Wednesday, May 25, 2011

War Crimes: War crimes tribunal charges jailed Serb leader with contempt of court for third time

The leader of the Serb Radical Party, on trial for alleged war crimes, has been charged with contempt of court by the United Nations tribunal for the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s for failing to remove from his website information on protected witnesses in his trial.

The charges, announced today, are the third of their kind against Vojislav Šešelj by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, since he turned himself in eight years ago to face charges of war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Vojvodina region of Serbia between 1991 and 1994.

The information published on his website include three books Mr. Šešelj wrote and five confidential filings submitted by him as part of his main trial and two previous trials for contempt of court.

The books and filings reveal confidential information about a number of protected witnesses who testified in his main trial, an ICTY statement said.

Mr. Šešelj was found guilty on the first contempt trial. The second contempt trial is under way, and no date has been set for the third trial.

“The tribunal regards the integrity of witnesses and confidential materials as essential elements in the rule of law,” the ICTY statement said. “Several persons who have attempted to interfere with the judicial process by revealing confidential information have been prosecuted.”