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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 -
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
1 inform you that these are his personal submissions. They are not my
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,
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
18 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] With regard to him giving an
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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'
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
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,
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.