The third trial for contempt of court against war crime defendant Vojislav Seselj was completed on Monday at the Hague Tribunal.
Probably the shortest trial ever held at the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, has finished within minutes after the accused, Vojislav Seselj, refused to participate.
Seselj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party and a war crime defendant, explained that the judges could pass the verdict straight away as he will appeal in any case.
Seselj is charged with contempt of court for his refusal to remove from his website four of his books and other documents which reveal information regarding protected witnesses.
This is the second attempt to start the trial. On May 12, when the initial hearing took place, Seselj refused to participate because the ICTY did not allow his case manager to be present at the trial.
According to the decision made by the Trial Chamber of the ICTY, the case against Seselj for contempt of court is not challenging, so there is no need for a case manager to be involved.
“Nemanja Sarovic was a case manager for the main hearing. He was also a manager in the previous cases of contempt of the court. Now all of a sudden, you refuse to allow me to have him registered… You are constantly violating my rights,” said Seselj.
Since Seselj refused to testify as the only witness in the case and also refused to give his closing arguments, the presiding judge, Stefan Trechsel, decided to close the case.
“All right, the presenting of the evidence is finished, you refused to present your defence, which is your right,” said Trechsel.
In addition to the main charges against Seselj for persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds and for violating customs of war during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia from 1991 until 1993, the ICTY has also charged Seselj with contempt of court two times.
Seselj has pleaded not guilty to contempt of court, claiming that his actions did not impact the legal process.
A date for the verdict is yet to be set.