Former Yugoslavia municipal officer sentenced to 2 months for refusing to testify

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Friday sentenced [judgment summary, PDF] former president of the municipality of Sokolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milan Tupajic [ICTY case summary, PDF], to two months in prison on two counts of contempt for refusing to testify against Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case summary, PDF], founding member of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) who is being tried for several war crimes including genocide. Tupajic claimed that he was unable to testify because of his health, among other reasons, but the court rejected that idea, saying:

The Chamber reviewed the documents the Accused submitted in support of his health concerns but considers that his health concerns do not constitute a just excuse for his failure to comply with the orders as contained in the subpoenas. At trial, in private session, the Accused submitted evidence in relation to other reasons for refusing to appear before the Chamber. The Chamber examined these reasons and considers that they do not constitute a just excuse under Rule 77 (A)(iii) [text, PDF] of the Rules.
The judgement ended the trial of Tupajic who will be credited with time served against his two-month sentence.

The sentencing comes just days after the court was accused by former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], of being biased [JURIST report]. Last month, the ICTY accepted a plea deal [JURIST report], convicting Jelena Rasic, the case manager for Bosnian war criminal Milan Lukic, on five counts of contempt for procuring false witness statements. In December, the ICTY convicted former Yugoslav intelligence officer Dragomir Pecanac of contempt [JURIST report] for failing to testify before the tribunal. Earlier that month, ICTY with International Criminal Tribune for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] reported [JURIST report] to the UN Security Council [official website] their progress in tracking and arresting fugitives for the tribunals' mandates.

 

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