1 Thursday, 8 January 2009
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please
6 call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom.
9 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
13 This is Thursday, and we are resuming our hearings. I would like
14 to welcome, first and foremost, everyone in the courtroom, the
15 representatives of the OTP, Mr. Seselj, our Registrar, the interpreters,
16 and everyone helping us. Of course, I would like to wish you the best
17 for this year. I hope that this year will provide you with everything
18 you want and you need.
19 As far as we're concerned, our schedule for this year is -- we
20 have a schedule of witnesses for this week. We have, for example, a
21 witness that is going to be testifying through video conference and that
22 has been granted protective measures. Because of this, we are about to
23 move into private session.
24 But I know that Mr. Seselj has a number of questions to raise
25 beforehand, so I'll give the floor to Mr. Seselj right away.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have four
2 administrative matters to raise. They've mounted up over the past 20
4 The first issue is this: I don't think it's important only for
5 me. I think it's important for the Tribunal as a whole, because against
6 me, in the Serbian media for quite some time now, there's been an
7 orchestrated campaign launched against me with very serious accusations,
8 accusations which have been repeated again and again, not only from
9 Tomislav Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic, but by other people as well,
10 saying that I, from The Hague
11 Tomislav Nikolic and that he managed to avoid that killing twice. I
12 demand that you tell the Registrar of the Tribunal to look through all my
13 telephone conversations, to listen in to them over the past four months,
14 and to make a statement to the public whether there are any traces in
15 those conversations of anything untoward, any allusions on my part,
16 telling people to do things like that. And within the space of four
17 months, I was only visited here in The Hague by my wife, and you know
18 full well that the Registry, when it comes to visits to me, was very
19 rigorous. I'm only allowed visits from my wife, my sister, my sons, my
20 grandchildren, my sister-in-law, and some legal advisers used to be able
21 to, but now that has been brought into question. No other relatives, no
22 other friends or acquaintances, are able to visit me.
23 And I consider that this is not just by chance. It's not by
24 chance that these things are being put out, accusing me of contract
25 killings, because this paints a picture in the public as somebody who's
1 ready to do things like that.
2 And let me remind you that parallel to that there is a contempt
3 of court hearing being prepared because of alleged intimidation of
4 witnesses, blackmailing and so on.
5 Now, in my opinion, these are things that are all linked up
6 together, and the latest piece of slander - and I don't have the
7 opportunity of making my own statements to the press - is that it is
8 claimed by the Serb media or in the Serb media, and it comes from the
9 same circle of people that have been putting up these rumours, that the
10 Serbian Radical Party is bargaining with the regime to have the budget
11 voted on and that it received 2 million Euros, that I took part in that,
12 and that I gave the okay for that money to be received.
13 Now, please, when the debate was conducted into the budget, I had
14 no visits at all. My wife didn't come to visit me, or my children nor
15 anybody else, so all my contacts could only have been through the
16 telephone, which was listened in to. I actively took part in
17 negotiation -- I did take part in negotiations about the budget, but it
18 is conditions set forth by my party, at my initiative, and it was
19 exclusively of a political nature and not financial or any form of
20 corruption at all.
21 And the Registry is duty-bound to make a statement to the public,
22 saying that they listened to all my telephone conversations and that
23 there was no question of me making up the condition that these 2 million
24 Euros be given from -- by the regime for the amendments to be withdrawn
25 and so that the budget can go ahead and be voted on on the 30th of
2 This can seem to you to be funny, not interesting, not important,
3 but for me it's very, very important, and there's no other way for me to
4 inform the public as to just how things stand, other than having the
5 Registry make a statement, or that you allow me to hold a telephone press
6 conference and then state my views and comments on all these issues.
7 What else can I do, because the papers are full of these things, saying
8 the Radicals got 2 million Euros, Seselj gave the go-ahead for bargaining
9 to be conducted for those 2 million Euros, and that Seselj had a contract
10 out for the killing of Nikolic and that two attempts were thwarted.
11 I think it's up to the Tribunal. If I really did order his
12 killing, then all of you are my accessories to the fact because you are
13 not reacting, and you have the possibility of controlling all my
14 conversations. If I really did take part in this kind of corruption and
15 an affair of this kind, then the Tribunal is my partner in crime, because
16 it is keeping facts secret.
17 So that would be the first issue that I wish to raise.
18 The second question is this -- can I go ahead with all my four
19 questions, all my four issues, Judges, if you agree? I think I'll be
20 able to do this in a short space of time.
21 The second point is this: I'd like to remind you that I still
22 have not been given the opportunity of contacting my legal advisers. I
23 have no cooperation with respect to the preparation of witnesses and
24 proofing of witnesses. I did have one visit from Marina Raguz and a
25 legal adviser, Boris Aleksic. The visit lasted half an hour. I gave
1 them some documents which I'm no longer going to use here. They brought
2 me some new documents, not anything of special importance. And then we
3 had two days of supervised visits, where the two of them and the other
4 two legal advisers were present, and to whom the Registry would not allow
5 privileged communication.
6 They brought us into some gas chamber in the prison, which means
7 a small room with no light -- daylight. Five of us were sitting there.
8 I cut the visit short because it was impossible to have five people in
9 this small room, so I cut short the visit. And we were -- there was a
10 camera, video camera, surveilling us all the time. We didn't discuss the
11 trial, because I didn't want to discuss the trial under those conditions,
12 so we talked about other things. But as I say, I have no cooperation
13 with my legal advisers.
14 I'm very satisfied with the work of Boris Aleksic as my legal
15 adviser, but he's just arrived quite recently, and I've engaged him to
16 work on questions of a procedural nature. He was given his task, and you
17 were able to see that he did his task well, although you said that it
18 needn't be translated into English, but it was my submission on 160 pages
19 about the violation of my procedural rights at the Hague Tribunal. And
20 let me also tell you on this occasion that I gave instructions for him to
21 prepare that if I undertake a hunger strike, if you take away my right to
22 defend myself, and then that I take a lawyer from America to launch
23 proceedings in that respect.
24 He never investigated in the field, he never gathered information
25 in the field, he never went out to seek witnesses, and for him to become
1 versed in all these matters, he would need at least one year, because the
2 other two advisers worked on these things for two years, so without their
3 work I cannot be helped. Zoran Krasic is invaluable to me.
4 The third point I wish to raise is this: The Prosecution has
5 still not provided me with -- disclosed to me all the materials it was
6 duty-bound to do, and the Prosecution said itself that it had no
7 intention of disclosing those materials, referring to certain
8 provisions of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. It did not provide
9 all the documents under 68 -- Rule 68(1) and the other materials that it
10 said it would to disclose to me.
11 Now, the fourth point I wish to raise is this: And let me just
12 mention in passing the question of financing, which still has not been
13 resolved, and since we still have a month to go of the Prosecution case,
14 and as the question of financing has not been resolved, and since I have
15 no cooperation with my legal advisers, there will be -- not be any
16 Defence case as yet. And I've instructed Zoran Krasic to start working
17 on the final argument, Defence final arguments, because as soon as the
18 Prosecution completes its Prosecution case, we're going to have our final
19 say and our closing arguments. I cannot conduct my defence without
20 cooperation from my associates and without my Defence being financed by
21 the Registry.
22 So that's what I had to tell you.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 Regarding the four items, the first item has to do with internal
25 politics in Serbia
1 following a project to assassinate Mr. Nikolic. Well, just like everyone
2 else, I saw in the press that references were made to this, and all I can
3 say is the following:
4 If the Registrar, through the tapping of telephone conversations,
5 had heard about this, this would have been communicated to the Trial
6 Chamber. However, the three Judges on this Bench were never told at any
7 moment about anything regarding your possible involvement in some kind of
8 project directed at Mr. Nikolic.
9 Secondly, if such a project actually occurred in Serbia, I assume
10 that the Serbian authorities, under the local prosecutor, must have
11 diligent -- must have made sure that an investigation was started in
12 order to shed light on this possible project. I have no information on
13 this. However, I believe that if there has been an assassination
14 attempt, I believe that the competent prosecutor must do something about
15 it. And if, in this investigation, you are involved in some respect, it
16 will be up to the Serbian legal authorities to evidence -- to give us
17 evidence on your alleged participation in this project.
18 Let me tell you that as far as this Tribunal is concerned, we
19 have absolutely no elements that would link you to this affair. So
20 everything is very clear as far as I'm concerned. You have absolutely
21 nothing to do with what happened over there. However, if a campaign has
22 been orchestrated, it may be something done by your political opponents,
23 but this is not in our -- is not in our competence, of course.
24 Secondly, possible amendments to the schedule -- to the budget
25 that had been negotiated between the Serbian Radical Party and the power
1 in place at the moment. I can tell you that as far as we're concerned,
2 as Judges, we have no elements regarding this. Notably, since my fellow
3 Judges and myself did not really follow the ins and outs of the voting on
4 the budget in your own country, I really cannot provide you with any
5 information on this topic. So that's the answer I can give you for your
6 first issue.
7 The second issue, an important one, and it has to do with your
8 legal advisers. You told us that Mr. Aleksic, the new adviser, met with
9 you. He drafted a 160-page document. We're waiting for this document to
10 be transmitted to us, of course, as soon as it'll be translated. You
11 just told us this legal adviser who is new to your team needs at least
12 one year to be able to know of the case, whereas -- because the former
13 adviser, Zoran Krasic, had spent years studying your case.
14 Let's be very clear. Regarding Mr. Krasic, what is our position.
15 The Registrar withdrew Mr. Krasic's accreditation, which made it possible
16 for this adviser to have privileged contact with you. However, legally
17 you can have -- you can't [as interpreted] be in relation with Mr. Krasic
18 as long as you do not disclose any confidential information to this
20 Regarding the rest, of course you can continue to work with
21 Mr. Krasic. The Trial Chamber is not forbidding you to do this. The
22 only thing the Registrar forbade you to do was -- was to -- for
23 Mr. Krasic to call you through the telephone line that had been set up
24 for such communication. Moment -- this accreditation is momentarily
25 suspended. However, of course you can call him on the phone through your
1 other telephone, through the public telephone line, in order to talk to
2 him, just like you're also allowed to send mail to him. And he's
3 allowed, of course, to send you documents, memos, maybe draft motions
4 that you could sign, yourself. So as far as this is concerned, I see no
5 big problem here.
6 However, there could be a problem regarding the funding, which
7 was your fourth question raised.
8 Now, regarding funding, things are very simple. The Registrar
9 had asked you to provide him with information on your financial
10 situation, bank accounts and so on, and you gave him some information,
11 but not sufficiently. And the Registrar wanted more information than
12 what you actually gave him, so while the -- in the meanwhile, waiting for
13 this information, the Registrar decided to suspend all funding. So,
14 technically, you have another option. You can write a motion to the
15 Trial Chamber, telling them that, in your motion -- telling them in your
16 motion that this infringes your rights, and then the Trial Chamber will
17 see -- will decide whether it is competent or not. But there is a
18 technical possibility. You can seize the Trial Chamber with a motion
19 regarding your financing, and you can also seize the President of this
20 Tribunal of the same issue.
21 However, regarding the President of the Tribunal, this morning I
22 read a decision he wrote regarding -- he made on the telephone
23 supervision, and there he was referring the issue to the Appeals Chamber.
24 So as President of the Tribunal, he believes that he should not be
25 involved in such decision. You know, of course, that we have a new
1 President, and a new President sometimes means new policies.
2 And I will also inform you, in case you don't know, that the
3 Registrar was not reconducted [as interpreted] in his post, and it is the
4 Deputy Registrar that is acting as the Registrar at the moment, and we
5 might have a new Registrar later on. All this occurred, to my surprise,
6 at the end of December.
7 Now, back to your third issue regarding the videos. As far as
8 videos are concerned, the Trial Chamber rendered its decision, asking for
9 an additional study of the legal consequences of a possible broadcast of
10 these videos, requesting an expert opinion on this, so we're waiting for
11 the expert report. We're expecting it for January 12, which is next
13 Finally, it seems that there are two techniques; either we will
14 be told that there is no legal problem, and then everything will be
15 freely disclosed to you, or we'll be told that there are some copyright
16 problems, and in that case the videos could be disclosed to you very
17 quickly, but you would not be allowed to use them outside, or you would
18 not be able to disclose them to the outside.
19 That's, in a nutshell, our answer -- my answer to your four
21 I would also like to raise another issue, but maybe you would
22 first rather answer, Mr. Seselj.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, just briefly.
24 The Boris Aleksic submission you received with my response at the
25 Prosecution's request to impose counsel on me, and I have got an order
1 from the Trial Chamber to -- that that report be rejected in English, and
2 the report is now being supplemented and it's ready, if I bring a lawsuit
3 against the United Nations, if I decide to do so. But I hope it is less
4 probable now that there is any danger of imposing counsel on me, but
5 should that happen, that's what I'm going to do.
6 And secondly, Mr. President, you haven't given an answer with
7 respect to my request to allow me to hold a telephone press conference,
8 and I would pledge not to speak about Tribunal matters but to speak
9 exclusively about matters with respect to the campaign against me
10 launched in the Serb media. I think that that is something that is quite
11 possible, because I've been in detention for six years now, after all,
12 and I do have the right to protect myself where somebody attacks me when
13 it's not within this Tribunal. And I raised my doubts and expressed them
14 to you, and I said that I think that these matters are linked to the
15 campaign against me, in general.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I believe I have
17 answered very clearly to your questions. I told you that as far as it
18 was concerned, the Trial Chamber had no elements that might involve you
19 in any kind of criminal project, alleged criminal project, that might
20 have been carried out in Serbia
22 Second answer: Technically, you have means to protect yourself
23 in Serbia
24 you. You can initiate proceedings against those that would be slandering
25 you, or against newspapers that would be disseminating libelous or false
1 allegations, and you have associates. Don't ask the Tribunal to come and
2 support you, to come and support your political action in Serbia
3 is not our mandate at all. We're not here to allow you to organise a
4 press conference aimed at defending yourself in Serbia.
5 I remember that Mr. Krasic had held press conferences almost
6 routinely every day, you know, to keep people abreast of the situation,
7 and he can go on over there doing the same thing in order to clear you
8 from all these accusations that might occur at the moment against you.
9 We [as interpreted] will deliberate on your request with my
10 fellow Judges. I cannot tell you right away that the Trial Chamber is
11 granting it or rejecting it, but I'm giving you my personal opinion at
12 the moment. And then -- but I can tell you also that we will deliberate
13 on this among ourselves very quickly.
14 I will now ask out Registrar to move to private session, because
15 I would like to deal with next week's schedule.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're now in private session.
17 [Closed session]
11 Pages 13020-13142 redacted. Closed session.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.05 p.m.
11 to be reconvened on Friday, the 9th day of January,
12 2009, at 9.00 a.m.