QUESTIONS ABOUT ABILITY OF HADZIC AND ELIGIBILITY OF JUDGES
According to the prosecution, the motion in which Hadzic's defense sought to have the judges disqualified because of their alleged bias is 'cynical and fundamentally flawed'. It constitutes an abuse of process and is a "poorly veiled attempt to hinder the expeditious completion' of the de-fense case. The Trial Chamber has called for an assessment of Hadzic's cognitive functions and his ability to participate in the trial
Last week Goran Hadzic's defense called for voluntary withdrawal or disqualification of the judges from deliberations on the prosecution's request to continue the trial with or without the accused. In October 2014, Hadzic was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the trial has been temporarily suspended. Hadzic has since refused to give his permission for the proceedings to continue without him.
In its motion of 24 March 2015, the defense notes that the judges have 'a financial, economic and professional interest' in the continuation of the trial. The judges' term of office depends on their ruling on the prosecution's motion, the defense argues. Hadzic's lawyers also note that the term of office of two of the judges expires on 31 December 2015, while the term of office of the third ad litem judge is directly linked to the decision whether the trial would continue. If the prosecution's motion is granted, the trial will continue not only if Hadzic is unable to participate but also if there is no chance of his recovery, the defense said in the motion. If the judges decide that the trial is to continue, this will impact their own term of office. This means that they will be biased when they ponder the issue, and should lead to their'automatic disqualification'.
According to the prosecution, the defense's motion was 'cynical and fundamentally flawed'. The defense has failed to show the existence of 'an unacceptable appearance of bias', the prosecutor noted. The motion was 'frivolous' , and represented a 'poorly veiled attempt to hinder the expeditious completion' of the defense's case by postponing the decision on the prosecution's motion.
The prosecution also stresses that an extension of the trial after the expiry of the judges' term of office would be the result of Hadzic's illness, which could not have been foreseen. The illness has resulted in a five-month break in the trial. However, the current practice dictates
that the terms of the judges is extended until the end of the trial, the prosecution added. In the prosecution'sopinion, there are no grounds for the suggestion that the judges should be disqualified from deciding on the measures to complete the proceedings.
Finally, the prosecution says that the defense's motion constitutes abuse of process. The defense counsels should be disallowed from claiming compensation for drafting the motion as punishment.
In the meantime, the Trial Chamber has ordered the Registry to appoint an independent neuropsychologist to see if Hadzic is able to stand trial and to report to the judges. Also, the Trial Chamber has ordered neurooncologist Dr. Seute to check if the accused suffered any cognitive defects as side effects of his medical treatment, and to tell the judges how they can be alleviatedand how the tumor has reacted to therapy. Dr. Seute has already examined Hadzic. Dr. Taphoorn, who is in charge of Hadzic's treatment, should also respond to the same questions.
The Registry has until 9 April 2105 to decide when medical doctors will be able to examine Hadzic, file their reports and further explain their findings in the court. The defense and prosecution will then have four days to submit their arguments on Hadzic's ability to attend the trial.
- Case : Hadzic
- 2015-03-24 HOW TO CONTINUE HADZIC’S TRIAL
- 2015-03-18 DEFENSE WANTS DETAILED REPORTS ON HADZIC'S HEALTH
- 2015-03-16 HADZIC TO REMAIN IN THE HAGUE
- 2015-04-13 HADZIC PROVISIONALLY RELEASED
- 2015-04-28 HADZIC WANTS HIS PROVISIONAL RELEASE TO BE EXTENDED
- 2015-05-22 HADZIC’S PROVISIONAL RELEASE EXTENDED