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Vojislav Šešelj sentenced to two years imprisonment for Contempt of the Tribunal

Press Release CHAMBERS

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

The Hague, 28 June 2012


Vojislav Šešelj sentenced to two years imprisonment for Contempt of the Tribunal

 Vojislav Šešelj

Trial Chamber II today convicted Vojislav Šešelj of contempt of the Tribunal and sentenced him, by majority, to two years imprisonment for failure to remove confidential information from his website in violation of orders of a Chamber.

Šešelj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, is on trial before the Tribunal for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 1991 and 1994 against the non-Serb population from large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Vojvodina, Serbia.

On 9 May 2011, Trial Chamber II issued an order in lieu of an indictment which initiated contempt proceedings against Šešelj for failing to remove confidential information from his personal website in violation of orders of a Chamber. A public version of the order in lieu of indictment was issued on 24 May 2011. The final and operative version of the indictment was issued confidentially on 29 March 2012, with a public version issued on 5 April 2012.

The confidential information published by Vojislav Šešelj on his website includes four books authored him and six confidential filings submitted by him as part of his main trial and one previous trials for contempt of court. These books and filings reveal confidential information about a number of protected witnesses who testified in his main trial before the Tribunal for alleged war crimes.

The Accused was in a position to take measures to remove the material in question from his website, the Trial Chamber found. However, Šešelj did not fulfill his obligation to remove the confidential material despite having confirmed the receipt of orders with which he failed to comply. The Chamber noted, among other things, that the Accused explicitly stated with respect to one of his books that he did not intend to comply with the order to remove it.

Non-compliance with such orders is a serious matter, which not only interferes with the administration of justice but risks undermining public confidence in the Tribunal and, thereby, the effectiveness of its judicial function, including its ability to grant effective protective measures where necessary,” Judge Stefan Trechsel, presiding, said.

This was the third trial for contempt of the Tribunal against Vojislav Šešelj. In the first contempt case against him, completed on 19 May 2010, Šešelj was convicted to 15 months of imprisonment for disclosing the personal details of protected witnesses in a book he authored. In the second contempt case, completed on 31 October 2011, Šešelj was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for disclosing confidential information pertaining to protected witnesses in another book he authored. Both books were among those at issue in the third contempt case.

In determining the appropriate sentence the Chamber considered Šešelj’s repeated defiance of the Tribunal’s authority to be an aggravating factor. “The repetitious nature of his conduct is demonstrated by his continuing refusal to obey the orders requiring him to remove confidential material which he has disclosed on many occasions over the course of several years. This flagrant disregard for Chambers orders amounts to a direct attack upon the judicial authority of the Tribunal,” the Trial Chamber found.

The Tribunal regards the inviolability of its decisions on protective measures as an essential element of fair trial process and the rule of law. Several persons who have attempted to interfere with the judicial process in the Tribunal by revealing confidential information have been prosecuted.



Summary of Judgement

Case information Sheet



International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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