UN tribunal accepts war crimes lawyer's contempt plea

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] accepted a plea agreement [press release] on Tuesday in which Jelena Rasic, the case manager for Bosnian war criminal Milan Lukic, pleaded guilty [amended indictment, PDF] to five counts of contempt against the tribunal. According to the original indictment [PDF], the prosecutor of the tribunal charged Rasic with contempt for procuring false witness statements from three Bosnian citizens. In exchange for signing the pre-written witness statements, Rasic gave the three citizens money. The prosecutor concluded that by procuring these false witness statements and committing bribery, Rasic "knowingly and willfully interfered with the tribunal's administration of justice." The prosecutor filed the indictment against Rasic in July 2010. In her initial appearance before the tribunal in September 2010, Rasic pleaded not guilty to all five contempt charges. No date has been set for her judgment hearing.

The ICTY has been the subject of copious international attention recently. On Monday, former Serb nationalist politician and war crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj [official website, in Serbian; JURIST news archive] sued the ICTY [JURIST report] for $2.6 million in damages for allegedly unreasonable delays in his trial. In December, the ICTY convicted former Yugoslav intelligence officer Dragomir Pecanac of contempt [JURIST report] for failing to testify before the tribunal. Also in December, former Serbian general and alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder; JURIST news archive], testifying before the ICTY, pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to murdering over 30 Muslim prisoners. Earlier in December, the ICTY, along with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] reported progress [JURIST report] to the UN Security Council [official website]. During this meeting, the ICTY reported that its last two wanted fugitives had been arrested, meaning none of the 161 persons wanted by the tribunal [materials] remains at large.

 

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