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| Jelena Rašić
Today Trial Chamber III sentenced Jelena Rašić to 12 months' imprisonment for contempt of the Tribunal. Rašić will be given credit for the 78 days she has already spent in detention. The Chamber ruled that the remaining 8 months of the sentence would be suspended for a period of two years.
Rašić was formerly a case manager on the Defence team of Milan Lukić, a Bosnian Serb who was sentenced by the Trial Chamber to life imprisonment for crimes committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad. She was sentenced today following her conviction on 31 January 2012 of having knowingly and wilfully interfered with the administration of justice by procuring a false witness statement from Zuhdija Tabaković from Višegrad in exchange for €1,000 in cash. This conviction followed the acceptance by the Trial Chamber of a Plea Agreement filed jointly by the Prosecution and the Defence, at a hearing at which the Accused pleaded guilty to all five counts of Contempt set out in an amended indictment filed jointly by the parties on 24 January 2012.
In rendering its Judgement, the Chamber found that “[t]he crimes which Jelena Rašić has admitted to having committed are grave. Procurement of false evidence in any situation amounts to direct interference with the administration of justice. When perpetrated before an international criminal jurisdiction, such as the Tribunal, such interference has far-reaching consequences.”
In determining that it would be appropriate to suspend the remaining 8 months of Rašić’s sentence, the Trial Chamber took into account the difficult circumstances engendered by her being the only female detainee in the United Nations Detention Unit, Rašić’s health condition, her comparably young age and the fact that this is the first time she has received a prison sentence. Rašić will not have to serve the last 8 months of her sentence unless she is convicted for another crime punishable with imprisonment, including contempt of court, during two years counted from today, 7 February 2012.
On or about 18 October 2008, Rašić approached Zuhdija Tabaković with a request to sign a pre-written statement even though he did not witness the events nor did he have any knowledge of the events described in the statement. Once Tabaković signed the statement and the signature was certified at the Novi Grad Municipality building in Sarajevo on 20 October 2008, Rašić gave Tabaković an envelope containing 1,000 euros and stated he would be paid more money once he testified. A summary of the statement then appeared on the witness summary list filed by the Defence for Milan Lukić in November 2008 and was provided to OTP in full in January 2009.
Rašić was also convicted of inciting Tabaković to offer bribes and to procure false witness statements from two other individuals. Rašić presented Tabaković with two other pre-written statements asking him to find two men to sign them and testify in return for a payment of 1,000 Euros. Tabaković found two men willing to do so and on 23 October 2008, Rašić met the two men and accompanied them to the Novi Grad Municipality building where she completed the statements. Once their signatures were certified, the two men were given envelopes containing money by an associate of Rašić. Zuhdija Tabaković was convicted of Contempt of the Tribunal on 15 March 2010 and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.
The indictment against Rašić was filed confidentially on 9 July 2010 and made public on 22 September 2010. Rašić was transferred to the seat of the Tribunal on 20 September 2010 and at her initial appearance on 22 September 2010, pleaded not guilty to all five counts of contempt. Rašić was granted provisional release on 12 November 2010 pending the start of trial.
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International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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