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Report No. 198

The Trial Chamber further stated:

"17. Testimony by video-link conferencing is an exception to the general rule. Accordingly, the Trial Chamber will protect against abuse of the grant of the expedient. The Trial Chamber (composed of Judge McDonald, Presiding, with Judges Stephen and Vohrah), has in the Tadic decision, stated that testimony by video-link will be allowed only if (a) the testimony of the witness is shown to be sufficiently important to make it unfair to proceed without it, and (b) the witness is unable or unwilling for good reasons to come to the International Tribunal at The Hague.

The present Trial Chamber agrees with the findings of that discussion and reiterates the position that, because of the particular circumstances of the International Tribunal, "it is in the interest of justice for the Trial Chamber to be flexible and endeavour to provide the parties with the opportunity to give evidence by video-link. The Trial Chamber considers it appropriate to add the additional condition, (c) that the accused will not thereby be prejudiced in the exercise of his right to confront the witness.

18. The Trial Chamber also notes that the Tadic decision sets forth the view that the evidentiary value of testimony provided by Videolink is not as weighty as testimony given in the Court room (para 21). The distance of the witness from the solemnity of the Court room proceedings and the fact that the witness is not able to see all those present in the Court room at the same time, but only those on whom the video-camera is focused, may detract from the reliance placed upon his or her evidence. The Trial Chamber agrees with this general principle, whilst also considering that it is a matter for the assessment of the Chamber when evaluating the evidence as a whole, to determine how credible each witness is."

As to the accused's rights, the Trial Chamber said:

"19. It is necessary to explain in amplification that the provisions of Art. 21(4)(e), derived from Art. 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, did not envisage the giving of evidence by video-link conference. But sub Rule 89(B), in its wisdom, has provided for the extension of the rules of evidence to cover new situations not contemplated."

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