

24     Trial Chamber is inter alia competent or, rather, in charge of monitoring

25     the health condition and the detention conditions of the accused.

Page 11295

 1     Generally, the conditions of detention are systematically deteriorating

 2     for all the convicts, and the culmination was a couple of days ago.  For

 3     over ten years, the convicts, as you know, are entitled to two walks a

 4     day, one an hour's and another one for 45 minutes.  For over ten years,

 5     these walks had been organised in the courtyard by the building itself,

 6     by the prison building itself, from which one can see lots of trees and

 7     where there are two grass lawns where the grass is always green.

 8             A few days ago, a tunnel was constructed through this courtyard.

 9     We were prohibited to walk in that courtyard, and they lead us into a

10     courtyard where one cannot at all see any trees, where there is no grass

11     at all, where we have concrete surrounding us from five sides, the left

12     side, the right side, down from the bottom, north, south, east and west,

13     and the floor is concrete.  We do see the sky, in all fairness, but the

14     sun doesn't reach us.

15             This has terribly affected, for the worst, the mood of all the

16     convicts, by 30 per cent, I should say.  This is in contravention of any

17     standards that have to be ensured for convicts, for detainees, in the

18     world, in the civilised world.  We have to see the sun when it is sunny

19     and we have to have greenery where we take our walks.  This has been

20     completely abolished.

21             Different things are now happening in the prison.  There have

22     been ideas that we should collectively boycott the walk, but we are

23     unable to reach an agreement.  You know, convicts are divided amongst

24     themselves into those who think that they should curry favour with the

25     administration and the Registry and those who are a bit more rebellious,

Page 11296

 1     a bit more resolved, so that collective action is regrettably impossible.

 2     Perhaps that is because we are not true criminals, but high political

 3     leaders and police officials; and that is why we are unable to reach

 4     agreement.

 5             I think that this problem has to be solved and that you, as the

 6     Trial Chamber, on the basis of this individual grievance, should actually

 7     intervene with the President of the Court for the restitution of the old

 8     conditions for the walks.  For the sake of the health of convicts, the

 9     conditions in which we have our daily walks and the duration of those

10     walks is much more important than anything else.  It is much more

11     important than our daily food, and this is something that we learned in

12     our penology textbooks, and we learned this in our third year of studies.

13             The second question which I wanted to raise is this:  You know

14     well that I was given, on the 29th of September, the decision of the

15     Registrar that I would be no longer allowed to use the privileged

16     telephone.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] With respect to the first

18     matter you've raised, we're going to make some inquiries.  I, myself, had

19     no ideas that these two walks of one hour and 45 minutes were taking

20     place in a space with grass and trees in the past and that you now find

21     yourself in a space with only concrete around you because some tunnel,

22     supposedly, was built.  I suppose this tunnel was built or dug by the

23     prison authorities and not by detainees, but we'll make some inquiries.

24     Obviously, it's good for morale to be able to see the sun.  We'll make

25     some inquiries.

Page 11297

 1             Okay, tell us about this second matter.

 2             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just an additional

 3     piece of information.

 4             This tunnel was constructed for a purpose out of prefabricated

 5     elements.  A wall was punched to enable us access to this new courtyard,

 6     where there are no conditions.  So the tunnel is exclusively there for

 7     that purpose, to enable us to pass through this courtyard so that when we

 8     walk to the courtyard where we are going to take our walks, we cannot see

 9     the sun.

10             The second question is this:  You know that on the 29th of

11     September, the Registrar handed me a written decision prohibiting me from

12     using the so-called privileged telephone.  This decision had a deadline

13     of 30 days of application.  The 29th of September was the first day of

14     its application.  It was that day on which I was prohibited to further

15     use that telephone.  The decision expired yesterday.

16             The working hours of the Registrar ended today at 1730.  I have

17     not received another or a new decision, nor have I had any information,

18     so I don't know what happens now.  It had always been the practice for

19     information about the expiry of a specific measure to be given to the

20     person concerned, but in the contrary case, I should have received a

21     paper with the number of telephone of my legal adviser which I could show

22     to the guards so that they would make it possible for me to use that

23     telephone, because I do not do the dialing myself, the guards do, and

24     only that particular number which is on that piece of paper.  So this is

25     yet another violation of his official duty on the part of the Registrar.

Page 11298

 1     I cannot qualify it otherwise.

 2             This is what I had to say.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, I'm sure the Registry

 4     will inform us, based on the Rules.  Should there be a new tapping device

 5     for 30 days, you should be informed of it, as per the Rules.  It may be

 6     that you are being advised, because you're sitting here in this courtroom

 7     this afternoon and you might be informed later on, but I know nothing

 8     about this.  There again, I know that the Registry checks the transcript

 9     second by second.  I'm sure the Registry's aware that you have raised

10     these two issues, that inevitably the Judges will be informed.

11             With regard to next week, Mr. Seselj, for the time being, and I'm

12     saying "for the time being" because you never know, there are always

13     unforeseen things happening, we have VS-1017 [as interpreted] - I won't

14     mention the name because this is a protected witness - and we have

15     Ms. Bosanac, a 92 ter witness, and VS-1131.

16             Is there anything new, Ms. Dahl?

17             MS. DAHL:  Yes, Your Honour.  With respect, I'd like to correct

18     the pseudonym that appears on the transcript.  The witness for Tuesday is

19     VS-17.  If he doesn't appear, we'll proceed to Dr. Bosanac.  On

20     Wednesday, we will hear from VS-1131; and on Thursday, a new addition to

21     the schedule to try to ensure the timely use of the courtroom, VS-1119.

22             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] VS-1119, is that a 92 ter or a

23     viva voce witness?  I can't remember, Ms. Dahl.

24             MS. DAHL:  Your Honour, it's a 92 ter witness.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.

Page 11299

 1             Mr. Seselj, we have possibly four witnesses scheduled, VS-17,

 2     Ms. Bosanac, VS-1131, and VS-1119, it being understood that the last

 3     three are 92 ter witnesses.

 4             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, over these past two

 5     months I haven't been informed about this witness at all, VS-1119.  I'm

 6     looking through my papers right now.  I can't find him yet.  I don't have

 7     him on this schedule at all, on the list for the period until

 8     mid-December.  So this is quite a surprise.  I don't know who this is and

 9     I don't know whether I'll be in a position to prepare for that witness.

10     I simply cannot recall that this witness was mentioned at all, 1119.

11             Oh, yes, I know who that is, but that's also a 92 ter witness.

12     Now I know who that witness is.

13             You see, in respect of next week, 017 is the only one who's

14     testifying viva voce, and the Prosecutor's not sure whether this person

15     will come.  You know that this is a contentious witness, because this

16     witness said that he would be a Defence witness.  I have no contact with

17     this person, so I really don't know anything, I really don't know

18     anything.  All the others are 92 ter witnesses.  You can finish three

19     92 ter witnesses within one session, an hour and a half, because you know

20     I'm not going to examine them -- cross-examine them.  So the Prosecutor

21     is, in this way, letting us know that they haven't got enough material

22     for next week either.

23             We lost time last week, the week before that, this week one day.

24     I don't mind, because my throat is not very well, but this is wrong on

25     the part of the Prosecution, this manner of handling things is wrong.

Page 11300

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, in principle, we should

 2     have, at most, four witnesses or at least three for sure.  That's

 3     obvious.  And we have a schedule for the week after next.  The Trial

 4     Chamber is having a very close look at all this in order to ascertain

 5     which are the remaining witnesses, to see whether the Trial Chamber is to

 6     hand down rulings in this respect, so we're working on it.  Of course,

 7     our main concern is to avoid any gap in the scheduling, is to do our

 8     level best for all the witnesses to come.

 9             Whilst we are at it, Mr. Seselj, I had told you that the Trial

10     Chamber could reconvene after the recess as of the week before the 12th

11     of January, 2009, as early as on the 9th of January, back then.

12     Regarding the Tuesday, that's the -- Wednesday, that's the Orthodox new

13     year, if I'm not mistaken.  You didn't want to have any hearing on that

14     day, and I said it was not a problem, we could sit on the Tuesday, the

15     Thursday and the Friday.  But after thinking it over, I thought that it's

16     likely that there's not going to be any hearings on Thursday and Friday,

17     because other Trial Chambers would not have resumed yet.  It might be

18     better to sit on Thursday, say from 9.00 to 12.30 and from 2.30 to 5.00,

19     and on Friday we could do the same, so have a morning session and then

20     work until 4.00 or 4.30, so that in two days we would have worked as much

21     as if we'd been sitting for three days.  Is there any inconvenience for

22     you there?

23             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, if that is going to be an

24     exception only that week, I agree.  But you know of my problems with my

25     spine.  It's not like I asked for breaks like some witnesses here.

Page 11301

 1     However, it is a permanent problem, and when I wait for two hours here,

 2     it's in a cell, it's in an uncomfortable chair, and I cannot recline at

 3     all.

 4             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If ever during a hearing you

 5     were to experience back problems, if you would like us to stop, to have a

 6     break, do say so immediately.  So far, personally, I thought that you

 7     didn't have any problem, but I raised the issue during the pre-trial

 8     phase and you said that you were really firing on all cylinders, that

 9     there was no problem at all.  So maybe you need to walk about a little,

10     as it were, and if you need to just have a stretch, just say so.  We can

11     have a 15-minute break.  Of course, the Trial Chamber will accommodate

12     you, no problem at all.

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would just like to remind you

14     that I had three reasons when I asked to sit for only three days a week.

15     The first reason was the fact that I represent myself, and bearing in

16     mind the experience of the Milosevic case.

17             The second reason was asthma, and the third reason was problems

18     with my spine.  I've already had spine surgery once.  Those were the

19     three reasons I asked for the sittings only three days a week, and you

20     accepted that.  You understood those reasons, as a Pre-Trial Judge back

21     in those days, even.

22             However, if it is only going to be two days, if it is now going

23     to be a precedent that is going to be repeated later on, I don't mind; I

24     could take it for two days.  I would have a problem if that were to

25     become regular practice afterwards.

Page 11302

 1             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] No problem whatsoever.

 2             I'm now addressing the Prosecution.  Do you have any other

 3     matters?

 4             MR. MARCUSSEN:  No, Your Honour.

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have we gone through all your

 6     issues, Mr. Seselj?  If that is so, we shall adjourn to reconvene on

 7     Tuesday in the morning, I believe, at 8.30.

 8             Thank you.  The hearing stands adjourned.

 9                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.25 p.m.,

10                           to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of

11                           November, 2008, at 8.30 a.m.