Translation resources

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Decision on Translation - 04.09.2008 PRLIĆ et al.

9. The Appeals Chamber considers that the Trial Chamber’s calculations were indeed erroneous.  The Trial Chamber reasoned in the Impugned Order that “since the co-accused must respond to similar allegations from the Prosecution, a similar number of standard United Nations pages of documents should allow each one of them to effectively ensure his own defence”.[1]  Assuming this reasoning is appropriate in light of the specific circumstances of each accused, the total number of pages to be allocated to Praljak is to be compared with the total number of pages of translations received or to be received by the co-accused in question, including both the pages already translated and those pending translation.

19. The Appeals Chamber considers that the Trial Chamber did not commit a discernable error in requesting in advance a detailed description of the documents that Praljak wanted to have translated.  Without this information, the Trial Chamber could not make a reasonable assessment as to what translation resources were justifiably needed by the Defence. For the Trial Chamber to have left such an assessment until the opening of the Defence case, at which time the precise contours of the Defence case would be known, would only result in unnecessary delays in the translation process.  An early assessment of the resources to be allocated to the parties ensures the smooth and expeditious conduct of the proceedings and the request of the Trial Chamber clearly falls within its discretionary power based on its familiarity with the case and its daily management of the trial.

20. While the Appeals Chamber is satisfied that the approach of the Trial Chamber fell well within its discretionary power, it is nevertheless concerned that the assessment of the Trial Chamber was in violation of the right of an accused being tried jointly to be accorded the same rights as if he were tried separately in accordance with Rule 82 of the Rules.  The Appeals Chamber notes that the Trial Chamber decided on the translation resources to be allocated to Praljak by reference to those already allocated to his co-defendants without considering whether that reference point was sufficient to take into account Praljak’s specific needs.  If a comparison among resources to be allocated to co-defendants is relevant to ensure the fair treatment of each defendant vis-à-vis each other, the Trial Chamber must still ultimately make an assessment of the resources of each accused separately in order to ensure these resources are sufficient for the conduct of that accused’s case pursuant to Article 21(4)(b) of the Statute.

25. The Appeals Chamber finds that Rule 3(E) of the Rules, which provides “(t)he Registrar shall make any necessary arrangements for interpretation and translation into and from the working languages” does not preclude the Trial Chamber from imposing a reasonable limitation on what translation resources should be made available to an accused to ensure a fair trial.  The authority to impose such a limitation flows from the Trial Chamber’s responsibility and authority of managing the proceedings before it.  As such, it is within the Trial Chamber’s discretion to limit the translation resources made available to the parties provided that the limitation is consistent with the statutory rights of an accused, including Article 21(4)(e) of the Statute.

26. The Appeals Chamber further notes that it is not necessarily inconsistent for the Trial Chamber to limit both the time available for oral testimony and the translation resources available for written testimony if the combined limitations do not hinder the capacity of the accused to present an adequate defence.  The key requirement under Article 21(4)(b) of the Statute is that the assessment of each measure ­ such as the limitation on translation services ­ must be made in the context of the totality of the other measures taken, including the limitations on oral testimony.

[1] Impugned Order [Prosecutor v. Jadranko Prlić et al., Case No. IT-04-74-T, Ordonnance portant sur la demande de Slobodan Praljak relative à la traduction de documents, 16 May 2008], p. 8 (emphasis added).

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ICTR Rule Rule 3(E) ICTY Rule Rule 3(E)
Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 23.01.2014 ŠAINOVIĆ et al.

114.   The Appeals Chamber notes that the Trial Chamber’s decisions setting time limits within which Lukić was required to file the translations of the exhibits on his Rule 65 ter list are discretionary decisions to which the Appeals Chamber must accord deference.[1] It further recalls that, pursuant to Rule 3(E) of the Rules, “[t]he Registrar shall make any necessary arrangements for interpretation and translation into and from the working languages” of the Tribunal. This obligation does not imply, however, that the parties have unlimited access to the translation resources of the Tribunal. Rather, a trial chamber may impose certain limitations provided that they are consistent with the right of the accused to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence.[2] Any such limitations must be based on a reasonable assessment of the Defence needs of each particular accused in a multi-accused trial, taking into account the legal and factual complexity of the case.[3] Accordingly, it is not appropriate to limit a party’s access to translation resources solely because of CLSS capacity restraints.[4]

[1] Cf. Krajišnik Appeal Judgement, para. 81, and references therein.

[2] See Article 21(4)(b) of the Statute. See also Prosecutor v. Jadranko Prlić et al., Case No. IT-04-74-AR73.9, Decision on Slobodan Praljak’s Appeal Against the Trial Chamber’s Decision of 16 May 2008 on Translation of Documents, 4 September 2008 (“Prlić Decision of 4 September 2008”), para. 25.

[3] See Prlić Decision of 5 December 2008 [Prosecutor v. Jadranko Prlić et al., Case No. IT-04-74-AR73.12, Decision on Slobodan Praljak’s Appeal of the Trial Chamber’s 13 October 2008 Order Limiting the Translation of Defence Evidence, 5 December 2008], para. 28, referring to Prlić Decision of 6 February 2007 [Prosecutor v. Jadranko Prlić et al., Case No. IT-04-74-AR73.4, Decision on Prosecution Appeal Concerning the Trial Chamber’s Ruling Reducing Time for the Prosecution Case, 6 February 2007], para. 16.

[4] Prlić Decision of 5 December 2008, para. 24.

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