Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 46

1 Wednesday, 19 January 2005

2 [Initial Appearance]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 4.32 p.m.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

7 Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.

8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Case number

9 IT-97-25/1, The Prosecutor versus Savo Todovic.

10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Registrar.

11 Mr. Todovic, before we proceed any further, I want to make sure

12 that what is being said is being translated into your own language or in a

13 language which you can understand. Can you confirm that?

14 THE ACCUSED [No interpretation]

15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. You may sit down.

16 THE ACCUSED [No interpretation]

17 JUDGE AGIUS: Appearances for the Prosecution.

18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good afternoon, Your Honour. The Prosecution

19 is represented today by trial attorney Christina Moeller. My name is

20 Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff, I'm the senior trial attorney on this case, and

21 we are accompanied by the case manager Sebastian Van Hooydonk.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, I thank you, madam, and good afternoon to you.

23 Appearances for the Defence.

24 MR. ZECEVIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Slobodan Zecevic for

25 the defendant Mr. Todovic.

Page 47

1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good afternoon to you, too.

2 Before we proceed any further, let me give you some information.

3 I will first dwell on a few details related to the indictment and the

4 historical background to these proceedings.

5 On the 29th of November of 2001, following a specific request by

6 Madame Del Ponte, the Prosecutor of this Tribunal, Judge Liu Daqun

7 unsealed an indictment against Savo Todovic and Mitar Rasevic. The latter

8 of these two, that is Mitar Rasevic, was eventually transferred to this

9 Tribunal on the 15th of August of 2003 and is currently awaiting trial in

10 the Detention Unit of this Tribunal.

11 Originally, Savo Todovic and Mitar Rasevic were jointly charged

12 with Milorad Krnojelac in an indictment which was dated 11th of June of

13 1997. On the 15th of June of 1998, SFOR apprehended Krnojelac who was

14 subsequently transferred to this Tribunal to stand trial. Effectively he

15 stood trial, and this Trial Chamber, differently presided and composed, on

16 15th March 2002, sentenced him to 7.5 years' imprisonment. Following an

17 appeal, the Appeals Chamber delivered a judgement on the 17th of

18 September, 2003, and Krnojelac's sentence was effectively increased from

19 7.5 years to 15 years' imprisonment.

20 According to the indictment, and to ensure that filings relating

21 to the accused Rasevic were not confused with those in the ongoing

22 Krnojelac case, the Registrar decided to assign a new case number to the

23 case of Prosecutor versus Savo Todovic and Mitar Rasevic, namely case

24 number IT-97-25/1, which is effectively the reference number that we're

25 using for this case today.

Page 48

1 The indictment has since been amended with relation to the accused

2 Rasevic but the operative indictment against Savo Todovic remains the

3 original indictment as confirmed by Judge Vohrah way back on the 17th of

4 June of 1997.

5 According to the indictment, on 7th April, 1992, Serb military

6 forces, which included Bosnian Serbs and citizens of Serbian descent from

7 other parts of the former Yugoslavia, began the occupation of Foca town,

8 which was completed on the 16th or 17th of April of that same year. As

9 soon as the Serbian forces controlled parts of the Foca town, military

10 police, accompanied by local and non-local soldiers, started arresting

11 Muslim and other non-Serbian inhabitants. Most, if not all, detainees

12 were civilians, civilians who had not been charged with any crime and were

13 mostly Muslim men from 16 to 80 years of age. This crowd included also

14 mentally handicapped, physically disabled, and seriously ill persons.

15 The Foca Kazneno-Papravni Dom, which will be referred later on as

16 KP Dom, one of the largest prisons in the former Yugoslavia, became the

17 primary detention facility for these men.

18 According to the Prosecution and according to the indictment, you,

19 Savo Todovic, worked in the KP Dom prison from the 4th of January, 1974,

20 until at least October 1994. 1994, not '74. As deputy commander of the

21 KP Dom prison staff from April 1992 until at least August 1993, the

22 Prosecution allege that you were second in command in the prison hierarchy

23 and had similar powers and duties as the camp commander.

24 According to the indictment, you were in charge of selecting

25 detainees for killing, beating, interrogation, forced labour, solitary

Page 49

1 confinement, and also exchanges. According to the Prosecution, you were

2 also responsible for the punishment of detainees.

3 Finally, the indictment alleges that on numerous evenings, from

4 April until July of 1992, the KP Dom guards used prepared lists to select

5 detainees who were to be beaten, and most evenings you delivered the list

6 to the guards who then took the detainees to the administration building

7 for additional interrogations and beatings.

8 By order of the Vice-president of this Tribunal, dated yesterday,

9 18th January 2005, this case was assigned to Trial Chamber II, of which I

10 am the Presiding Judge. And by a further order of the same date, signed

11 by me, I appointed myself as the Pre-Trial Judge for the purposes and only

12 for the purposes of this initial appearance.

13 There is an important matter that I need to mention here before I

14 proceed any further. I don't know if you are aware of it or not. I would

15 presume that Mr. Zecevic who has been appointed, I know for the purposes

16 of this initial hearing, I would imagine that you are aware of it, but in

17 case you aren't, I'm just informing you of the following: In November,

18 precisely on the 1st of November of last year, the Prosecutor submitted or

19 filed what is known as a Rule 11 bis (A) motion to the President of the

20 Tribunal, requesting that a Trial Chamber be appointed for the purposes of

21 determining if this case should be referred to the authorities in Bosnia

22 and Herzegovina for prosecution in their own courts. The following day,

23 that is the 2nd of November, 2004, the President of this Tribunal,

24 President Meron, appointed a Trial Chamber which will in due course

25 determine this request. The priority, for the time being, lies with that

Page 50

1 special Chamber to take such a decision, although the Prosecution is

2 required and remains charged with the obligation of implementing its --

3 the disclosure responsibilities that it has according to our Rules.

4 The present Chamber will focus on this case in more detail once a

5 decision by the other Chamber necessitates such course of action. In the

6 meantime, of course, until that matter is decided by the special Tribunal,

7 Status Conferences, if need be, will be summoned and convened according to

8 the Rules.

9 This is for your information, and I am sure that your lawyer, be

10 it Mr. Zecevic or anyone else, for that matter, if someone else comes for

11 the purpose of the pre-trial proceedings, will -- I'm sure will be able to

12 advise you accordingly.

13 I will now proceed with the initial appearance of the accused

14 pursuant to Rule 62 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and then

15 towards the end I will move to the most important formality of this

16 procedure; namely, to formally charge you in terms of the indictment.

17 One of my foremost duties in terms of Rule 62 is to ensure that

18 you are represented, and I notice that you are represented today by

19 Mr. Zecevic. I take it Mr. Zecevic has been appointed by the Registrar.

20 MR. ZECEVIC: That is correct, Your Honour.

21 JUDGE AGIUS: And that you were advised accordingly, Mr. Todovic.

22 Do you have anything to say about your being represented today by

23 Mr. Zecevic?

24 THE ACCUSED [No interpretation]

25 JUDGE AGIUS: I did not receive interpretation.

Page 51

1 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I know that Mr. Zecevic

2 has been designated to represent me today.

3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Later on, I will be giving you an

4 opportunity to enter a plea on the various counts of this indictment, but

5 before I do so and before I come to the crux of the procedure, I would

6 like to put to you some questions.

7 The first question that I would like to put to you is could you

8 please give us your full name and surname.

9 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm Savo Todovic.

10 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, do you have any nicknames? Are you

11 also named -- known by any nicknames?

12 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, I have no nickname.

13 JUDGE AGIUS: What is your date of birth?

14 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I was born on the 11th of December,

15 1952.

16 JUDGE AGIUS: And where were you born?

17 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I was born in the village of

18 Celebici, near Foca.

19 JUDGE AGIUS: And what is the address at which you resided before

20 you were arrested? If you want to give this in private session, we will

21 go into private session and you will give it in private session.

22 Otherwise, you can give it in open session. It's up to you.

23 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I would prefer to do it in private

24 session.

25 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while.

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Page 53

1 [Private session]

2 (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted)

6 (redacted)

7 (redacted)

8 (redacted)

9 (redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 [Open session]

13 JUDGE AGIUS: Are the immediate members of your family informed

14 about your arrest?

15 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I surrendered

16 voluntarily, and my family knows this. I have not been arrested.

17 JUDGE AGIUS: That's the way you describe it, but the embassy of

18 your country, are you aware whether they have been informed of your

19 surrender and subsequent arrest?

20 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I do not know whether the embassy of

21 my country has been told of my voluntary surrender, Your Honour.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: And the same applies to your transfer and detention

23 in the unit. Your family knows about that, I suppose?

24 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, my family knows I'm

25 here. As for the embassy, I do not know whether they have been informed

Page 54

1 or not.

2 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you like me as the Pre-Trial Judge to inform

3 anyone, including your embassy, of the fact that you are here facing these

4 procedure -- proceedings?

5 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, there is no need for

6 this.

7 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honour, if I may be of assistance.


9 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm aware by talking to Mr. Todovic that the liaison

10 officer for Republika Srpska, Mr. Trivun Jovicic, has met with

11 Mr. Todovic, so I believe that the embassy of his country is informed

12 about it.

13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I am sure that is the case, Mr. Zecevic. And

14 I am also informed by my staff that essentially the travel transfer

15 arrangements were coordinated with the diplomatic representatives.

16 MR. ZECEVIC: That is correct, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE AGIUS: So -- you may sit down, Mr. Todovic.

18 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Thank you.

19 JUDGE AGIUS: The fact of your arraignment here today and your

20 initial appearance entails a number of rights, procedural and substantive

21 rights, that you enjoy both under the Statute of this Tribunal and under

22 the Rules of this Tribunal. These rights are based on the universally

23 recognised and applied basic fundamental Rules of a fair trial in

24 particular, but also rights relating to one's personal freedom.

25 I would like to invite the registrar to read out to you the

Page 55

1 relevant two articles of our Statute which list out the various rights to

2 which you are entitled, and these rights you have from the beginning until

3 the end of all these proceedings.

4 Registrar, could you please read out Article 20 first.

5 THE REGISTRAR: Article 20: "Commencement and conduct of trial

6 proceedings.

7 "The Trial Chamber shall ensure that a trial is fair and

8 expeditious and that proceedings are conducted in accordance with the

9 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, with full respect for the rights of the

10 accused and due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses.

11 "A person against whom an indictment has been confirmed shall,

12 pursuant to an order or an arrest warrant of the International Tribunal,

13 be taken into custody, immediately informed of the charges against him,

14 and transferred to the International Tribunal.

15 "The Trial Chamber shall read the indictment, satisfy itself that

16 the rights of the accused are respected, confirm that the accused

17 understands the indictment, and instruct the accused to enter a plea. The

18 Trial Chamber shall then set the date for trial.

19 "The hearing shall be public unless the Trial Chamber decides to

20 close the proceedings in accordance with its Rules of Procedure and

21 Evidence."

22 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you please read out Article 21 now.

23 THE REGISTRAR: Article 21: "Rights of the accused.

24 "All persons shall be equal before the International Tribunal.

25 "In the determination of charges against him, the accused shall

Page 56

1 be entitled to a fair and public hearing, subject to Article 22 of the

2 Statute.

3 "The accused shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty

4 according to the provisions of the present Statute.

5 "In the determination of any charge against the accused pursuant

6 to the present Statute, the accused shall be entitled to the following

7 minimum guarantees, in full equality:

8 "To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he

9 understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him;

10 "To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his

11 defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;

12 "To be tried without undue delay;

13 "To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or

14 through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does

15 not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance

16 assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require,

17 and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient

18 means to pay for it;

19 "To exam, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to

20 obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the

21 same conditions as witnesses against him;

22 "To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot

23 understand or speak the language used in the International Tribunal;

24 "Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess

25 guilt."

Page 57

1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Registrar.

2 And the first thing I want to know is whether you have understood

3 the import, the extent - you may remain seated, Mr. Todovic - whether you

4 have understood the import, the extent of these rights as read out to you.

5 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: If you require any information or any explanation

7 from me, please let me know.

8 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] There is no need, Your Honour.

9 JUDGE AGIUS: The first thing I obviously need to inquire from you

10 is whether you have been served, whether you have received a copy of the

11 indictment in your own language.

12 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

13 JUDGE AGIUS: Have you read it?

14 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] I have read it but I saw it for the

15 first time two days ago, and the time period is very short, so I haven't

16 really been able to comprehend it in its entirety.

17 JUDGE AGIUS: But are you aware of its contents? Do you know what

18 you are being charged with?

19 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

20 JUDGE AGIUS: I am going to inform you -- you may sit down.

21 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Thank you.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: -- what you are being charged with, and one of the

23 reasons is because later on I'm going to ask you whether you want to enter

24 a plea to these charges. You have several counts, as I will be

25 explaining. But according to Rule 62(A)(iii), I am bound to inform you

Page 58

1 that within 30 days of today, you will be called upon to enter either a

2 plea of guilty or a plea of not guilty on each count, but you have also

3 got the option of entering a plea one way or another, today. You also

4 have the right to remain silent on this, in which case obviously the 30

5 day period will come into force and I will call upon you in the course of

6 that period for a plea on your part.

7 Is it your desire to enter a plea today? Because from what you

8 told me, you seem to require a little bit more time to consider your

9 position.

10 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you may allow me a

11 period of time as provided for by the regulations of this Tribunal, I

12 would like 30 days within which to plead.

13 JUDGE AGIUS: You will have up to 30 days, up to 30 days from

14 today.

15 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Thank you.

16 JUDGE AGIUS: However, I still feel that I have a responsibility -

17 you may sit down - to go through the procedure as follows: According to

18 the Rules, I'm supposed to read out the entire indictment to you, and that

19 I cannot postpone until another 30 days. You can, however, waive this

20 right, and we can dispose of reading the entire indictment today.

21 What is your position on this?

22 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, I waive that right.

23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So the indictment will not be read. You

24 may sit down. The indictment will not be read, but it is the practice, at

25 least the practice that I have adopted in previous cases, and some of my

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Page 60

1 colleagues, too, that since these are public proceedings, we go through

2 the counts so that the public, that includes also victims, are fully aware

3 of what the accused is being charged with.

4 I already gave some indication, some information, some background

5 information on the facts, on the events which lie at the base of this

6 indictment. There are several counts. Basically there are 18 counts that

7 you are facing, Mr. Todovic.

8 The first count against you is a charge of persecution on

9 political, racial, and/or religious grounds, this being a crime against

10 humanity.

11 The second count is a charge of torture, again this being a crime

12 against humanity.

13 There is, then, the third count, which is also a charge of

14 torture, but this time torture is being charged as a grave breach of the

15 Geneva Conventions of 1949.

16 And once more, torture is being charged in the fourth count as a

17 violation of the laws or customs of war.

18 In the fifth count, you are being charged generically of inhumane

19 acts as a crime against humanity.

20 And in the sixth count, you are charged with wilfully causing

21 serious injury to body or health of various persons, this being a grave

22 breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

23 In the seventh count, you are charged with cruel treatment of

24 individuals, this being a violation of the laws or customs of war.

25 And in the eighth count, you are being charged with murder, this

Page 61

1 being a crime against humanity.

2 In the ninth count, you are charged with wilful killing, this

3 being a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

4 And once more, on the tenth -- in the tenth count, you are charged

5 with murder, this being a violation of the laws or customs of war.

6 In the 11th count, you are charged with imprisonment, this being a

7 crime against humanity.

8 And in the 12th count, you're charged with unlawful confinement of

9 civilians as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

10 In the 13th count, you are charged with inhumane acts as a crime

11 against humanity.

12 And in the 14th count, you are charged with wilfully causing great

13 suffering as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

14 In the 15th count, you are charged with cruel treatment as a

15 violation of the laws and customs of war.

16 And in the 16th count, you are charged with enslavement as a crime

17 against humanity.

18 In the 17th count, you are charged with various instances of

19 inhumane treatment as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

20 And finally, in the 18th count, you are charged with slavery, this

21 being a violation of the laws or customs of war.

22 For the record, the Pre-Trial Judge notes that the accused has

23 asked to be allowed time within the Rules, within Rule 62(A)(iii) to enter

24 a plea on each and every one of these counts, a request that is being

25 acceded to.

Page 62

1 There are very few things left, and we will go through them one by

2 one.

3 One of the things that will be done in the next few days is I will

4 appoint a Pre-Trial Chamber which will be dealing with the pre-trial stage

5 of this case parallel with but also in expectation of the decision that

6 will be taken in due course by the special Chamber charged with the

7 decision of -- on the motion presented by the Prosecution under Rule 11

8 bis (A) that I referred to earlier.

9 Either I or the Pre-Trial Judge or Chamber will schedule a Status

10 Conference pursuant to Rule 65 bis (A) of the Rules of Procedure and

11 Evidence, and this will be held within the statutory 120 days starting

12 from today. The purpose of such Status Conference and subsequent ones

13 will be twofold. First is to organise and facilitate the preparation of

14 the trial; and secondly, so that the Pre-Trial Judge will have an

15 opportunity of seeing you in person to ensure that you are being treated

16 well and to also be made aware of any complaints or any requests that you

17 might have. Subsequent Status Conferences will be held within the

18 statutory period following the first one.

19 I will also be instructing the Registrar straight away to start

20 the ball rolling to fix a date for the trial. Of course don't expect the

21 Registrar to be in a position to fix the date of your trial in the very

22 near future, because that depends very much on the progress of the Status

23 Conferences and also of the proceedings pending before the special Chamber

24 dealing with the 11 bis (A) Prosecution motion.

25 While all this is going on, you will be detained in custody, but I

Page 63

1 am under an obligation to draw your attention to a right that you have to

2 file an application for provisional release. I would refer you to Rule 65

3 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, which deals with this matter with

4 provisional release. There are certain conditions that need to exist

5 before this Tribunal concedes provisional release, and I would address you

6 to that particular provision. I'm sure that your counsel, your lawyer,

7 will be able to assist you in relation.

8 I turn to my left and look at the Prosecution team. It's almost

9 needless, superfluous to remind you, but I do remind you that you have

10 Rule 66 pending on your head, and this imposes you a time limit of 30 days

11 within which to disclose to the Defence, to the accused, in a language

12 that he understands, all the supporting material which accompanied the

13 indictment when confirmation was sought. If you haven't done so, please

14 do so within the statutory time limit. Yes.

15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, we are actually in a position to

16 distribute these materials because we have prepared them in advance.

17 However, as it is not clear that Mr. Zecevic will be the permanent

18 counsel, we will retain them with us until we know who is the permanent

19 counsel.

20 JUDGE AGIUS: I would imagine you have them already from the

21 Rasevic, so it shouldn't be a problem.

22 Last major point I would like to make: Mr. Todovic and

23 Mr. Zecevic, you and maybe your successor, I address you to Rule 72(A) of

24 our Rules of Procedure and Evidence, pursuant to which you have a 30-day

25 period within which you can file any preliminary motion mentioned in that

Page 64

1 Rule once you have received all the supporting material in accordance with

2 Rule 66. So the 30-day period for the time being remains in abeyance

3 until the disclosure that I mentioned earlier has been effected, and it

4 will start running from the day service takes place.

5 Mr. Todovic, if it is not your intention to retain Mr. Zecevic,

6 then I encourage you to contact the Registrar through the officers in the

7 Detention Unit to start the ball rolling if you wish some other counsel,

8 some other lawyer to be appointed to represent you.

9 Also, as I tried to explain through the reading of Article 21 by

10 the registrar, you are also entitled to legal aid if you do not have

11 adequate means according to the Rules of this Tribunal within which to

12 provide for your own defence, but that is something that you can take up

13 with the Registrar and in which I will not involve myself here. I'm just

14 advising you of it.

15 I do not have anything else to say, except that I will first refer

16 to you, towards the Prosecution, to see whether you would like to raise

17 any matter at this stage before we adjourn.

18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour.

19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And you, Mr. Todovic, or you,

20 Mr. Zecevic, is there anything, any matter that you would like to raise?

21 MR. ZECEVIC: No, Your Honour.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Todovic?

23 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.

24 JUDGE AGIUS: But before we conclude, I want to make sure that

25 since your return, you have been treated well by -- since your arrest and

Page 65

1 up to now, you have been treated well?

2 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, from the moment of my

3 surrender until today, I have been treated in a professional and correct

4 manner and I have no complaints.

5 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have any health matters that you would like

6 to raise? In which case we can also go into private session. Do you need

7 my intervention with the Detention Unit commander on matters relating to

8 any particular needs that you may have? We can go into private session if

9 you need to.

10 THE ACCUSED [Interpretation] Your Honour, there is no need. I'm

11 in good health.

12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. Please, Mr. Todovic, the

13 Trial Chamber is always at your disposal should there be any complaints

14 relating to anything. You can address those directly or through your

15 lawyer, and I can assure you that we will give them our utmost attention.

16 We are going to adjourn today. You will appear again before this

17 Trial Chamber within the 30-day period so that we can proceed with your

18 plea, which can be either one of guilty or one of not guilty. You can

19 also remain silent, in which case your silence will be taken as tantamount

20 to a plea of not guilty.

21 The Initial Appearance sitting is adjourned, thank you.

22 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned

23 at 5.17 p.m.