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Ljubiša Petković Sentenced to Four Months for Contempt of Court

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 11 September 2008

Trial Chamber III today found Ljubiša Petković guilty of contempt of the Tribunal and sentenced him to four months imprisonment.

Petković refused to comply with a confidential subpoena of 7 April 2008 which ordered him to appear as a Chamber witness in the case of Vojislav Šešelj on 13 May 2008.

 According to a memorandum from the Serbian authorities, cited in the Order in lieu of the Indictment, Petković indicated that he would not appear as a witness before the Chamber with any status other than a “witness for the Defence”. He also requested a number of other conditions in order for him to be prepared to appear in court.

The Trial Chamber dismissed the argument put forward by the Defence in which it claimed it was not clear to the accused that the subpoena was addressed to him and that his state of health prevented him from informing the Chamber that he could not comply with the Order.

Delivering the judgement, the presiding judge Jean-Claude Antonetti underlined the gravity of the offence committed by Petković.

“When ordered to appear as a Trial Chamber witness … the Accused could not refuse to comply with the Subpoena stating that he was a ‘Defence witness’,” Judge Antonetti said. “In that regard the Trial Chamber wishes to recall that witnesses are not the property of the parties and that when the Trial Chamber decides, by way of subpoena, that their testimony is necessary for the establishment of the truth, they have to comply with it.”

The Tribunal holds the safety of its witnesses and confidentiality of its protected materials in high regard. Several persons who have attempted to interfere with the judicial process by revealing confidential information or endangering witnesses have been prosecuted.

An information sheet on this case is available on the Tribunal’s website at:

The full text of the summary of the judgment can be found on the Tribunal’s website at:
English: http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/2008/pr1282e-summary.htm


Courtroom proceedings can be followed on the Tribunal’s website www.un.org/icty.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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