|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
JL/ P.I.S./ 514-e
Written Judgement rendered in Contempt Case against Milan Simic and his Counsel Branislav Avramovic.
On 30 June 2000, Trial Chamber III (Judges Robinson (Presiding), Hunt and Bennouna) delivered its reasoned written Judgement in the contempt of court proceedings against Milan Simic and his counsel, Mr. Branislav Avramovic in the Bosanski Samac case. This follows an oral Judgement which was handed down on Wednesday 29 March 2000 (see Press release 483).
On 25 May 1999, the Prosecution filed an ex parte confidential request for a hearing on "bribery, intimidation of witness and suborning perjury of witness" said to have been committed by the accused Milan Simic and Mr. Branislav Avramovic. The contempt hearings began on 29 September 1999 and closed on 2 December 1999. On 29 March 2000, Trial Chamber III unanimously found that neither the allegations against Milan Simic nor those against Mr. Avramovic had been "established beyond reasonable doubt" and therefore neither Respondent was found to be in contempt of the Tribunal.
ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS
Trial Chamber III initially referred to the Appeals Chamber Judgement rendered in the Tadic case on 31 January 2000 (see Press release 467) and reiterated that the power to deal with contempt was within the inherent jurisdiction of the Tribunal, deriving from its judicial function. In the Judges’ view, this power consisted of holding in contempt those who knowingly and wilfully interfere with the Tribunal’s administration of justice. The Trial Chamber considered that it included intimidation of, interference with, or an offer of a bribe to, a potential witness before the Tribunal, or any attempt to intimidate or to interfere with such a witness.
The Trial Chamber stated that the issue to be determined was whether the truth of the allegations made by Witness Agnes has been established beyond reasonable doubt and whether these allegations should be believed.
Holding that "Witness Agnes was prepared to expand his story considerably once he realised that he himself would be re-located necessarily gives rise to substantial doubts as to the truth of the allegations which he initially made" the Trial Chamber found that Mr. Agnes was "not an impressive witness in his demeanour".
The Trial Chamber concluded that, "although the uncorroborated evidence of Witness Agnes raised grave suspicions in relation to the conduct of Mr. Avramovic, it did no more. Not even the gravest of suspicions can establish proof beyond reasonable doubt, and far more substantial evidence would be required before Mr. Avramovic could be found guilty and, as a result of Witness Agnes’s destruction of his own credit, the case against Milan Simic was completely unsubstantiated."
Trial Chamber III unanimously ruled that the allegations of contempt against Branislav Avramovic and Milan Simic had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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