1 Monday, 15 October 2007
2 [Appeals Hearing]
3 [Open session]
4 [The appellant entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.59 a.m.
6 [Appeals Chamber and legal officer confer]
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
8 Mr. Registrar, may I ask you to call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
10 IT-96-23/2-A, the Prosecutor versus Dragan Zelenovic.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
12 May I ask Mr. Zelenovic if you can hear me and follow the
13 proceedings in a language you understand through the translation.
14 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down. If you have
16 any problem in following the proceedings, please inform me as soon as
18 Well, we now call for the appearances.
19 For the Prosecution, please.
20 MS. BRADY: Good morning, Your Honours. Helen Brady appearing on
21 behalf of the Prosecution together with Julia Thibord and our case
22 manager, Sebastiaan van Hooydonk. Thank you.
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
24 And for the Defence of Mr. Zelenovic, please.
25 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I'm
1 Zoran Jovanovic, attorney-at-law. I'm representing Mr. Zelenovic. Thank
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
4 As the registrar just announced, this is an appeal hearing in the
5 case of the Prosecutor against Dragan Zelenovic.
6 At the outset, I'll briefly summarise the appeal which is pending
7 before the Appeals Chamber and the manner in which we'll proceed today.
8 The appeal deals with crimes committed in Foca municipality and
9 its surrounding villages from April to July 1992. At the time of the
10 events, Mr. Zelenovic was a member of the so-called Dragan Nikolic Unit, a
11 military unit in Foca which in the beginning of the war was part of the
12 Bosnian Serb Territorial Defence and from the summer of 1992 onwards part
13 of the Bosnian Serb army.
14 Mr. Zelenovic was a soldier and a de facto a military policeman.
15 He pled guilty and has admitted individual criminal responsibility of the
16 crimes he was charged for.
17 Dragan Zelenovic appeals from a judgement rendered on the 4th
18 April, 2007 by Appeal Chamber -- by Trial Chamber I, composed of
19 Judge Orie, presiding; Judge Van Den Wyngaert; and Judge Moloto.
20 The Trial Chamber found Mr. Zelenovic guilty on all charges
21 contained in the plea agreement; namely, seven counts of crimes against
22 humanity, three of which charged torture as provided for by Article 5(f)
23 of the Statute and four of which charged rape, as provided for by Article
24 5(g) of the Statute. Dragan Zelenovic was sentenced to a single sentence
25 of imprisonment of 15 years.
1 Dragan Zelenovic filed his Notice of Appeal on the 27th April
2 2007, setting out two grounds of appeal. On the 25th May, 2007, he filed
3 his appeals brief, while the Prosecution filed the response brief on 25th
4 June 2007. Zelenovic's reply brief was filed on the 3rd of July, 2007.
5 I will now briefly summarise the grounds of appeal.
6 Dragan Zelenovic brings two grounds of appeal. In his first ground of
7 appeal, Dragan Zelenovic alleged that the Trial Chamber erred by not
8 adequately assessing the mitigating circumstances in the sentencing
9 judgement; namely, first, the appellant's admission of guilt which gives
10 psychological benefit for victims who will not be required to give
11 evidence; and second, the appellant's cooperation with the Prosecution in
13 Under his second ground of appeal, Dragan Zelenovic submits that
14 the Trial Chamber erred by not taking into account the appeal judgement in
15 the case of Prosecutor versus Radovan Stankovic before the State Court of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 During this appeal hearing, counsel may argue the grounds of
18 appeal in order that they consider most suitable for the -- for the
19 presentation, but I would urge them not just to repeat verbatim or to
20 extensively summarise what is in the briefs.
21 I also wish to note that by letter of 8th October 2007, the
22 Appeals Chamber has invited the parties to address specific issues during
23 the hearing. The Appeals Chamber also noticed that the Defence filed a
24 response in written form to those questions -- to those questions on the
25 11th of October, 2007. The Prosecutor made a reply orally during this
1 hearing, if the case may be.
2 These invitations are made, I want to address, without a prejudice
3 to any other matters the parties or the Appeals Chamber may wish to raise
4 and in no way constitute an expression of an opinion on the merits of the
6 I would now like to briefly recall the appeal is not a trial de
7 novo and the appellant must not merely repeat his case from the trial
8 level. Rather, in accordance with Article 25 of the Statute, the
9 appellant must limit his arguments to alleged errors of law which
10 invalidate the decision or allege the error of fact occasioning a
11 miscarriage of justice.
12 Additionally, it should be recalled that the appellant has the
13 obligation to provide the precise references to materials supporting his
14 arguments on appeal.
15 During the proceedings, if any party requires private session,
16 please just inform us.
17 This hearing will proceed according to the scheduling order issued
18 on the 20th September 2007. Counsel for Dragan Zelenovic will present his
19 submissions for 30 minutes and the Prosecution will present his response,
20 also for 30 minutes. Counsel for Dragan Zelenovic will have 15 minutes to
21 present his reply, and then Mr. Zelenovic, should he wish to address the
22 Bench, will have 15 minutes to do so.
23 I wish to remind the parties that Judges may interrupt them at any
24 time to ask questions or they may prefer to ask questions following each
25 party's submission.
1 Having said that, I would now to invite the counsel for
2 Dragan Zelenovic to present the submissions in support of his appeal.
3 Now, Mr. Jovanovic, you have the floor, please.
4 Submissions by Mr. Jovanovic:
5 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you
6 for the time allotted to me by the Chamber. In accordance with the
7 scheduling order, the Defence will comply with the instructions of the
8 Appeals Chamber and we will not be repeating the claims made in the
9 appellate proceedings so far and our appellate brief, so I believe that I
10 will take less time than was anticipated.
11 The first ground for appeal by Mr. Zelenovic's Defence has to do
12 with the fact that with his admission of guilt, Mr. Zelenovic relieved the
13 victims from the obligation to testify in this case. The Trial Chamber in
14 determining his sentence gave weight to this circumstance, but it was in a
15 general -- generalised manner, the Defence contends, contrary to the
16 decisions reached by the other Trial Chambers and the jurisprudence of the
18 It is quite logical that if a -- if an accused pleads guilty to
19 the charges, all the witnesses who were slated to testify in that case do
20 not have to do so. The Defence believes that in this specific case - and
21 we do not want to set aside the fact that the sentence must reflect the
22 gravity of crimes - we contend that this is a category of victims that is
23 particularly sensitive and vulnerable. We would like to remind the
24 Chamber that the witnesses who were on the witness list for the
25 Prosecution in this case, that they had already testified in the Kunarac
1 case, in the Gojko Jankovic case, and in the Radovan Stankovic case that
2 was tried before the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are rape
4 In all those cases, witnesses had to undergo examination-in-chief,
5 cross-examination, and the Defence in those cases relied on the claim that
6 their testimony was not truthful.
7 According to the expert report that was attached to the appellate
8 brief by the Defence, is a circumstance that re-traumatises those
9 witnesses. They have to relive all those events. They also have to be
10 cross-examined by the Defence, and in light of the consequences they
11 suffer, this is by no means a pleasant experience. This is why the
12 Defence believes that these circumstances should be given more weight,
13 this despite the fact that the Trial Chamber was not under an obligation
14 to give weight to each particular mitigating circumstance and to -- to
15 provide the reasoning for giving this weight.
16 This is a peculiar case. We're talking about the mass rapes, as
17 they were qualified, in Foca. Mr. Dragan Zelenovic is the only person to
18 plead guilty to those crimes. The fact that by doing so he spared the
19 victims and the fact that this means that their testimony so far is
20 validated by his admission of guilt, this should be given proper weight.
21 The Trial Chamber actually relied on the jurisprudence of the
22 Tribunal so far, and that is that all the witnesses in a case where there
23 was a guilty plea are relieved of the obligation to testify.
24 The Defence therefore believes that the Trial Chamber erred when
25 it considered this mitigating circumstance in a generalised manner. We
1 believe that the Trial Chamber should have given more weight to the expert
2 report attached to the brief, to the sentencing brief provided by the
3 Defence after the plea agreement. And also we believe that in the current
4 practice before this Tribunal every time the Trial Chamber took this
5 position, that a guilty plea relieves the witnesses from the obligation to
6 testify, those Trial Chambers never had before them this kind of expert
7 report dealing with this kind of victims, explaining the state of mind of
8 the victims of such crimes, after -- even after so many years, and the
9 consequences that calling such witnesses to appear before a tribunal to
10 testify would have for them.
11 The second aspect that the Defence would like to argue now has to
12 do with the cooperation by Mr. Dragan Zelenovic with the Office of the
13 Prosecutor. The Trial Chamber considered this to be some kind of initial
14 cooperation, following the reports of the Prosecution and the Defence on
15 this matter.
16 Now I would like to ask the Chamber to go into private session for
17 reasons that are indicated in the reply that the Defence submitted
18 regarding the confidentiality of a part of the appeal filed by the
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Any objections?
21 MS. BRADY: No, no objection, Your Honour. Just to state that the
22 Prosecution would have preferred in the interest of transparency to make
23 all submissions relating to cooperation public. However, in light of the
24 fact that the Prosecution agreed with Mr. Zelenovic during the sentencing
25 phase, that these discussions would remain confidential, given his wish to
1 retain the confidentiality, we're not in a position to waive it. Thank
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
4 After hearing of the two parties, we decided to go to the private
6 Now we are in the private session, please.
7 [Private session]
11 Pages 13-15 redacted. Private session
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
2 You may proceed, please.
3 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
4 The Trial Chamber invited the parties to comment on the decision
5 in the case of the co-accused Radovan Stankovic in the proceedings before
6 the State Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The judgement has become final.
7 After the trial, the nonfinal judgement became available to the public
8 once it was handed down by the Trial Chamber.
9 The Defence contends that if the Trial Chamber invited the parties
10 to comment on the judgement and sentence of the co-accused,
11 Radovan Stankovic, under the initial indictment before this Tribunal and
12 if the Trial Chamber considered that such a judgement should be
13 considered, the Defence feels it was not given due weight, in spite of the
14 fact that this Tribunal is not bound by the legislation of the countries
15 of the former Yugoslavia or the jurisprudence before the national courts
16 in those countries.
17 The Defence contends that this judgement should be taken into
18 account in such a manner as to show the differences -- to reflect the
19 differences in the actions of Dragan Zelenovic compared to others in
20 connection with the events in Foca.
21 Mr. Radovan Stankovic has been sentenced to 20 years in prison,
22 according to the final judgement; whereas, Mr. Zelenovic has been
23 sentenced to 15 years. The Defence has already stated the differences in
24 its brief, and these differences justify the different sentence.
25 If the proceedings conducted before the State Court of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina indicated the significance of Mr. Dragan Zelenovic's guilty
2 plea before this Tribunal, this should be taken into account.
3 There were numerous problems in the proceedings before the State
4 Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr. Radovan Stankovic's actions were such as
5 to threaten and humiliate the witnesses. Ultimately, he evaded serving
6 his sentence, although he was sentenced to 20 years of prison in Foca,
7 where the crimes were committed; however, he escaped.
8 Mr. Dragan Zelenovic is the only accused, if we take into
9 consideration the proceedings against Kunarac et al., Jankovic, and
10 Stankovic, he is the only one who actually by his guilty plea confirmed
11 the events that had taken place there. And although - I repeat - this
12 Tribunal is in no way bound by the jurisprudence or the legislation of the
13 states of the former Yugoslavia, the Defence still feels that in the
14 interests of justice these facts should be given due weight. And bearing
15 in mind that the -- that the sentence must correspond to the gravity of
16 the crimes, this circumstance and the judgement in the Prosecutor versus
17 Radovan Stankovic case should throw light on the significance of
18 Dragan Zelenovic's guilty plea, and this should be taken into account when
19 meting out the sentence of Mr. Zelenovic.
20 These are all the reasons put forward by the Defence in its
21 appeal, which the Defence contends should have an influence on the
23 Let me end by saying something that is well known: The
24 Prosecution has challenged the grounds of appeal of the Defence and
25 considers that the Trial Chamber has given due weight to all the
1 mitigating circumstances. Let me, however, remind you that in these
2 proceedings, the Prosecution had proposed a sentence of 10 to 15 years in
3 prison, so my assumption is that had a lower sentence been handed down,
4 the Prosecution would have been in agreement with it. I suggest therefore
5 that the Appeals Chamber take into consideration all these arguments and
6 hand down a milder sentence for Dragan Zelenovic.
7 Thank you.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much, Mr. Jovanovic.
9 Any questions from the Bench? I noticed Judge Schomburg.
10 Judge Schomburg, you may have the floor.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Questioned by the Court:
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: First of all, a technical question that we can
14 discuss both here today and later on in the judgement is the Annex to your
15 submission of 11 October 2007. I know it's in the public domain because
16 in -- in the Internet, but it is -- is it your intention to tender these
17 documents into evidence or you want to ask the Chamber that the Chamber
18 proprio motu admit -- admits this into evidence?
19 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. It's an
20 integral part of the response by the Chamber to the parties. The Defence
21 has submitted information confirmed by the Prosecution and it was
22 handed -- this was -- this letter was handed to the Defence today. The
23 date is the 27th of March, before the Trial Chamber's decision was issued,
24 but it became available to the public in written form on the 17th of
25 April. So the Defence used the information it had when answering Your
1 Honours' questions. The Defence feels that the Chamber could proprio motu
2 adopt this information and enter it into the evidence.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Thank you.
4 Then there's the first follow-up question: You submit that the
5 Trial Chamber erred when handing down the judgement. What would you have
6 expected from the Trial Chamber? In particular, with a view to the
7 mandatory expeditiousness of hearing a criminal case, should the Trial
8 Chamber have waited until the appeal judgement was rendered, as we know
9 now, the 17th of April, 2007?
10 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours, absolutely not.
11 It need not have waited. It shouldn't have waited. The Defence in its
12 submission on the sentencing did not put forward any position on this. It
13 is the Prosecution that raised the issue of the judgement not being final;
14 however, the Chamber asked the parties to express their views on this.
15 The first instance judgement handed down a sentence of 15 years to
16 Mr. Stankovic. He was found guilty. And the Defence felt at the time
17 that the charges were far graver than the ones defined in the agreement
18 between the Prosecution and the Defence, but the Chamber did not take this
19 judgement into account, saying that it was not final. The moment it became
20 final, the Defence put forward its position in connection with this
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. You brought me to the final
23 question. I am in para 11 of the Trial Chamber judgement. It reads that
24 "As regards the plea agreement" -- and I quote: "In response to a
25 question by the Trial Chamber, the Prosecution explained that the
1 exclusion of certain victims referred to in the indictment from the plea
2 agreement was based on a consideration of the available evidence."
3 Can I take it from this that the cooperation in the plea agreement
4 as such was limited to that -- to those crimes of rape and torture which
5 were more or less undisputable because Mr. Kunarac inter alia is already
6 finally convicted and would always be available as a witness against your
7 client? So what indeed was your contribution to this plea agreement? Is
8 it correct as it is reflected in the judgement that only when there was
9 available evidence your client admitted his guilt?
10 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, talks with the
11 Prosecution began very soon after Dragan Zelenovic was transferred to The
12 Hague from Sarajevo. The Russian Federation, where Mr. Dragan Zelenovic
13 was arrested and detained, extradited Mr. Zelenovic to Sarajevo, not
14 directly to The Hague, in spite of the fact that there was an indictment
15 before this Tribunal. And Sarajevo transferred him to The Hague. And in
16 spite of the 11 bis motion, the Defence very soon started talking to the
17 Prosecution and achieved an agreement with the Prosecution, regardless of
18 the possible referral of this case under Rule 11 bis to Sarajevo,
19 regardless of the venue where the proceedings might have been held or the
20 evidence that might have been adduced, a plea agreement was reached
21 between the Defence and the Prosecution.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm awfully sorry, but you didn't answer my
23 question. My question was that -- is it correct when I read the Trial
24 Chamber judgement to that end that only those acts of torture and acts of
25 rape included in the first indictment formed part of the plea agreement
1 because it was based on a -- as it reads here, "on a consideration of the
2 available evidence"? So that, to put it very directly to you, but all
3 that was already proven in prior cases, there was an admission of
4 evidence, however not where additional witnesses would have been -- would
5 have to be heard.
6 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Dragan Zelenovic
7 admitted what he did. I do not know whether the Prosecution would have
8 adduced any additional evidence to the evidence produced in the Kunarac et
9 al. case or whether there was additional evidence which might have been
10 adduced before the court in Sarajevo had the 11 bis motion been granted,
11 but Mr. Zelenovic admitted everything he had been charged with, regardless
12 of what facts had been established in the Kunarac et al. case and
13 regardless of whether in the proceedings against Dragan Zelenovic the
14 Prosecution might have adduced additional evidence, further evidence.
15 He admitted what he did, and he spoke about everything he knew.
16 And finally, the Trial Chamber found his admission of guilt to be sincere.
17 And not just an act of calculating what evidence had been proved and what
18 facts were known.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Judge Schomburg.
21 I see no other questions from the Bench. Thank you,
22 Mr. Jovanovic. You may sit down, please.
23 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE LIU: Now we would like to turn to the Prosecution.
25 Ms. Brady, you have the floor, please.
1 Response by Ms. Brady:
2 MS. BRADY: Thank you, Your Honours. I'm just doing a bit of
3 housekeeping here.
4 Mr. Zelenovic committed or was complicit in over 30 rapes. He
5 admitted these crimes. He was convicted for these crimes. And he was
6 sentenced to 15 years. He now comes to this court and he asks you to
7 reduce it, claiming that the Trial Chamber gave insufficient weight to
8 two mitigating factors: His plea - in particular, the beneficial effect
9 on relieving his rape victims from testifying - and his cooperation with
10 the Prosecution.
11 In effect, Your Honours, he's asking this Chamber to re-weigh to
12 his benefit these two mitigating factors which the Trial Chamber already
13 considered. Since the appellant has not shown that the Trial Chamber
14 abused its discretion by giving insufficient weight to either factor, his
15 argument should be dismissed.
16 In all the circumstances, it cannot be said that a 15-year
17 sentence was excessive.
18 I'll turn first, if I may, to his -- the first sub-error in his
19 first ground, relating to the guilty plea and the benefit in relieving the
20 victims from testifying.
21 The Trial Chamber expressly stated that it gave considerable
22 weight to Mr. Zelenovic's guilty plea. We see this in paragraphs 68 and
23 46 of the judgement. And it expressly acknowledged that one reason for
24 doing this was the beneficial effect in relieving the victims from
25 testifying, and this was especially bearing in mind the crimes that they
1 endured. It wasn't, as he submits, in a generalised manner at all.
2 And I remind Your Honours of paragraphs -- of paragraph 49, where
3 the Trial Chamber recognised that. And I quote from the judgement: "In
4 cases such as the present, involving serious crimes, such as torture and
5 rape, with severe consequences for the victims, a guilty plea is likely to
6 save the victims from reliving the trauma through testifying about the
7 crimes committed against them."
8 And it was correct in doing this. We agree for the reasons that
9 Mr. Jovanovic has put forward about rape victims being particularly
10 sensitive and the re-traumatisation they may go through by testifying
11 about these matters and we can agree that this was indeed the first plea
12 of its kind in the Foca area. But to give this factor heightened weight
13 because of the particularly humiliating or traumatising nature of the
14 crimes he committed against the victims, as he urges, would run counter to
15 the fundamental sentencing principle that the gravity of the crime should
16 be the principal consideration in determining its sentence.
17 In other words, a guilty plea cannot get more weight because it
18 admits worse crimes.
19 The fact remains that Mr. Zelenovic is responsible for a litany of
20 very serious crimes. Mr. Zelenovic raped women and girls on a serial
21 basis. He raped some women multiple times and in multiple ways. He
22 participated in gang-rapes of some of his victims. His criminal conduct
23 lasted a period of months. He would select his victims from an already
24 vulnerable group of young women and girls imprisoned in detention centres.
25 He and his fellow soldiers would remove them from these centres and take
1 them to other places where they would rape them.
2 Mr. Zelenovic personally raped one victim or assisted other men to
3 do so on eight separate occasions. And this girl was 15 years old at the
4 time. Twice he gang-raped her with three other soldiers. On one occasion
5 a soldier putting a gun to her head. And he raped another victim three
6 times; once in a gang-rape with three other soldiers and on another
7 occasion aiding and abetting 10 other men to do so.
8 In light of the inherent gravity of his crimes, the trauma of
9 repeated and multiple rapes which his victims experienced, it cannot be
10 said that the Trial Chamber discernibly erred by sentencing him to 15
11 years. And we ask you to dismiss this first sub-ground of his -- this
12 first sub-error within his first ground.
13 If I may, Your Honours, now turn to his second sub-error in his
14 first sub-ground -- in his first ground, relating to his cooperation with
15 the Prosecution. And as I said before, while we would have preferred to
16 make all these submissions in open court in public, because of the
17 agreement that was given to Mr. Zelenovic during discussions, we are bound
18 by that promise and hence I must go into private session now.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Shall we go to the private session.
20 MS. BRADY: Oh, excuse me, Your Honours. Before -- before we go
21 into private session, I would just like to reiterate our position on this
23 The appellant has not shown that the Trial Chamber gave
24 insufficient weight to his cooperation. It's clear that, if you look at
25 paragraph 52, that the Trial Chamber already considered and weighed, as it
1 was bound to do, both aspects of his cooperation: The actual cooperation
2 he had provided, he had given to the Prosecution, which the Prosecution --
3 which the Trial Chamber called "some initial cooperation"; as well as his
4 willingness or commitment to cooperate. And in the latter factor, the
5 Trial Chamber called his willingness or commitment to cooperate together
6 with the plea the main mitigating factors in the case. That's at
7 paragraph 56.
8 Since he's failed to show the Trial Chamber discernibly erred in
9 that evaluation, we ask you to dismiss this ground.
10 And now, Your Honours, if I may continue in private session.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Shall we go to the private session.
12 [Private session]
11 Pages 27-29 redacted. Private session
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
3 You may proceed, Ms. Brady.
4 MS. BRADY: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 I've now finished responding to both sub-grounds of his first
6 ground of appeal, and now Ms. Thibord will address you on his final
7 sub-ground, relating to the Stankovic judgment of the Bosnian State Court.
8 Thank you.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 MS. THIBORD: [Microphone not activated]
11 THE REGISTRAR: Microphone.
12 MS. THIBORD: Good morning, Your Honours. I will now address the
13 second ground of appeal, which concerns the sentence imposed by the Court
14 of BiH upon Radovan Stankovic.
15 As already said in answer to your second question, we agree with
16 Mr. Jovanovic. The sentence was not made public until the 17th of April.
17 Now, Zelenovic compares his sentence with Stankovic, but he fails
18 to show that the Trial Chamber gave him an unfair or manifestly excessive
19 sentence. As submitted in our response brief at paragraph 30 to 32, the
20 crimes of Zelenovic and Stankovic were in both cases very serious. In
21 both cases, the victims were brutally and repeatedly raped. Given
22 similarities in the facts and given the suffering of the victims in both
23 cases, it's hard and somehow inappropriate to determine which crimes are
25 Now, if we take into account Zelenovic's guilty plea, he did
1 receive a sentence which is five years lower than Stankovic. There is no
2 manifest disparity. However, such comparison is not relevant.
3 The Tribunal should not consider sentences rendered by domestic
4 courts, even in the event of a Rule 11 bis transfer.
5 The case law is clear. And I refer Your Honours to the Jelisic
6 appeal judgement at paragraph 114 and to the Dragan Nikolic appeal
7 judgement at paragraph 85. According to this, Article 24(1) of the
8 Statute requires to take into account the sentencing practice in the
9 former Yugoslavia at the time of commission of the crimes.
10 In return, sentences rendered by domestic courts afterwards should
11 not be taken into account, and this for three main reasons: First, a
12 Trial Chamber when determining a sentence is bound to apply the law of
13 this Tribunal. Domestic courts, on the other hand, decide sentences on
14 the basis of their own laws. When an accused is transferred to a domestic
15 court, he's no longer subject to the law of this Tribunal, but this
16 Tribunal remains bound to apply its own law to those tried and sentenced
18 Therefore, it cannot and it should not consider sentences rendered
19 under a different law, and it certainly should not modify a sentence on
20 that ground.
21 In fact - and that's my second point - that would undermine the
22 primacy of this Tribunal. And in this respect, I refer Your Honours to
23 the reasoning of the Appeals Chamber in the Dragan Nikolic judgement at
24 paragraph 84. Decreasing, or for that matter increasing a sentence based
25 on a sentence issued by a domestic court would set a dangerous precedent,
1 because domestic courts could then unduly influence the sentencing
2 practice of this Tribunal.
3 And, third, the Tribunal, and this Chamber in particular, has to
4 ensure consistency among sentences with this Tribunal and it cannot do so
5 if it starts looking into sentences rendered by domestic courts outside
6 this Tribunal and over which the Appeals Chamber has no jurisdiction or
7 control. And for all these reasons, this ground of appeal must also be
9 We ask Your Honours to uphold the Trial Chamber's sentence of 15
11 This concludes our submissions, and I'm happy to answer any
12 questions Your Honours may have.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
14 Yes, Judge Schomburg.
15 Questioned by the Court:
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry that I have to address also to you the
17 same questions or similar -- a similar question as I put to Defence
19 Is it true that Mr. Zelenovic did not agree to plea guilty to the
20 indictment in its entirety?
21 MS. THIBORD: If Your Honours -- if you'll allow, Ms. Brady will
22 answer this question.
23 MS. BRADY: It may be easier if I answer that, Your Honours.
24 It is true that he did not agree to plead guilty to the entirety
25 of the indictment. Having said that, some of the indictment referred to
1 crimes which he was not a participant in. And in other cases, the
2 Prosecution made a -- a judgement call on selecting those crimes that he
3 was involved in which would best reflect the entirety, the totality of the
4 offences that he committed. And for some of those reasons, it may have
5 been because the evidence was not sufficient or the Prosecution did not
6 believe that the evidence would come up to proof and a variety of other
7 reasons. But at the end of the day, the Prosecution agreed with
8 Mr. Zelenovic that these counts reflecting these crimes would be the best
9 reflection of the totality of his criminal conduct.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Agreed. However, it reads in para 11 that "A
11 consideration of all available evidence was a basis for the streamlining
12 of the indictment."
13 Can I understand it in this way, that only those charges where the
14 accused voluntarily based confronted with available evidence accepted this
15 plea arrangement that he already had the advantage in the plea bargaining
16 stage? That is, was more or less already part of a deal? Because no
17 doubt, he's presumed innocent. But was there any case at all where there
18 was no evidence available, however he pleaded guilty?
19 MS. BRADY: Your Honour, I wasn't part of the discussions, but to
20 the best of my knowledge, I do not believe that that was the case.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, I have a question to ask Ms. Brady concerning
23 with the paragraph 52 of the judgement of the Trial Chamber on this case.
24 As you know, the cooperation with the Prosecution is a condition
25 specifically laid down in the Rules for the plea agreement. I just want to
1 know what is your criteria to judge whether there's a substantive
2 cooperation on the part of the Defence, whether the willingness or
3 commitment expressed by the Defence is enough or you would like to see
4 some, you know, let me say, the concrete results from this cooperation.
5 MS. BRADY: Your Honour, the Prosecution does take into account
6 the use, the ultimate effect of the information, but this is by no means
7 the only consideration which is given when the Prosecution makes its
8 determination as to whether cooperation is, in its view, substantial.
9 The Prosecution examines or looks at whether the information was
10 verifiable, whether it was novel, whether it was reliable, whether it was
11 credible, was it information simply gained through open sources, all of
12 these factors, and makes an evaluation based on that, and it includes, of
13 course, the use, the effect ultimately which is given, whether it was in
14 fact of assistance, but that is by no means the only criteria which guides
15 the Prosecution in its assessment.
16 The second point I'd make is this: That there are two aspects to
17 an offender's cooperation for which he should receive credit, and that's
18 what the Trial Chamber did. The first aspect is the -- what you could say
19 is the actual content of what is provided. And on that limb, one
20 important aspect will be the use which is made of the information. But
21 the second component - and this is where, in our submission, the appellant
22 got full credit - the second component is his willingness or his
23 earnestness. This means that even if a accused because of his low
24 position or because he only knows a certain amount of -- of things, if
25 he -- if he gives the -- that information to the best of his ability,
1 candidly, openly, honestly, that is taken into account in the weight to be
2 given to cooperation.
3 And in our submission, the Trial Chamber in fact gave him a -- a
4 heightened weight to that second factor and some weight to the first
5 factor about the actual information that he provided, bearing in mind what
6 the Prosecution had informed it about.
7 Thank you.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
9 [Appeal Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, I see there's no questions from the Bench.
11 Now I would like to give the floor to Mr. Jovanovic for 15
13 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Reply by Mr. Jovanovic:
15 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] First I wish to respond to what my
16 learned friend said in the first part when she said that my client
17 participated in more than 30 rapes. I don't see this as being established
18 in the plea agreement or the Trial Chamber's judgement.
19 My learned friend also stated that Dragan Zelenovic participated
20 in the rape of women and girls. Later on, however, she mentioned only one
21 girl, one minor, and eight women.
22 As for Mr. Zelenovic's cooperation with the Office of the
23 Prosecutor, may we go into private session, please.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, let's go to the private session.
25 [Private session]
11 Pages 37-38 redacted. Private session
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
18 You may proceed.
19 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 The Prosecution indicated that, as it did in its response, that
21 the Defence in fact wants the fact that the graver the crimes, the
22 better -- the higher the benefit of a guilty plea as a mitigating
23 circumstance, because the witnesses are not obliged to testify.
24 The Defence has repeated this several times, and it always
25 stressed that it never set aside the fact that the gravity of the crimes
1 must be reflected in the sentence. It merely emphasised the peculiar
2 character of the witness -- witnesses and victims in this crime.
3 So regardless of whether a person is a victim of a graver or
4 less-grave crime - and this Tribunal is always dealing with the gravest
5 crimes - I'm not talking about the gravity of crime but the category of
6 victims that find it really hard to be called time and time again to
7 testify before such Tribunals.
8 The Defence submitted an expert report to corroborate those
9 claims. We're now talking about a difficult category of victim. We're
10 not talking about people who were beaten up or were victims of other war
11 crimes. So this is the only sense in which the Defence wanted to bring
12 forward the fact that the category of these victims is what sets them
13 aside, not the gravity of the crime. We never questioned the gravity of
14 the crime.
15 As regards the judgement of the State Court of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina in the Radovan Stankovic case, the Defence has always been
17 stressing, including today at this hearing, that the Tribunal was not
18 bound to take into account any decisions of national courts, but the
19 Defence stressed that its emphasis -- that the reason why we brought
20 forward this judgement was because we were invited to do so by the Trial
21 Chamber. Both parties were invited by the Trial Chamber to present their
22 positions on this, and we were acting in accordance with this request.
23 Secondly, let me just note that in deciding whether a judgement
24 that was imposed on a co-accused tried before the State Court of Bosnia
25 and Herzegovina, the fact that this is a court to which this Tribunal
1 refers its cases, in accordance with the Rule 11 bis, means that this
2 Tribunal considers that court to be the kind of court that can be trusted.
3 And in this light, the jurisprudence of that court should be taken into
4 account in this specific case, the case of the Prosecutor against
5 Dragan Zelenovic.
6 Thank you.
7 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
8 [Appeal Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE LIU: Judge Guney, please.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Shall we go to the private session, please.
17 [Private session]
11 Pages 42-45 redacted. Private session
5 [Open session]
6 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Jovanovic, I only wish to put one question
8 to you. I take it that it's an agreed fact that the Stankovic judgement
9 was available only on 17 April 2007; whereas, the judgement in this case,
10 the sentencing judgement, was rendered on 4 April 2007, and you
11 acknowledged that you would not have expected that the Trial Chamber would
12 have waited until the appeal judgement would be issued. Thus, I can't see
13 in your submission directing us to any alleged error committed by the
14 Trial Chamber.
15 In the interest of justice, I may ask you: Do you uphold with the
16 view to these facts and your own submission the second ground of appeal,
17 or would you be prepared in order to focus on the main issues of your
18 appeal to withdraw the second ground of appeal?
19 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as I indicated, the
20 Trial Chamber invited the parties to provide their comments on the
21 judgement of the State Court in the Radovan Stankovic case. The same
22 position that was taken by the Defence in the appellate brief was that
23 this was relevant for the Trial Chamber, not only for the Appeals Chamber.
24 And we believe that the Defence -- that because the Trial Chamber had
25 invited the parties to do so, it should have taken into account the
1 findings in the first instance judgement in the Radovan Stankovic case.
2 But we believed that the reason why the Trial Chamber did not do so at the
3 time was because the first instance judgement in that case was not final
4 at that time.
5 Of course, the first instance judgement was even more favourable
6 for the Defence in light of the sentence that was imposed by the State
7 Court on Radovan Stankovic in determining the sentence for Mr. Zelenovic.
8 The Defence believed that the first instance judgement -- that the
9 Appeals Chamber, when it modified the sentence that was imposed by the
10 first instance court, in fact retained the same -- the same arguments and
11 that supports the argument proffered by the Defence that Mr. Zelenovic
12 received a much too severe sentence, if you look at the arguments and the
13 sentence that were imposed by the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 The Defence gives weight to this ground, but it did so only after
15 the Trial Chamber asked the parties to present their arguments on this
16 judgement. But the main ground for appeal remains the benefit that
17 accrued to the victims because of his -- Mr. Zelenovic's guilty plea and
18 his cooperation with the Prosecution.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This exactly was my question, that we, the
20 Appeals Chamber, can focus on the merits of this. And, again, you have
21 not - correct me if I'm wrong - pointed to any error committed by the
22 Trial Chamber, because the judgement in the Stankovic case was not yet
23 available at that time.
24 Thank you. So therefore it was my invitation whether it wouldn't
25 be in favour and in the interest of justice to withdraw the second ground
1 of appeal. This was my question.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Judge Schomburg.
3 Yes. Yes, Judge Shahabuddeen, you have the floor, please.
4 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Mr. Jovanovic, this Appeals Chamber, as you
5 well know, operates on the basis that it would try to determine, one,
6 whether there are errors of fact in the Trial Chamber's decision and, two,
7 whether there are errors of law.
8 Now, we leave aside errors of fact. I want to invite you to
9 concentrate on errors of law. Is there, in your mind, an error of law
10 which the Trial Chamber committed? If so, what is that error?
11 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Trial Chamber
12 weighed the mitigating circumstances, and in the view of the Defence,
13 there was an error of law committed because circumstances which should
14 have been considered to be mitigating circumstances were not given
15 sufficient weight. The mitigating circumstances enumerated in the
16 appellant's brief should have been given greater weight. The Defence has
17 described these mitigating circumstances.
18 The Trial Chamber did not reject them as mitigating circumstances,
19 but incorrectly assessed the weight of these circumstances. In spite of
20 the fact that the Trial Chamber is not bound to attach weight to each and
21 every mitigating circumstance, in the view of the Defence, these
22 mitigating circumstances are of such important -- importance that they
23 should have been given due weight and taken into account in the course of
25 JUDGE SHAHABUDDEEN: Thank you, Mr. Jovanovic. That's very
2 MR. JOVANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much, Mr. Jovanovic. You may sit down.
4 Now by came to the last part of the proceeding; that is,
5 Mr. Dragan Zelenovic, should he wish to address the Bench, he will have 15
6 minutes to do so.
7 Mr. Zelenovic, you have the floor.
8 [The appellant stands up]
9 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
10 By admitting my guilt, I must say I admitted it consciously and
11 without any pressure. From the first day when I arrived in Sarajevo, I
12 knew I was on my way to The Hague. I was told, "Plead not guilty and you
13 will be referred to Sarajevo and you will serve your sentence there, like
14 Radovan Stankovic." I spoke to my lawyer and I said, "No, I want to
15 confess my guilt." I am in a poor state of health, and I would have spent
16 a large part of my sentence in hospital. And you can see how Stankovic
17 managed to escape in this way. He got into a car and fled on his way to
19 But I am the only one from Foca who confessed to his guilt, and I
20 believe, Your Honours, that my remorse for what I have done will help the
21 victims to recover and it will reduce their suffering. I also hoped that
22 my cooperation with this Tribunal would assist the Tribunal in its work
23 and lead to -- or rather, contribute to reconciliation in Bosnia.
24 That's all I have to say. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Mr. Zelenovic.
1 Well, I believe that this is all for this morning's proceedings.
2 And the Bench will withdraw for the deliberation of this case.
3 The judgement will be delivered in due time upon further
4 announcement by the Appeals Chamber. The Bench would like to thank both
5 parties for their presentation this morning, and our thanks also go to the
6 interpreters, court reporters, and all those working to make these
7 proceedings possible.
8 The hearing is adjourned.
9 --- Whereupon the Appeals Hearing adjourned
10 at 11.43 a.m.