1 Monday, 30 May 2011
2 [Status Conference]
3 [Open session]
4 [The appellant entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 11.57 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So we are still a couple of minutes before noon.
7 So good morning, everybody.
8 Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honour. Good morning,
10 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-05-87/1-A,
11 The Prosecutor versus Vlastimir Djordjevic.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Appearances. Let's start with
13 the Prosecution.
14 MS. DAHL: Good morning, Your Honour. My name is Christine Dahl,
15 and I'm here today with Daniela Kravetz and Lourdes Galicia.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And appearance for
17 Appellant Djordjevic.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Dragoljub Djordjevic lead counsel in this case,
19 Your Honour.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And you are assisted by whom?
21 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Co-counsel, Mr. Djurdjic, Veljko, and today
22 together with us is our legal assistant, Ms. Marie O'Leary.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you so much. Before we proceed and I
24 commence, I would just want to make sure that proper interpretation is
25 being relayed and particularly, I address you, Mr. Djordjevic. I would
1 like you to confirm if you are receiving interpretation in your own
2 language or in a language that you understand?
3 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] I can hear. Everything is fine.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Now, this Status Conference is
5 called in accordance with Rule 65 bis of our Rules of Procedure and
6 Evidence. Rule 65 bis (B) requires a Status Conference to be convened
7 within 120 days after the filing of a Notice of Appeal, and thereafter,
8 within 120 days after the last Status Conference.
9 The idea is to -- of holding -- and the purpose of holding these
10 Status Conferences is to allow any person in custody pending appeal the
11 opportunity to raise issues in relation to -- thereto, including the
12 mental and physical condition of that person.
13 Also, it enables the Presiding Judge to make an assessment of
14 what is happening in the course of the preparation for the hearing and
15 disposal of the appeal.
16 Now, I must point out here that parties were granted an extension
17 of time of 60 days to file their notices of appeal. In the
18 circumstances, I decided that it was in the interest of justice to hold a
19 Status Conference earlier than the 120 days of the filing of any notices
20 of appeal.
21 Today's Status Conference was scheduled by an order issued on
22 4th May 2011, which I subsequently amended on the 17th of May, 2011.
23 I come to the first important item on today's agenda; namely, the
24 detention conditions and health of Appellant Djordjevic.
25 Mr. Djordjevic, if you have any concerns in relation to your
1 conditions of detention, or in relation to your state of health while you
2 are being detained, I would invite you to raise them now. I also wish to
3 make it clear that if there are personal matters that you would like to
4 submit, you can ask for this discussion to proceed in private session.
5 In other words, it will be kept inside these four walls and not be made
6 available to the general public.
7 THE APPELLANT: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 The conditions in which I live are identical to those of other
9 detainees. All my detainee rights have been granted to me. I have no
10 health issues. So when it comes to the conditions in which I live in the
11 detention unit, everything is fine.
12 Thank you.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down.
14 The second item on our agenda is the recent procedural history.
15 I'm going to recount very briefly what has been happening.
16 As I already mentioned, on the 11th March of this year, I granted
17 both parties an extension of time of 60 days to file their notices of
18 appeal. The deadline was due on the 24th of this month. And on the 24th
19 of this month, both the Prosecution and the appellant, accused, filed
20 their respective notices of appeal. The Prosecution presented two
21 grounds of appeal, and Appellant Djordjevic presented 19 grounds of
23 The appellant's brief are expected to be filed by Monday,
24 8 August 2011, with a view to have the briefings of these appeals
25 completed on the 22nd of September of this year.
1 Now, my decision of the 11th March of this year emphasised that
2 the extension of time granted for the filing of the notices of appeal not
3 only enabled the parties to prepare their notices of appeal but also
4 allowed them to advance in their work on the appellant's briefs.
5 However, on 27th May - that's a few days ago - Djordjevic's Defence filed
6 a motion asking for, first, an extension of time by 60 additional days to
7 submit the appeal brief, and, second, an extension of word limit for the
8 appeal brief by an additional 30.000 words.
9 I would suppose, Ms. Dahl, that you have been served with a copy
10 of this motion?
11 MS. DAHL: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I know that the time for the response or -- is
13 still running. But I would like to know whether, perhaps, you are in a
14 position to waive the rest of the time and reply to the Defence -- to the
15 appellant's motion now.
16 Please feel free to say no if you feel better to reply within the
17 time-frame that the rules allow it.
18 MS. DAHL: Your Honour, the Prosecution is prepared to orally
19 respond at today's hearing, and let me know if you would like me to do
20 that now or at the conclusion of your remarks.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: No, you can do that now.
22 MS. DAHL: We consider that the briefing schedule currently is
23 more than adequate for the parties to file their appellant's briefs and
24 we oppose the motion. The Trial Judgements length and complexity was
25 already the grounds for extending the time for filing the Notice of
1 Appeal and we do note the emphasise that the Pre-Appeal Judge gave in
2 extending the time for filing the Notice of Appeal, encouraging the
3 parties to get to work on their appeals briefs.
4 Likewise, on the length of the briefings themselves, we don't
5 think that the motion itself presents good cause for a 60.000 word brief.
6 The length of a brief does not make it a better brief. And we'd note
7 that in the Sainovic appeals, 45.000 words was more than adequate within
8 which an appellant can raise the arguments in support of issues of the
9 type and complexity that Mr. Djordjevic's notice presents.
10 So we oppose the relief requested by the Defence in its motion.
11 If the Chamber sees fit to grant the motion, the Prosecution would
12 request the same relief in order to maintain parity between the parties.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Parity is relative because you
14 only have two grounds of appeal.
15 MS. DAHL: Indeed. My point was --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And the whole argument would be valid. I mean, if
17 30.000 words are not needed to found for a 19-ground appeal, just image
18 how much -- so parity, I don't think we can speak of parity at the
19 moment. I mean, it's --
20 MS. DAHL: Your Honour, let me -- I misspoke. The concern about
21 extending the words would be for our response so that we would have equal
22 length in response to the Defence appeal. I don't think that we could --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
24 MS. DAHL: -- even if we said everything twice, use up that
25 amount in our appeal brief.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
2 Mr. Djordjevic would you like to respond to the submissions made
3 by your colleague in the Prosecution?
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Yes, Your Honour. I will take very short period
5 of time. And I will switch in Serbian now --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: -- B/C/S.
8 [Interpretation] Your Honour, I fully understand the position of
9 the Prosecution, but you mentioned the main problem here. The
10 Prosecution has only two grounds of appeal as indicated in their Notice
11 of Appeal.
12 As for the Defence, we have a very complex task before us, that
13 we explained in our briefs. This is why we do not want to use up any
14 more of your valuable time. However, when it comes to Sainovic and
15 others, I have to mention that our client was convicted for even greater
16 number of counts than the accused in the Sainovic case. The complexity
17 of our situation thus is evident.
18 Thank you for allowing me time to elaborate on this. I will
19 leave it to the Appeals Chamber to decide whether the Prosecution and
20 Defence, in this particular case, need the identical amount of time or
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. I will hand down a decision
23 orally at the end of this sitting.
24 Before we proceed, is there anything else that the Prosecution
25 would like to raise today?
1 MS. DAHL: No, thank you, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: And the Djordjevic Defence team?
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
5 MR. DJORDJEVIC: There is no -- any new issues regarding these
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. So I think I will just proceed to
8 decide the motion orally with the understanding that the running
9 time-frame has been waived.
10 I have heard the parties' submission, both on behalf of
11 Mr. Djordjevic's Defence and on behalf of the Prosecution. As I pointed
12 out in my decision of March of this year, having had the opportunity to
13 read the Judgement of the Trial Chamber, which has been appealed from, or
14 appealed against, I was in a position to weigh, more or less, the
15 complexity of the case and the time that would be needed for the
16 formulation of both the Notice of Appeal and the appeal briefs.
17 I, of course, did not know at the time whether the Prosecution
18 would be appealing too, but I imagined that the Defence would definitely
19 be appealing.
20 So I gave an extension of 60 days, as requested, with the
21 understanding that this would have been more or less sufficient for the
22 preparation of, not only the Notice of Appeal, but in preparation for the
23 eventually filing of the appellant's briefs. I have now gone through the
24 two notices of appeal. I have nothing to say about the Prosecution's
25 Notice of Appeal. It's, as I said, two grounds of appeal, without any
1 signs of particular complexity. The accused's, or the appellant
2 Djordjevic's Notice of Appeal is considerably longer. It contains 19
3 grounds of appeal. Some of them are complex; some of them are
4 intertwined; some of them are more or less plain sailing, depending,
5 basically, on how the substantial argumentation will develop later on.
6 But, having studied your Notice of Appeal, Mr. Djordjevic, I don't think
7 that the extension that you -- of time that you are asking for is
8 warranted. I think you have already had sufficient time and you
9 somewhere enough time until August to conclude the brief that are you
10 expected to file. As I said, some of the grounds are intertwined. You
11 can deal with them together. There's no reason why there should be a
12 further extension.
13 However, I notice that the deadline for the filing of the
14 appellant's brief coincides with the -- with the summer break that we
15 have. On the 8th of August, we would still be in recess, and recess
16 applies to everyone. So my idea was to extend the date of filing by a
17 few days, to the 15th of August. That is a Monday. Monday, 15th of
18 August. You have an extra week.
19 As to the request for extra words, again, not that I really see a
20 good reason for what I'm going to decide, but I want to be as magnanimous
21 as I can with you. And instead of the 30.000 words that you are asking,
22 I'm conceding an extra 15.000 words. That should provide you with 45.000
23 words which, in my opinion, are more than ample to cover the 19 grounds
24 of appeal that you have and any complexity that you think there is in
25 your appeal.
1 Okay. So that's my decision. I will -- I just have to say this,
2 that it is my intention to deal with this case with the utmost celerity.
3 Your client, even though convicted at first instance, is in custody, and
4 I think we all owe it to justice to accelerate the proceedings as much as
5 we can so that he knows actually what his destiny will be at the
6 earliest, and we don't stay protracting the case unduly. And I appeal --
7 I know I will receive it, but I appeal to your co-operation, both
8 Prosecution and Defence, on this.
9 There will be another Status Conference within the 120 days
10 specified or laid down in the Rules. And if this is a reason to hold one
11 earlier, of course, I will make sure that it is held when opportune, when
13 I thank you.
14 MS. DAHL: Your Honour --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
16 MS. DAHL: -- may I inquire whether the oral ruling extends to
17 the Prosecution 45.000 words in response to the Defence appeal brief?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. But -- yeah, okay. If you think you need it,
20 MS. DAHL: That will save us from filing a motion. Thank you.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, you're right. I should have mentioned it
22 myself. Thank you. But you don't have any extension of time for the
23 filing of your own appellant's brief.
24 MS. DAHL: Yes, thank you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
1 --- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at
2 12.19 p.m.