ICTY again charges Serb nationalist leader with contempt of court

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Thursday charged [order, PDF; press release] former Serbian Radical Party (SRS) [official website, in Serbian] leader Volislav Seselj [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive] with contempt of the court. The charge was prompted by Seselj's inclusion of information that could expose the identities of 13 protected witnesses in three books he wrote. Seselj’s trial just resumed [JURIST report] in January, after being delayed [JURIST report] for nearly a year over fears that witnesses were being intimidated.

In July, the ICTY convicted [JURIST report] Seselj of contempt and sentenced him to 15 months in prison for authoring a book revealing pertinent information about several key witnesses. Seselj was charged with contempt [JURIST report] last January. The ICTY had previously stripped Seselj of his right to defend himself after he failed to appear in court, despite an earlier appeals court ruling that he could represent himself [JURIST reports] provided he did not engage in courtroom behavior that "substantially obstruct[ed] the proper and expeditious proceedings in his case." Seselj is on trial in the ICTY, charged [indictment, PDF] with three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes. He is accused of establishing rogue paramilitary units affiliated with the SRS, which are believed to have massacred and otherwise persecuted Croats and other non-Serbs during the Balkan conflict.

 

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