Wednesday, February 01, 2012

War Crimes: UN Yugoslav tribunal accepts plea agreement in contempt trial

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today accepted the plea agreement filed in the contempt of court trial of Jelena Rašic, who was accused of procuring false statements from witnesses in exchange for money.

Ms. Rašic had pleaded guilty to all five counts of contempt of court at her initial appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is based in The Hague, in September 2010.

She had been granted provisional release in November, pending the start of trial, the tribunal noted in a news release. The date of the judgement hearing in Ms. Rašic’s case will be confirmed in due course.

Ms. Rašic was the case manager on the defence team of Milan Lukic, a Bosnian Serb who was sentenced by the trial chamber to life imprisonment for crimes committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Višegrad.

She pleaded guilty to knowingly and willingly interfering with the Tribunal’s administration of justice by procuring a false witness statement from Zuhdija Tabakovic from Višegrad in exchange for €1,000 in cash.

She also pleaded guilty to inciting Mr. Tabakovic to offer bribes and to procure false witness statements from two other individuals. Mr. Tabakovic was convicted of contempt in March 2010 and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.