Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 119

1 Friday, 19 March 2004

2 [Status Conference]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.00 p.m.

6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Good afternoon to one and all.

7 Madam Registrar, would you call the case, please.

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

9 Radovan Stankovic.

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

11 May we have the appearances for the parties. The Prosecution

12 first, please.

13 MR. WUBBEN: Good afternoon, Your Honour. My name is Jan Wubben

14 for the Prosecution team, together with my co-counsel Ms. Patricia Sellers

15 and Manoj Sachdeva. And the case manager, Djurdja Mirkovic.

16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. And for the

17 Defence, please.

18 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. I am

19 Milenko Radovic, lawyer, and the Defence counsel for the accused,

20 Mr. Stankovic.

21 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

22 Mr. Stankovic, can you hear me in a language you understand?

23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you in the Serbian

24 language. Yes.

25 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you.

Page 120

1 I should like to remind the parties that we are here today for a

2 Status Conference pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of Procedure and

3 Evidence. I think that the Prosecution has agreed to the demand for an

4 amended indictment. I don't want to go into details. But I think that

5 we're now at a stage where we have a final -- actually, we're in the final

6 stage. And my question to the Prosecution would be as follows: Does the

7 Prosecution envisage filing its pre-trial brief, and if so, when?

8 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you, Your Honour, for starting this issue.

9 Yes, as a subsequent phase, we would like to draft our pre-trial brief.

10 And we can file it within a couple of weeks if you requested us to do so.

11 So we might even anticipate filing our pre-trial brief by the latest at

12 the end of this month.

13 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] For the 31st of March? You will

14 be ready by the 31st of March. Is that right?

15 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour.

16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. Since we're here, I

17 should like to receive assurances that the Prosecution has fulfilled its

18 tasks pursuant to Rule 66, 67, and perhaps even 68 of the Rules of

19 Procedure and Evidence.

20 MR. WUBBEN: I can confirm, Your Honour, we are on a basis of

21 continuing communications with Defence counsel with that view. We give

22 Defence counsel an overview of our disclosures, and we also check with

23 counsel on a regular basis whenever he has additional needs for it.

24 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. And perhaps a final remark

25 with respect to the Prosecution: Have you received a follow-up to the

Page 121

1 letter sent out by the Defence raising the possibility of presenting a

2 defence by alibi?

3 MR. WUBBEN: One moment, please.

4 [Prosecution counsel confer]

5 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, we didn't receive any explicit follow-up

6 on that letter. Thank you.

7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I am now going to

8 turn to the Defence. Could you please confirm whether what the

9 Prosecution said is correct, and has the Prosecution fulfilled its tasks

10 pursuant to the articles I mentioned? That is to say, Rule 66, 67, and 68

11 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence?

12 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as my learned colleague

13 has just said, Mr. Wubben, in between the two Status Conferences and in

14 keeping with the agreement we both are signatories to, we exchanged

15 documents, and there were no problems on that score. The exchange of

16 documents was conducted pursuant to Rules 66 and 67 of the Rules of

17 Procedure and Evidence. The Defence intends at the earliest possible

18 opportunity to supply the Prosecution with some more evidence that was

19 collected by our investigators and which we will certainly be using as

20 evidence in the Defence case.

21 With respect to a Defence of alibi, you asked me to say a few

22 words about that as well, the Defence is processing that evidence, too,

23 and it will be informing the Prosecution in due course pursuant to

24 Rule 67(i)(A). For its motion, the Defence was ready pursuant to your

25 ruling of October. So we are ready to file that motion once the

Page 122

1 Prosecution does the same. Thank you.

2 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, but just so that we agree,

3 if the Prosecution is proposing to file its motion on the 31st of March,

4 file its brief by the 31st of March, do you need two months, three months

5 in order to file your pre-trial brief as a response to the Prosecution's?

6 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] At this point in time, I can say for

7 certain. I think that we should need at least two months. But once I see

8 the brief filed by the Prosecution and can read through the facts, then I

9 shall be able to tell you exactly. But I think two months is the minimum

10 time that I should require. Thank you.

11 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, if I may.

12 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, please.

13 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, I learned now, and that's new to me, not

14 the alibi evidence as a possibility, but new to me is that there is an

15 announcement that the Defence counsel will process evidence in that

16 regard. When I informed you that we are ready to file by the end of the

17 month, then it's also, without any question, of importance for us to

18 include in our pre-trial brief our position that we take with a view to

19 that alibi evidence. So I would like to request through you to the

20 Defence counsel whether it's possible to process this evidence in time so

21 that we are able to anticipate in our pre-trial brief with a view to that

22 defence.

23 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you for those

24 remarks. But as far as I was able to understand as to what the Defence

25 said, at this point in time, we are not ready to pronounce ourselves in

Page 123

1 the matter. It will require research. So, therefore, I think that we

2 will not have to declare ourselves at this point in time, at this stage.

3 What I'm suggesting is that you can present your pre-trial brief by the

4 date we mentioned, that is to say, the 31st of March, and then the Defence

5 has asked for at least two months - I think they said that was the minimum

6 time they would need - and then the possibility is open to the Defence of

7 presenting a defence of alibi.

8 But the Defence cannot be obliged to state its views at this point

9 in time, but I do understand your concerns. In as far as filing your

10 pre-trial brief, you would, of course, like to be able to respond to the

11 Defence arguments in that respect. But I think that the Defence is quite

12 clear, and I should like to have confirmation from the Defence that I

13 followed his argumentation properly, which was that the Defence can't

14 state its views definitively at this point in time.

15 So I propose that you file the pre-trial brief by the date we

16 mentioned, that is to say, the 31st of March. And then the Defence will

17 have, shall I say, at least two months. We can give them three months a

18 priori from this date forward. And I think that the Defence will be able,

19 then, to state clearly what its position is with respect to the defence of

20 alibi, because if I have understood you correctly, and please tell me

21 whether I have followed your arguments correctly, sir, that at this point

22 in time you are engaged in research. But you are not ready to establish,

23 to draw up a document here and now, or to state your position here and now

24 with respect to that matter. And that you are, in fact, waiting to see

25 how your research develops.

Page 124

1 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you have understood me

2 completely. And the Defence at this point in time, as I said, is not

3 ready. We are working with certain witnesses. We're looking into which

4 witnesses we shall be calling and what evidence we shall be using in our

5 defence of alibi. I shall try, I shall do my best, that in the pre-trial

6 brief, we indicate the facts and circumstances that we're going to focus

7 on and which witnesses the Defence will be calling for its defence of

8 alibi. But at this point in time, we can't do that. It is an ongoing

9 process that we're working on at the moment.

10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now my final question

11 is this: Would three months be sufficient? Do you agree to a period of

12 three months? Would that suffice to file your pre-trial brief within that

13 period of time?

14 MR. RADOVIC: [Interpretation] I think that will be sufficient. I

15 think three months will suffice for our pre-trial brief, yes.

16 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you. So we have reached

17 our first decision, and that is that the Prosecution will file its

18 pre-trial brief on the 31st of March. And following that, after the 31st

19 of March, that is to say from the 1st of April in actual fact, the Defence

20 will be given a period of three months to do the same, which makes it the

21 end of June.

22 I should now like to address Mr. Stankovic, to ask him -- or

23 rather to ask him a few questions. First of all, with respect to your

24 health, what is your health situation? Would you like to raise this

25 matter in open session, or would you like us to go into private session,

Page 125

1 closed or private session, whichever?

2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have already spoken about my

3 health situation. The health situation is as you wish it to be. You have

4 incarcerated me. And this state continues, so I cannot be good. My

5 health cannot be good in view of that fact. But if you will allow me to

6 continue with what I wanted to say here today, I have prepared a short

7 address for this Status Conference. May I be allowed to proceed?

8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Mr. Stankovic.

9 Let's take first things first and one by one. First of all, your state of

10 health. You have nothing particular to note in that regard, to tell me

11 with respect to your health situation. Is that it?

12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely.

13 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now, this brings me

14 to my second question. I'd like to take advantage of this opportunity to

15 clear up some misunderstandings between you, it appears, and the

16 Registrar. That is to say, the other side, the other party. And I think

17 it is that matter that you wish to address. Before you do so, I should

18 like to explain my point of view. What I have understood

19 personally -- Madam Registrar, is there a problem?

20 MR. WUBBEN: Sorry. I apologise, Your Honour, for being so rude

21 to interrupt for a moment. But as I notice from the correspondence in

22 this affair, the decision-making and also the decision-making by ICTY and

23 the request from the parties had made on a confidential basis. It's just

24 that fact that I know that is from a confidential basis that I give you

25 into consideration to take in this phase already a decision whether or not

Page 126

1 you proceed in closed session or a more or less confidential way. That's

2 the reason. Sorry to...

3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, it can't be closed.

4 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Just a moment. Nobody has the

5 right to speak before I give them permission to do so officially.

6 Now, I'm following what you have said. And I should like to

7 proceed with prudence with respect to what you're trying to draw my

8 attention to, that aspect of the matter. And I think that everybody here

9 is very wary and vigilant and would like to see the procedure evolves in a

10 proper form. If I see that matters are progressing in the manner in

11 matters which would require a private session, then I shall do so. But I

12 think that Mr. Stankovic, and you yourselves, as indeed I do, I am, we are

13 all fully conscious of the importance and sensitivity of the issue. And

14 it's a good thing that you drew my attention to that. And I should like,

15 Mr. Stankovic, in his response to bear in mind the character, the

16 sensitive character, of the subject matter we're going to discuss. We

17 know what it's all about. We're not going to enter into details because I

18 have no intention of going into the details. Rest assured about that.

19 I should just like to give you my personal impressions. And that

20 is -- those are that Mr. Stankovic did not have the intention when he

21 spoke his thoughts, if I can put it that way, they were spontaneous

22 thoughts that were uttered. He didn't have the intention of violating the

23 protective measures we put in place for certain subjects. So I should

24 like to receive assurances on that point. Have I understood that

25 correctly? I had the impression that Mr. Stankovic was convinced, or

Page 127

1 rather I had the opportunity of reading exchanges and correspondence

2 between Mr. Stankovic and other departments and instances of this

3 Tribunal. I think his position is clear. What he wants to say is

4 that -- or rather, I don't think he has any intention of violating the

5 rules, but wanted to respect them. And it is in that respect that I

6 should like to receive confirmation from Mr. Stankovic that I understood

7 him properly, that indeed that is what he wanted to do. That he, like all

8 of us here, is vigilant and respects all the measures that have been taken

9 by the Tribunal, put in place in these proceedings, protecting

10 information, whatever that information may be.

11 So I personally didn't gain the impression that Mr. Stankovic

12 actually wanted to say anything other than that. And that is the point I

13 would like you to give me assurances on, to tell me yes or no. Have I

14 understood you correctly? Did I understand your line of thinking

15 properly, that it was not your intention at any point?

16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. El Mahdi, you have understood

17 things very well. May I just be allowed to expound this in greater

18 detail.

19 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please,

20 Mr. Stankovic. I understood that you wanted to go into details. If you

21 go into details, then we'll have to go into private session. I think that

22 would be prudent.

23 So Madam Registrar, may we go into private session for this

24 portion of the proceedings, please.

25 [Private session]

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9 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned

10 at 3.15 p.m.