Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 90

1 Thursday, 20 November 2003 [Status Conference]

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 11.34 a.m.

5 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Good day to everyone. And I

6 would like to ask Madam Registrar to call the case number, please.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Case Number IT-96-23/2-PT, The Prosecutor versus

8 Radovan Stankovic.

9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Madam.

10 Could we have the appearances, please.

11 MS. SELLERS: Good morning, Your Honour. I am Patricia Sellers

12 for the Prosecution, and I am assisted by Mr. Sachdeva, and our case

13 manager is Ms. Mirkovic.

14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you. And appearances for

15 the Defence counsel, please.

16 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. My name

17 is Milenko Radovic from Foca, Serbia. And I am Defence counsel for the

18 accused, Mr. Radovan Stankovic.

19 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I would like to

20 remind the parties that the last Status Conference was held on the 8th of

21 July, so this conference should have taken place around the 8th of

22 November; but given the circumstances, it was not possible to hold the

23 Status Conference at that date.

24 I will now like to turn to Mr. Stankovic and ask him whether he

25 is able to follow the proceedings in a language that he understand.

Page 91

1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. El Mahdi, but I would like

2 to ask you, after the Prosecution and the Defence have addressed, I would

3 like you to allow me to say a few words on my behalf.

4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. Of course,

5 thank you.

6 I'll now turn to the Prosecution to inform them of my concerns.

7 Very briefly, you asked for the indictment to be amended and leave was

8 granted you to do so. And you should have presented your pre-trial brief

9 by the 10th or the 8th of October, I think. You asked for an extension

10 of the time limit. And quite recently, in a motion that you presented,

11 you requested on the 6th of November -- you stated that you had the

12 intention of amending the indictment.

13 So what concerns me is that after this entire period, you have

14 stated your intention to amend the indictment yet again. This does put

15 the Defence in a difficult position. How is the Defence to organise

16 effectively its Defence, its case, if it still is not aware of the

17 charges levelled against the accused? So if you could provide me a

18 little additional information, I would be grateful. And if you could

19 inform the Defence as well of what the current situation is, I would be

20 grateful. Thank you.

21 MS. SELLERS: I thank you, Your Honour, for explicitly raising

22 those concerns. I would like to discuss first a little bit of the

23 procedural approach that has caused the amendment to this indictment. We

24 were informed in September that there might possibly be an alibi defence

25 coming from the Defence; that had not been certain. To that extent, we

Page 92

1 undertook a bit more investigation. Because of that investigation, there

2 have been new facts that have been revealed to us, and these facts we

3 were going to place in the initial pre-trial brief. As Your Honour

4 correctly states, we then moved to have the date of the pre-trial brief

5 postponed, pushed back. We decided in looking at these facts that it was

6 not sufficient, given the recent jurisprudence that this Tribunal has

7 issued via Simic, taking into account the appellate jurisprudence of

8 Krnojelac, we thought that we could not put facts in our pre-trial brief

9 that we did not raise competently with a view of due process from the

10 Defence -- for the Defence in an amended indictment. Because of those

11 reasons, and we do say that our facts that have come to our attention,

12 that would change the different allegations, not the underlying of the

13 counts for the Defence, that we have asked to have the second day of the

14 pre-trial brief vacated, and we will file a motion for leave to amend the

15 indictment.

16 I would like to ask my colleague, Mr. Sachdeva, to go into more

17 details as to the nature what we propose the new amended indictment would

18 be. I think Your Honour might more fully understand the reason that we

19 do feel compelled to ask the Trial Chamber's guidance, but also to ask

20 them to grant us this amended indictment. If I may, Your Honour.

21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you. But I think that I

22 need a few clarifications because in your submission - that is to say, in

23 the motion that you submitted on the 6th of November - you said, and I

24 quote, it's paragraph 2: "The Prosecution is now in possession of facts

25 that substantially modify the allegation contained in the current

Page 93

1 indictment."

2 So you're talking about a substantial amendment, and this is what

3 is a matter of concern for me, given that I have to apply the law and see

4 that justice is done. Now you are telling us that you want to make a

5 substantial amendment to the allegations. Try to put yourself in the

6 position of the Defence and of the accused. After so much time has

7 passed, I can understand that if there are new facts, you are obliged, it

8 is your duty for the sake of justice, to take that into consideration

9 because before being a Prosecutor, you're first and foremost someone who

10 represents the law. And all of us who are present here want to see that

11 justice is done.

12 So could you please enlighten me as to what this concerns

13 exactly, how much time are you requesting in order to present a

14 definitive position. Thank you.

15 MS. SELLERS: Certainly, Your Honour. We will be able to clarify

16 for you the substantial changes. Let me just say at this point my

17 colleague, Mr. Sachdeva, will go into more detail. For example, some of

18 the substantial changes is one of the allegations of sexual violence, one

19 of the factual allegation of sexual violence, we would like to say now

20 that that will be removed from the indictment. There will be other facts

21 that will be placed in the indictment. We have not changed the charges;

22 we have not changed basically the outlook that occurred. There are other

23 facts that have come to light that in essence will substantiate the

24 charges, and many of the facts remain the same. But we wanted to have an

25 indictment that clearly sets forth the criminal conduct of the accused so

Page 94

1 that he will be able to mount an efficient Defence.

2 Might I ask the Presiding Judge to listen to my colleague as he

3 goes into details about the changes and our anticipated date of filing

4 the amended indictment, with Your Honour's position.

5 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] That's fine. But initially, I

6 would like to ask you if you can how much time you will be needing.

7 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, it is anticipated, as a matter of fact

8 filing a motion asking for leave to amend the indictment between the week

9 of the 14th and 18th of December. We have most of the factual

10 allegations in a prepared draft of amending the indictment; we are

11 awaiting for just confirmation of one other fact. If Your Honour feels

12 that that time period is an adequate delay for the Defence to be apprised

13 further of the case, we would like to emphasise even though there might

14 be substantial changes, these are changes that are pertinent and

15 relevant. They do not modify in any way the place that we allege the

16 crime took place, the nature of the crime, the victims of the crime, the

17 accused. We just define a bit more the role of the accused, Your

18 Honour. We try to be more specific in the certain natures of the

19 sexual-assault allegations. We believe that it is only in fairness to

20 the accused that this modified amended indictment will highlight in a way

21 that will best allow him to mount a Defence.

22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, counsel. If I

23 understand you correctly, you would like me to give the floor to your

24 case manager so that we can spell this out more clearly, please.

25 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Presiding Judge.

Page 95

1 As Ms. Sellers has indicated to you, the changes are going to be

2 to the underlying facts in the indictment, so they do not pertain to the

3 charges, the eight charges that we have alleged thus far. Basically they

4 concern the movement of some of the victims within Karaman's house, the

5 time period when they may have left, when they arrived at the house, and

6 more information as to the exact role of the accused in the house, the

7 kind of activities he undertook that we allege enhance his superiority

8 role in the house. There is also information with respect to the time

9 period within which the accused was actually at Karaman's house. And as

10 Ms. Sellers has indicated, we feels it's essential, given the recent

11 jurisprudence in Kupreskic, the recent Appeals Chamber jurisprudence, to

12 be as precise as possible in the indictment, in so doing we believe the

13 Defence will be more able to meet the case and mount its Defence; if it

14 pleases you, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I would now like to

16 hear the Defence counsel, please.

17 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence would

18 first like to emphasise that after the last Status Conference, and in

19 accordance with the agreement signed on disclosure, we started with

20 reciprocal disclosure. And this reciprocal disclosure is proceeding

21 without any problems and we are sure that both parties will continue to

22 behave in accordance with the agreement and Rule 66 and 67 of the Rules

23 of Procedure and Evidence. After the last Status Conference with Mr.

24 Wubben, I had a conversation with Mr. Wubben regarding Mr. Stankovic

25 giving an interview. The Prosecution is interested in this. I can only

Page 96

1 say that I was also in favour of Mr. Stankovic giving an interview today,

2 and I have told him what advantages there would be in cooperating with

3 the Prosecution in this way. But with regard to whether the accused will

4 testify himself or not, it is my understanding that this is the accused's

5 exclusive right, and thus it is Mr. Stankovic's right. I, as Mr.

6 Stankovic's counsel, will respect whatever he decides to do. This is my

7 duty as -- according to the lawyers' code.

8 The Defence has decided that we will follow the order of the

9 Pre-Trial Judge with regard to pre-trial briefs. This was not done, and

10 the Defence counsel considers that this was probably the result of the

11 Prosecution not being prepared for the beginning of the trial even though

12 over a year and a half has passed since Mr. Stankovic arrived in The

13 Hague. The letter of the Defence that was provided to the Prosecution in

14 which they were informed that Mr. Stankovic's Defence might consist of an

15 alibi defence as well for a certain period, in our opinion, this doesn't

16 give the Prosecution the right to request that the indictment be amended.

17 So far, the indictment has been amended on two occasions by the

18 Prosecution, and this shows that the investigation has been carried out

19 in the case of Mr. Stankovic, or rather that this Court is not such that

20 it would justify issuing the indictment. The Prosecution's request to be

21 granted leave to amend the indictment hasn't been explained sufficiently

22 so that it could be accepted and so that there could be new witnesses

23 searched for after two amendments were made to the indictment in

24 accordance with orders that were issued.

25 The third -- to amend the indictment on a third occasion -

Page 97

1 although nothing has happened in the proceedings, although it hasn't been

2 presented by evidence that would justify the request to amend the

3 indictment - delays the proceedings and make the work of the Defence

4 counsel more difficult. And we were expecting the trial to start soon.

5 The Prosecution has had enough time since the first indictment

6 was issued against Mr. Stankovic on the 7th of July 1996 to carry out

7 further investigations. If they have failed to do so after seven years,

8 then Defence would like to know how it would be possible to grant the

9 Prosecution leave to amend the indictment a third time and thus to delay

10 the proceedings.

11 I would like to point out to the fact that the registry has to

12 take more account of the promptness with which I am informed. According

13 to the Rules, this Status Conference should have been held on the 9th of

14 November 2003 at the latest. To prepare Mr. Stankovic's Defence, I was

15 away on a visit from the 16th -- from the 12th to the 16th of November.

16 The registry was aware of this. But it was only when I returned from

17 Srbinje that I was informed that a Status Conference was scheduled for

18 the 18th of November 2003. I was not in a position to return in one day,

19 not because of other duties that I had, but because I couldn't obtain a

20 plane ticket since there's not a direct flight from Sarajevo to

21 Amsterdam. So I would again like to ask the registry with respect to our

22 communication that in addition to using phones and faxes, they use email.

23 This is the best and safest way of communicating.

24 In addition, Mr. Stankovic has informed me that he sent two

25 submissions to the Trial Chamber. Your Honour, I would now like to

Page 98

1 inform you that these are his personal submissions. They are not my

2 submissions.

3 And finally, with regard to the Prosecution's request for an

4 extension of time limit to file its pre-trial brief, the Defence counsel

5 hasn't received a formal request of the Prosecution through the Trial

6 Chamber. The request was sent to the Defence only after the Trial

7 Chamber's decision on the 15th of October 2003. So the Defence counsel

8 does not accept that they failed to respond to the request as is stated

9 in your order dated the 9th of October 2003. Thank you.

10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Counsel. I would now

11 like to check out something in your submission. You mentioned something

12 concerning an interview with the Prosecution. What is this about,

13 please?

14 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] The interview, it's about an

15 interview with Mr. Stankovic.

16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, but what was the interview

17 about?

18 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] With regard to him giving an

19 interview.

20 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Do you know which subject was

21 discussed in the course of this interview? And will you be present?

22 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] It was only a matter of whether Mr.

23 Stankovic wanted to give an interview. But we didn't discuss the facts

24 or subjects that would be discussed.

25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. But in the

Page 99

1 event that Mr. Stankovic decides that this interview will -- that he will

2 be present at this interview, I assume you will be present also.

3 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] If he agrees to that, yes, of

4 course, I will be present. But that is his right. This concerns an

5 important part of his Defence, and I have stated that this is his

6 exclusive right.

7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand full well.

8 Thank you.

9 Mr. Stankovic, you have asked to have the floor this morning.

10 Could you tell us what this is about, please.

11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. El Mahdi.

12 Mr. El Mahdi, I would first of all like you to grant me 30

13 minutes to say what I have to say in a calm manner so I don't have to

14 fight to speak and so that you don't prevent me from speaking after half

15 a minute, which is what you have done so far. And one of the reasons --

16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Listen, Mr. Stankovic, listen.

17 There are a number of rules that you need to abide by. I shall give you

18 the floor, and I will give you all the time you need for you to be able

19 to express yourself and say everything you need to say. Nevertheless, we

20 do have some time constraints, and if you could in 10 minutes explain to

21 us what it is you want to say, I shall grant you 10 minutes.

22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'll try. And I'll see how much I

23 manage to say. But I think I'll need 30 minutes. Thank you.

24 So one of the reasons for which I speak fast, and this makes it

25 difficult for the interpreters to follow, is the fact that I'm trying to

Page 100

1 say as much as possible in a short period of time because you interrupt

2 me; you prevent me from speaking. I think you should be patient and you

3 should try to listen to me, the accused, and everything that -- all the

4 matters that I will address now, problems that are in general presented

5 at Status Conferences.

6 You all have documents, rules saying what matters you should

7 address, and so I have also made some notes for myself in order to save

8 time. And since I'm often interrupted, I made these notes so that I

9 would remember what I wanted to say.

10 Mr. El Mahdi, you yourself said that a Status Conference is not a

11 trial. It is a conference that is held according to Rule 65 bis every

12 120 days. And at such conferences, current problems are dealt with and

13 resolved, and all the problems that I am now going to mention are very

14 important for me. So I would like to ask you to be patient and to listen

15 to me because your Rules do not state that a Status Conference should

16 last no more than 10 or 15 minutes, which has been the case to date. I

17 don't see a reason for -- I don't see any reason for a Status Conference

18 not to last for an hour or two if that is necessary.

19 Problems have to be presented by the Prosecution, the counsel,

20 the Defence counsel, and the accused. The Prosecution and Mr. Radovic

21 probably don't have much to say, but I do because this concerns myself,

22 and I don't want to be manipulated. And many matters are omitted.

23 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Please, get to the point,

24 Mr. Stankovic. I am presiding over this courtroom, and this is my sole

25 right. Therefore, nobody can chastise me, and I am speaking on behalf of

Page 101

1 the law here. So I shall grant you the time you request, but you should

2 not misuse your time. You have time to speak, but your time is limited,

3 and I shall see to that. And I hope that we understood each other well,

4 and I hope that I shall not have to interrupt you.

5 Please, focus on the most important points.

6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. El Mahdi. It wasn't

7 my intention to lecture anyone here, and especially not to lecture you.

8 All I want to do is to inform you of the problems to date. I haven't had

9 time --

10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Please go ahead.

11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could you inform the interpreters

12 that they should translate what I say, and they shouldn't improvise and

13 change the sense of the sentences. I'm drawing your attention to this

14 fact because I recently received a written translation of a sessions

15 where it says "Greater Serbia" where I said "a great Serbia". And then

16 the interpreter says "Your Honour, most Honourable Judge", et cetera; and

17 I never said that. My approach to these matters is, Well, no; I don't

18 want to provide extra details and waste time on this. But the

19 interpreters should respect this position of mine and try not to say

20 things that I didn't say.

21 I don't want to show disrespect, especially not towards you, Mr.

22 El Mahdi. When I address you, I say "Mr. El Mahdi," when I address you

23 as Mr. El Mahdi, I don't think that this is a sign of disrespect. On the

24 contrary, I respect you as a man, but I never say "Honourable Judge El

25 Mahdi" or "Your Honour" because I do not appreciate this. I do not

Page 102

1 honour you --

2 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stankovic, this is not a

3 subject discussed at a Status Conference. If you continue in this vein,

4 and if you wish to pursue the matter in this way, I think anybody can

5 accept what you are currently saying.

6 Will you please concentrate on matters of substance here. And I

7 hope that I will not have to act in a way which I don't usually like to

8 do.

9 For the last time, please focus on what is essential.

10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Judge El Mahdi. All I

11 wanted to say is that the interpreters are not doing their job correctly.

12 That's why I have said what I have said. I remember quite well when

13 talking about the second amended indictment, it was interpreted that I

14 don't understand you or the amendment. So now I'm asking myself whether

15 you said that anywhere.

16 Judge El Mahdi, I'm saying these things in order to avoid

17 misunderstandings because the question is how are they translating from

18 the Serbian into French and vice versa, because in the interpretation is

19 not precise, then the sense is changed. Misunderstandings arise. This

20 is a very serious question because one error in translation can cause

21 serious problems. If this is what the translation or interpretation is

22 now, then I can only imagine what the interpretation will be in the

23 course of the trial when they interpret things I didn't say or when you,

24 Mr. El Mahdi, are interpreted as saying something you didn't say. This

25 is why I'm requesting that the interpretation be precise. I'm not at all

Page 103

1 concerned by the nationality of the interpreter, but I want a literal

2 interpretation of what I say, and I want the interpretation I receive to

3 be a precise interpretation into the Serbian language. And furthermore,

4 I would like to say that these interpreters - as I have already said, I

5 am not concerned about the nationality - they have studied the Croatian

6 and Serbian language, they were not in a position to study the Bosnian

7 because it was invented. But they should interpret me into Serbian, not

8 into their mother tongue, not into the mother tongue of the interpreters.

9 I think we have understood ourselves, and could the translation into the

10 Serbian language be provided to me after every session so I could check

11 the precision of the interpretation.

12 The Bosnians, or rather the Muslims in Bosnia call themselves

13 Bosniaks; now they want some sort of a Bosnian language and they speak in

14 Serbian. It would be as if you had Americans who speak in English, but

15 they decided to declare that the language they spoke was American.

16 Judge El Mahdi, do we Serbs have to repeat hundreds of times that

17 the interpretation for Serbs should be into the Serbian language? So the

18 Serbs are being denied their right to receive interpretation into their

19 mother tongue, and this is only being done in the case of Serbs. The

20 interpretation should be into a language that the accused understands. I

21 might understand French or English, but that's not my mother tongue. And

22 therefore, no interpretation should be necessary, according to those

23 rules.

24 If the Tribunal has invented some sort of B/C/S language, that's

25 your problem. But I would like to receive interpretation into my own

Page 104

1 mother tongue. Should that Albanians also understand Serbian, but they

2 receive interpretation into Albanian. All Croats understand the Serbian

3 language, but they receive interpretation into the Croatian language. So

4 why don't receive interpretation into the Serbian language? So what is

5 being done is a crime.

6 Furthermore, Judge El Mahdi, all I have certain problems with my

7 hearing and I have neck pains, I haven't complained about this. At the

8 last Status Conference, I mentioned this since my Defence counsel,

9 Mr. Radovic, has reproached me for being aggressive and for not behaving

10 correctly. Mr. Radovic was convinced of this, or the Prosecution managed

11 to convince him of this and exerted psychological pressure on him, and

12 Mr. Radovic failed to recognise this fact. Since I was unable to

13 convince Mr. Radovic of this matter, the issue of my behaviour at the

14 last Status Conference was raised. And Mr. El Mahdi, you understood

15 Mr. Radovic on that occasion, and you thought -- you said that you

16 thought that my behaviour was quite correct and there were no objections

17 to raise. And I thank you for that.

18 Since Mr. Radovic was convinced that I was behaving in an

19 inappropriate way, he tried to explain this by mentioning my health

20 condition and spoke about my speech defects, and he described me as he

21 did. I have nothing to say about that. But if my Defence is working

22 against my interests in this manner, then I can only imagine what sort of

23 a Defence I will have. And this is why, Mr. El Mahdi, I would like to

24 actively participate in my Defence because I don't want to be

25 manipulated. I want to actively participate in my Defence.

Page 105

1 And finally, why should anyone be worried if I shout because of

2 my hearing? Why should anyone object to the way I speak? I'm not a

3 language professor. I have been falsely accused, and I'm defending

4 myself according to my own abilities with regard to these comments that

5 concern my behaviour, I'm not going to address this matter because these

6 comments have no weight. The Prosecution and Mr. Radovic should be

7 concerned with accusations, and they should do their work. Mr. Radovic

8 is not a doctor; he should do his work as Defence counsel and that is

9 all.

10 Furthermore, Judge El Mahdi, in addition to the fact that I have

11 been falsely accused by the Prosecution, the Prosecution is exerting a

12 lot of pressure through my Defence counsel, Mr. Radovic, in order to

13 obtain an interview from me. I don't know what sort of an interview the

14 Prosecution wants from me. First of all, the Prosecutor is not a

15 journalist, so I don't see why I should give them an interview.

16 Secondly, the Prosecution is not a priest, so there's no need for me to

17 confess to the Prosecution. I am an accused; I am not a witness for the

18 Prosecution. So I do not know what sort of an interview the Prosecution

19 wants to obtain from me by exerting pressure. So please, Judge El Mahdi,

20 could you draw the attention of the Prosecution that they cooperate with

21 Mr. Radovic because this pressure from the Prosecution cannot waver me,

22 and I don't attribute any significance to them. But my Defence counsel,

23 Mr. Radovic, is being influenced by them, and so he will not say what he

24 has to say.

25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Let's be clear about this. You

Page 106

1 have raised two to three very important issues. The most important issue

2 is the one relating to the interview with the Prosecution. And I would

3 like to specify this, please, because I need to indicate that nobody can

4 force you to say things which you don't want to say. And I would now

5 like to turn to the Prosecution. Is this right? Has there been a lot of

6 pressure exerted on the accused? This would not serve his interests or,

7 let me say, this would be against his own free will.

8 MS. SELLERS: [Previous interpretation continues] ... very

9 important question. I would like to state clearly that the Office of the

10 Prosecutor is in no way putting any pressure, neither on learned counsel,

11 the accused, or anyone related to the Defence team in terms of an

12 interview. It is the policy of the Office of the Prosecution to request

13 via Defence counsel all accused if they would like to have an interview

14 with the Office of the Prosecutor concerning -- concerning the

15 allegations contained in the indictment.

16 In previous cases, there have been some accused who would like to

17 discuss in a very structured manner, with the presentation of their

18 counsel, the presence of an interpreter, and the presence of the

19 Prosecution, the allegations contained in the indictment. That has been

20 the request that has been put forward through learned counsel.

21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] If I've understood you

22 correctly, this is just an invitation.

23 MS. SELLERS: [Previous interpretation continues] ...

24 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So rest assured, Mr. Stankovic,

25 nobody -- neither your counsel nor the Prosecution -- nobody is exerting

Page 107

1 any kind of pressure on you. And if I have understood you correctly --

2 and I don't want to address this in great detail, I don't wish to

3 understand what the nature of your relationship with your counsel is, who

4 is doing things in a very professional manner and also doing things very

5 appropriately -- if -- what happens between you is something which

6 happens between you two; you can tell him what you like. He can advise

7 you. But your Defence counsel is bound by professional secrecy, and what

8 happens between you remains between you, and therefore I think you should

9 feel quite comfortable about this. You do what you like, and nobody can

10 exert any kind of pressure on you.

11 But one can provide counsel, one can advise you. And if this

12 comes from the counsel, this would be with a view to helping you. This

13 does not come from the Prosecution. And you heard from the Prosecution

14 that no kind of pressure was being exerted on you. Therefore, that, I

15 think, is an important issue which I wanted to clear.

16 The other issue I would like to address which is equally

17 important concerns the issue of simultaneous translation. I must say

18 that I do admire the work of my -- of the interpreters that perform

19 high-quality work. And you said that the translation into French, I can

20 tell you that I'm getting translation into English, and if I'm speaking

21 French I also get the translation into English. So I am able to check

22 the translation, i.e., both the French and the English. If at any point

23 in time you question a word or something that is being translated, you

24 can, of course, raise the matter before this Court and in that case, we

25 will make the necessary correction. But I think that you should feel the

Page 108

1 same as I do, that the interpreters are doing an excellent job. And

2 basically, this Court can only operate thanks to the simultaneous

3 interpreters.

4 So from what I understand, you have mentioned the most important

5 points you wish to talk to us today about. If you have anything to add,

6 I shall be quite happy to give you the floor again. But please, focus on

7 the most essential matters and be brief because I'd rather not have a

8 monologue and have a dialogue instead. So to make sure that between you

9 yourself and your counsel, and the Prosecution, and I myself, that we can

10 go ahead with this case. You have the floor, Mr. Stankovic.

11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. But Judge El Mahdi, I'm

12 not sufficiently clever to say everything I want to say in one sentence

13 because it's quite simply impossible.

14 When I said what I said about the interpretation, I really have

15 nothing personally against the interpreters. I also --

16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Please, there's one other point

17 I would like to mention. Please address another issue now.

18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would just like to give you an

19 example. I never said "Your Honour"; never. But in the written

20 translations I have noticed this is how it was interpreted.

21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stankovic, please, it is due

22 respect to the Tribunal. The honourable people, the interpreters say

23 "Your Honour," and there is nothing wrong about this. Nothing wrong

24 about that translation. So please, let's move on to another topic.

25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] As far as the Prosecution and

Page 109

1 interview is concerned, I haven't finished what I wanted to say about

2 that. You interrupted me. I fully understand my Defence counsel,

3 Mr. El Mahdi; the Rules are such that counsel is punished for the most

4 minor things, and that is why the Prosecution exerts pressure on Defence

5 counsel because they're aware that this will bear fruit, and this is why

6 I have remained alone against all. And this is why I'm asking you, Judge

7 El Mahdi, to grant me leave to actively participate in my Defence in

8 addition to having Mr. Radovic as my Defence. This will give me the

9 possibility of contesting the arguments presented by the Prosecution.

10 I would like to address the Prosecution to tell them that they

11 shouldn't try to influence me through my counsel, Mr. Radovic. And you

12 have said that I would be able to visit my family and have other

13 privileges if I give you an interview. These privileges don't only mean

14 nothing to me. I quite simply don't want to think about this. The

15 dignity of my family and myself is not something that I will sell for

16 free plane tickets --

17 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stankovic, please, for the

18 last time, please, we have reached the following conclusion: Nobody can

19 exert any kind of pressure on you. Therefore, please, I beg of you, we

20 are now to address a different issue.

21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. I just have one more

22 other sentence. Thank you, Judge El Mahdi.

23 The Prosecution can do everything. They have the power, but

24 there is one thing that they can't do. They can't force me by exerting

25 psychological pressure to confess to something that I didn't do, confess

Page 110

1 to something that someone else did. So this is something you will never

2 be able to do, even if I never manage to escape from your dungeons.

3 Furthermore, the Prosecution says they are not prepared for a

4 trial, and they have asked for an extension of the time limits. And at

5 the Status Conference of the 5th of November 2003 [sic], Mr. Mundis said,

6 and I quote, "that the Prosecution expects that this trial could commence

7 in the spring of next year." We can see now that a year has passed and

8 the Prosecution are still not prepared for trial, and with the second

9 amended indictment they are just trying to buy time because this second

10 amended indictment is also ridiculous, because I am being accused twice

11 on the same counts, rather four times. The indictment is such that the

12 Prosecution doesn't have a basis for saying that they are not prepared

13 for a trial, and they have no basis to ask for an extension of the time

14 limit. And this is why I'm asking you, Judge El Mahdi, to protect my

15 basic human rights. I have been detained here for over a year without

16 any evidence and on the basis of a false indictment, and on the basis of

17 the Prosecution's argument that they need time to prepare and amend the

18 indictment. You can't change these indictments as if -- whenever you

19 feel like it and not allow me to say anything.

20 Judge El Mahdi, I think that as the accused, I have the right

21 to --

22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stankovic, before you took

23 the floor, I think I had been pretty explicit. I turned to the

24 Prosecutor to make sure this point would be clarified, and I did say so

25 quite clearly. You can turn to the transcripts of this hearing if you so

Page 111

1 wish.

2 And I have been very clear. And I was concerned about the fact

3 that this was rather slow. You raised an issue which I was concerned

4 about right from the outset. So I intervened because on behalf of

5 justice. Therefore, if I would like to address another issue, you may.

6 But that will be the last time I give you the floor.

7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I just

8 want to address the matter of my health, my psychological and physical

9 health. Judge El Mahdi, my health is what you want it to be. You have

10 detained me. You are extending my period of detention. And given that I

11 am detained, I can't be in a good condition. I feel as if I've been

12 through some machine that has had a bad effect on me, that has crumpled

13 me, so I am thinking of coming in jeans and a T-shirt because you are not

14 giving me the possibility of dressing in a respectable way. I wouldn't

15 like to scare you in the way that you scare me in your dark clothing, so

16 I can't even recognise my Defence counsel in his dark robes.

17 At the Status Conference, I also spoke about this, about

18 transport, and you said that was being provided in accordance with the

19 rules of this country, of the Netherlands. But I'm not detained by the

20 Netherlands; I have nothing to do with the Netherlands. I am detained by

21 the United Nations, as you yourself said, and as I have already said,

22 according to the Rules, Rule 83, it doesn't mention wearing a flak

23 jacket, it mentions handcuffs. So the United Nations handcuffs me, and

24 it is the Netherlands that makes me wear a flak jacket. And now I am

25 asking myself when I am being transported from the dungeons to these

Page 112

1 premises, am I being provided illegal passage through the Netherlands --

2 the country of the Netherlands? The criminals who have even admitted to

3 their crimes such as Erdemovic are given the prizes, five years in

4 prison, they don't even serve their sentence. And people such as myself,

5 who have been falsely accused, are presented as even greater monsters

6 than criminals such as Mr. Erdemovic.

7 Judge El Mahdi, I apologise, but this is something I have to say.

8 You have also failed to respect Rule 65 bis A which says that a Status

9 Conference has to be held no later than 120 days from the last Status

10 Conference. The last one was held on the 8th of July 2003. Today is the

11 20th of November 2003, which means that 130 days have passed since the

12 last Status Conference was held. And in your scheduling order, you

13 justify this by saying that my Defence counsel, Mr. Radovic, wasn't in a

14 position to attend a Status Conference until the 18th of November 2003.

15 And Mr. Radovic was visiting me on the 13th and 14th of November. In any

16 case, it is your duty to schedule the Status Conference no later than 120

17 days after the previous Status Conference; otherwise, you are failing to

18 respect the Rule 65 bis.

19 I also have to tell you that the identity of witnesses is

20 something that I will make public, together with photographs of the

21 witnesses. When the Prosecution can call me a criminal through the media

22 quite publicly, why shouldn't I be able to reveal the identity of your

23 witnesses? You provide your witnesses with the protection of an entire

24 brigade, but this is not something that I'm interested in. I will

25 request that these witnesses testify in open session. I don't want them

Page 113

1 to hide themselves behind some sort of square pattern.

2 You want to force me with your rules to respect the rules, to

3 adhere to the rules. Yet, you violate them yourselves. The identity all

4 the witnesses, their photographs, and their exact addresses, I had them

5 while I was free. I even lived in Montenegro in Podgorica.

6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] No, no, no. Mr. Stankovic --

7 THE ACCUSED: No, listen --

8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] I'm taking the floor now. You

9 raised two very important points pertaining to protection measures of the

10 witnesses. That's the first point. I must draw your attention to the

11 fact that there are provisions pertaining thereto in the Rules of this

12 Tribunal. I know that you challenge the legitimacy of these rules; and

13 if I've understood you correctly, you challenge the legitimacy of this

14 Court. But at the end of the day, we are all bound by these provisions.

15 There's nothing we can do about that.

16 I would therefore like to draw your attention to the potential

17 consequences you may have to bear if you are in breach of these Rules.

18 This is just a piece of advice I am giving you.

19 There's another point I would like to talk about. You also

20 mentioned that the Chamber or I had not fulfilled my obligation to

21 convene a Status Conference within 120 days. I think right from the

22 outset, I think that I did say that there were contrary circumstances,

23 that we are all human beings, and that somebody can be taken ill

24 sometimes. There are sometimes exceptional circumstances or cas de force

25 majeure one has to contend with, and in cases like that, one has to act

Page 114

1 upon that. But I shall also like to say that as far as this Tribunal is

2 concerned, we are extremely aware of our duties and obligations, and we

3 do abide by all the provisions; not only those which are mentioned in the

4 Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence -- you must have realised

5 yourself that the Tribunal is neutral and unbiased, which is the image of

6 justice we would like to promote.

7 So if you could sum up, please. What is it you are getting at?

8 Could you just summarise this in the space of five minutes.

9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'll just turn to your

10 Rule 65 bis again. Everything you have just said is quite right; I

11 accept that someone can fall ill, et cetera. But I think that within a

12 period of 120 days at the most, it is necessary to schedule a Status

13 Conference. You could then postpone the conference and explain why it's

14 not possible. But it wasn't scheduled --

15 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stankovic, I would like to

16 tell you that this Tribunal is not going to be chastised by anyone, so

17 will you please concentrate and make sure you focus on what is important.

18 And let's move forward, please.

19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.

20 Could I just finish what I had to say about the witnesses. I

21 don't want to be misunderstood.

22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] No, you may not discuss

23 witnesses. We've dealt with that point.

24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'd like to ask you that at least

25 one day before a scheduled Status Conference, I'd like to be provided

Page 115

1 with the order and to be informed of everything in a timely manner. But

2 on the 18th of November, for example, supervisor appeared and said you

3 don't have to go to the Tribunal today. The Status Conference has been

4 postponed, and I had no idea about the Status Conference --

5 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stankovic, we had scheduled

6 it for a particular date, and then we had a cas de force majeure. This

7 was due to circumstances, and this was due to your counsel, so we

8 postponed it by two to three days. So I think you are inventing a storm

9 in a teacup. So if you would like to say something, of course, of any

10 substance, I'm prepared to listen to what you have to say. But as far as

11 this point is concerned, we have settled this matter. Would you please

12 very briefly conclude your submission.

13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It was my intention to address the

14 issue of the Status Conference. We have dealt with that. But in

15 general, all the documents --

16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, you have time. In normal

17 circumstances, you would have all the documents within the prescribed

18 time limits. So you would have ample time to check anything out if you

19 needed to.

20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judge El Mahdi, I have been here

21 for over a year and a half now, and it was only on one occasion that I

22 received an order about the Status Conference, a scheduling order, on

23 time. So in general, these orders are not provided in a timely manner.

24 It's usually provided after the Status Conference --

25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mr. Stankovic, I promise that

Page 116

1 you will be informed within a reasonable time limit. I think you have

2 finished your submission.

3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would just like to tell the

4 Prosecution what our poet Matija Beckovic said.

5 THE INTERPRETER: Poem quoted.

6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. El Mahdi.

7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Stankovic.

8 I shall now turn to you, Mrs. Sellers. Would the last deadline

9 be on the 7th of December?

10 MS. SELLERS: [Previous interpretation continues] ... Filing the

11 motion for leave to grant the amended indictment?

12 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Mrs. Sellers, yes, I think you

13 need to take a decision on this, otherwise I believe that we should

14 nonetheless take a decision on the basis of the amended charges. So I

15 think two weeks is ample time.

16 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, yes, I can respond to you now. We can

17 certainly meet that deadline, and we will.

18 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] In other words, in two weeks'

19 time.

20 MS. SELLERS: Yes, Your Honour, by the 7th of December.

21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: 7th of December.

22 MS. SELLERS: Your Honour, might I say one other thing, if you

23 allow me. I would just like to place on the record on behalf of the

24 Office of the Prosecution that of course there have been no promises, nor

25 threats, made to Mr. Stankovic in terms of visiting his family or

Page 117

1 repercussions in regard to our invitation for him to have an interview.

2 I appreciate, Your Honour, having addressed remarks to him. I would just

3 like to make it clear from the point of view of the Office of Prosecutor,

4 and I would also like to state that we certainly agree with Your Honour's

5 position in terms of releasing the identity of witnesses or photos of

6 witnesses. Can we as members of the Office of the Prosecutor also to ask

7 you to put on the record unequivocally that that would not neither

8 permitted under the Rules, nor under the orders that Your Honours have

9 issued in terms of witness protection. We would like to have assurances

10 that this is not -- will not only be considered, but certainly that will

11 not be conducted. That would certainly in many case destroy the essence

12 of these proceedings.

13 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] This would be a matter of

14 contempt of the Court. So I think we have settled that matter now. And

15 I think this has been translated correctly, and we find it here on the

16 transcript. So this has now been confirmed. Thank you, Mrs. Sellers.

17 I would now like to turn to the Defence counsel. In the letter

18 sent by the Prosecution on the 6th of November, let me quote this letter;

19 in paragraph 2: "The Prosecution received the written indication from

20 the Defence that the accused might rely on the defence alibi." I don't

21 ask you to take a decision on this right now, but you are bound -- if you

22 would like to put this alibi forward, you must inform the Prosecution

23 about this.

24 So we can't do much between now and the 7th of December, as I

25 understand things. So I don't know whether this will be granted or not,

Page 118

1 whether your leave to amend the indictment will be granted. But you talk

2 about in your substantial -- you used the expression "substantially

3 modified" in your letter. And you state that this has to do with

4 information that has come to you recently. In other words, you did not

5 have this information right from the outset.

6 MS. SELLERS: Yes, that is correct, Your Honour.

7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. We will

8 have to wait until the 7th of December, and we shall rule on your -- the

9 motion you have filed. In the meantime --

10 MS. SELLERS: Excuse me, Your Honour, might I also inform the

11 Trial Chamber or Your Honour, that if we can do it prior to the 7th, we

12 will certainly contact the senior legal officer and inform Mr. Radovic,

13 learned counsel, and try and file prior to that date.

14 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, I was about to ask you to

15 contact your learned friend Mr. Harhoff, who is our senior legal officer,

16 and the sooner would be the better in the interests of justice, of

17 course, because I'm very much concerned about this, and I'm sure it's a

18 matter of some concern for you also. Thank you.

19 So in the meantime, I wish you well, and I would like to once

20 again congratulate my interpreter friends without whom we would not be

21 able to continue these proceedings. Thank you very much. The hearing is

22 now adjourned.

23 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned

24 at 12.42 p.m.