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The Hague, 5 February 2010
Vojislav Šešelj Charged with Contempt of Court
Vojislav Šešelj, the leader of the Serb Radical Party currently standing trial at the Tribunal for alleged war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia between 1991 and 1994, has been charged with contempt of court.
Yesterday, Trial Chamber II filed an order in lieu of an indictment and initiated contempt proceedings against Šešelj for having disclosed information on 11 protected witnesses, including their real names, occupations and places of residence, in violation of the Trial Chamber’s orders in a book he authored.
The Trial Chamber ordered the Registrar to appoint an amicus curiae prosecutor to prosecute the charge set out in the Decision.
The indictment follows a confidential decision made by the Appeals Chamber in December 2009 in which it found that the Trial Chamber had erred when it concluded that insufficient grounds existed to prosecute Šešelj for contempt in August 2009. The Prosecution’s original motion related to three books, whose titles are confidential, authored by the Accused. The Prosecution appealed the Trial Chamber’s findings in relation to only one of the three books. The appeal was granted by the Appeals Chamber on 17 December 2009, followed by an order of the President of the Tribunal assigning Judges O-Gon Kwon, Kevin Parker and Burton Hall to this case.
An Initial Appearance at which Šešelj will be called to enter a plea to the charge will be scheduled in due course.
This is the second time Šešelj faces charges of contempt. On 24 July 2009, he was found guilty of contempt and sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment for disclosing the name and other personal details of protected witnesses in a book he authored. The case is currently pending before the Appeals Chamber.
The Tribunal regards the integrity of witnesses and confidential materials as essential elements in the rule of law. Several persons who have attempted to interfere with the judicial process by revealing confidential information have been prosecuted.
The full text of the Trial Chamber’s s Second Decision and Order in Lieu of an Indictment is available on the Tribunal’s website at:
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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