ICTY closes third contempt trial against Seselj

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Monday closed its third contempt trial against former Serb nationalist politician and war crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj [official website, in Serbian; JURIST news archive]. Seselj has been accused of contempt of court and divulging data in a book he authored [website, in Serbian] disclosing names, occupations and residences of 11 protected witnesses. The verdict will be announced at a later date. The court had demanded Seselj remove the information witnesses from his website but the former politician has repeatedly refused to do so. He had been sentenced two other times for the same charges. In October, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and in July 2009 to 15 months [JURIST reports]. Seselj's war crimes trial began [JURIST report] in 2007 after he was charged [indictment, PDF] with three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes and accused of establishing rogue paramilitary units affiliated with the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) [BBC backgrounder], which are believed to have massacred and otherwise persecuted Croats and other non-Serbs during the Balkan conflict.

Seselj constantly argued that the ICTY is biased and political violating his right to fair trial. In March, he argued that the tribunal is biased and does not have jurisdiction over his case, a week after the prosecution asked the court [JURIST reports] for a 28-year prison sentence against him. In January, Seselj sued [JURIST report] the ICTY for $2.6 million in damages due to alleged unreasonable delays in his trial, alleging that the tribunal failed to give him materials in Serbian; denied him communication with family members, doctors and legal counsel; delayed his trial interminably; and refused him a right to his own, independent counsel.

 

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