Tuesday, 18 January 2005
[The accused entered court]
--- Upon commencing at 3.04 p.m.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Good afternoon. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Could the registrar please call the case.
THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour. Case number IT-95-11-PT, the Prosecutor versus Milan Martic.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Thank you. May we have the appearances, please.
MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good afternoon, Your Honour. For the Prosecution, case manager Lakshmie Walpita, and my name is Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Thank you. And for the Defence, please.
MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour. I'm Predrag Milovancevic, lead counsel for Milan Martic, and together with me is my assistant Vuk Sekulic, attorney-at-law.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Thank you very much. Mr. Martic, please, do you hear me and do you understand the language which is used in these proceedings?
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I can hear you and I can understand you.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Thank you. Sit down, please. Sit down. Well, I have been informed about the meeting you have had today 171 that the 65 ter Rule has provided for, and I see that the reports that are being attended to are going to be tendered by the Prosecution won't be ready on January the 28th, and this is for Colonel Poje and Mr. Theunens. I think that is not very long delay, and I don't find any cause for being concerned about it.
But what is really important is that the documents requested several times by the Defence last year and even the previous year to the Croatian government hasn't met any answer from this government. So the last time that the Defence addressed itself to the government, to the Croatian government was nearly one year ago, if I'm not wrong, on February last year. Could it be perhaps the occasion for the Defence to insist in asking for answers to the previous request. But perhaps in order to facilitate the situation for the Croatian government, could please the Defence specify in a very concrete way what documents the Defence is requiring from the Croatian government. That perhaps could be a solution. You know that in everything you will take on this subject will be very alive to help you with this proposal. So please try to insist again so as to be able to be provided with these documents before we can start with the hearing of the case.
Also, I have been told that you have some problems with the disclosure, the electronic disclosure system. Probably that is a technical matter that perhaps requires the close connection between the Prosecutor and the Defence so as to solve these problems you may have. Unfortunately, I'm not yet able to foresee when the case will be starting, but nevertheless, we'll try to do our best in this way also. 172 Mr. Martic, could you tell us what problems you may have, if any, with your health, with your situation in the Detention Unit?
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't have any problems with health. The only thing I would like to ask for is to -- for the resources to be provided to my Defence, and I wish for my trial to start as soon as possible. I've been here for three years, and now you're saying that you still don't know when we may go into trial. I awaiting this date impatiently.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Yes. I understand that, and you have heard that we are trying to -- to make -- to speed up the case as much as possible, but unfortunately there's some things still lacking, but it is also probably still the case that we are not having a court ready for hearing your case. So you have to have some more patience still. There's another problem. Do you have any difficulties with the communication with your lawyer, with your defence, and all the preparation of your defence?
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have very good cooperation with my lawyers, and I'm happy with that. I'm not happy with the duration of my detention, because it may also happen that I wait for five years as things stand now.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Well, perhaps not so much. You have been here since 2002. So it makes -- I mean five years. I am not happy with your staying such a long time already, but I have to oppose your calculation as a miscalculation. I hope that you are expecting to be before us for five years. I hope and expect that not to be the case. 173 Okay. Thank you. Sit down, please.
I wonder if the parties would have some new -- yes, Mr. Milovancevic. You don't have any --
MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour. I don't need to repeat anything from what was discussed in the 65 ter conference, but just a small matter. I think you have misspoken or I have misheard, but the deadline for all our filings, expert reports and statements, outstanding statements, is the 28th of February and not the --
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: I had said February.
MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I heard January.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: January, January, yes. Because such a short delay in this case, I apologise for this mistake. My information is the 28th January, and sorry I had misspoken the month.
MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's actually all.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Nothing else. Thank you very much. What about you, Mr. Milovancevic?
MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, Your Honour, just a short remark with regard to the documents that were requested from the Croatian government. It is correct that the Defence understands that the documents have to be specified and properly identified. What the Defence wanted to point out before this Trial Chamber is as follows: For a long period of time, for almost a year, the Defence has adhered by the instructions that they received from the parties at Status Conferences and at 65 ter meetings. The Defence was recommended to do something that it accepted and that it finds appropriate, and that is that in communication 174 with the Prosecution, it should first be established whether these documents are in the possession of the Prosecution before resorting to some other measures, namely issuing a binding order to the Croatian government at the request of the Defence.
The Defence has respected these suggestions, and it has adopted this manner of proceedings, and that is why at the meeting which was held in April, at the 65 ter conference in April 2004, it submitted to the Prosecution the list of documents that we requested. After that, the Prosecution searched their collections, and we have information that some of the documents might be found in the Prosecution collections. However, the Defence now faces another problem which has no direct link with the Trial Chamber. However, I would like to inform the Trial Chamber about the problem, because this is a fact that prevents the Defence from doing their job.
On the one hand, Defence does not have resources. On the other hand, we have --
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Excuse me. I haven't understood you. What is the first point you're making, sorry? I didn't understand you. In the first place --
MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] We accepted the EDS system as the system of disclosure. In order for us to be able to search these documents - and we are talking about a collection containing about 215.000 documents - we need resources, and we need time. Unfortunately, we do not have the necessary resources, on the one hand. And on the other hand, it is very difficult to determine what documents are contained in the 175BLANK PAGE 176 collection, which of them are important for the preparation of defence. And this has to do with the pre-trial brief documents. I'm talking about 14.000 documents which were disclosed to the Defence by the Prosecution last May. This is not raw material. This is the evidence that the Prosecution will present during the trial.
The Defence has to study all these documents. We have received a written request from the Prosecution to state whether all these documents are credible and authentic. We have to state what the contents of these documents are. We have to do our search, and investigation, and after the investigation we have to possibly ask for some more documents that might be in favour of the accused.
Again, our hands are tied, and this is not something that the Trial Chamber has to deal with. The Appeals Chamber has decided this is a level 2 case.
However, in July, we asked from the Registry to grant us additional resources due to the fact that we have to search 14.000 documents that were provided to us with a pre-trial brief. In order for us to study all these documents, we need resources.
However, the secretariat did not decide anything until December. In December, the request was denied. And again in December we sent a letter to the Registry asking them to make a decision on this issue in consultation with the Trial Chamber.
We called upon the rules and regulations of the Tribunal and the existing practice.
In my view, in the view of the Defence, the Defence should be 177 granted these resources in order to enable it to work. All this is part of a vicious circle for the Defence. We can request the documents again from the Croatian government even before we establish whether they are in the possession of the Prosecution. I have already said what the situation is. This is an issue that the Defence is forced to raise at this Status Conference. We have another situation, another difficulty that we are facing, and that is the decision of the Trial Chamber to do their job properly and efficiently. Unfortunately, the Defence has not had any resources since March. It is very difficult for the Defence to act on this decision, and in actual terms the accused is left without any defence, because his Defence lawyers do not have the resources to work. We are waiting the final decision of the Registry because our position is very difficult, and they are explained in our written motion, and we are really hoping that the secretariat -- that the Registry will issue their decision in -- shortly and that they will enable us to work.
This is what I wanted to inform you about at this point in time, and I thank you for your time and for listening to me.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: Thank you for whatever you tell me. It amounts to more of what you have already been telling this Chamber in the past. I am afraid you have to do this tremendous amount of work, and I am nevertheless confident that you will be able to carry it on. You have already a rather important amount of money so far, and I'm sorry it's not in my power to organise for you to have some more. Anyway, I am going to accept what you say that the person you are 178 defending is being left without defence. On the contrary. Your concerns about what is your situation and what you have to do means to me and explains to me the responsibility you have to do your work in such a way that could be exactly what is required from the power of the accused. So I understand your situation, but at the same time I believe that you are doing very good work, and you keep - I am confident - that you are going to keep doing the same kind of work in spite of the trouble and the difficulties you have. So you know my sympathy for your situation, and you know also that unfortunately it is not for me to take a solution directly on your situation. Nevertheless, I thank you very much for telling the Chamber how the situation is.
Now, if nothing else is going to be brought about -- yes, please, go ahead.
MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with regard to the sympathies expressed on your part, the Defence is thankful to the Trial Chamber for their understanding. Bearing in mind the fact that we submitted another motion to the Registry asking them to consult with the Trial Chamber, we hope that your sympathies will stay with us when you are consulted by the Registry on this issue and when you issue your decision and when you propose your suggestions to the Registry with this regard.
JUDGE MARTIN-CANIVELL: I am afraid that not much can be done on this subject now, but I realise what is your situation. But I can't encourage you to go on in this way, because I know what has already been decided by the Registry and later on has been accepted by the Court. So I can't go any further on that subject. But I am really well-informed about 179 the situation, and I encourage you to try to stay in the way you are behaving so far and trying to do the most for the person you are defending.
Okay. If nothing else has to be brought about now, I will end this Status Conference, at the same time telling you that nothing else prevents it to be done, we will have in four more months a new Status Conference. That means around next May. And we'll try to behave in -- try to bring about that the case could start as soon as possible, which is important. It's interesting also for the accused, and I am very unhappy about your staying such a long time for the case to be heard. Let's see what happened. Let's see what we can do.
Okay. I thank you all for your presence and your help, and the Registry and of course the interpreters also, and I adjourn the meeting for today.
--- Whereupon the Status Conference adjourned at 3.24 p.m.