Vojislav Seselj, a war crime defendant and the leader of the Serbian Radical party, has asked the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, to disqualify three judges in his contempt of court case.
Seselj’s legal team has filed a motion seeking to disqualify the judges Arlette Ramaroson, Mehmet Güney, and Andresia Vaz from the Appeals Chamber hearing of the Seselj's third contempt of court case, claiming that they had violated "one of the basic rights in the international legal procedures."
The ICTY’s Trial Chamber has sentenced Seselj for the contempt of court for the third time in Jun this year, due to his refusal to remove from his website four of his books and other documents which reveal information regarding the protected witnesses related to his main case.
Seselj appealed against the second contempt of court ruling, but his motion was almost four times longer than the word limit. Instead of the 9,000 words, the notice of appeal contained 33,000 words.
In early July, Seselj was ordered to re-file a new, shorter version of the appellate brief. Seselj twice refused to comply with the order and the Trial Chamber concluded that he had thus 'waived his right to appeal'.
This ICTY decision, according to Seselj, was a “pseudo-legal decision unprecedented in the modern judiciary” and the violation of his rights by the ICTY worse than “during the communist regime in the former SFRY”.
In the first contempt case against him, completed on May 19, 2010, he was sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment for disclosing personal details of the protected witnesses in a book that he wrote.
In the second contempt case, completed on October 31, 2011, Seselj was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment for disclosing confidential information pertaining to protected witnesses in another book he wrote.
Both books were at the centre of the third contempt of court case.
Previously, Seselj had pleaded not guilty, claiming that his actions did not impact the legal process.
In the main case, Seselj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, is on trial for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 1991 and 1994 against the non-Serb population from large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Serbian province of Vojvodina.
The verdict of his war crimes trial will be pronounced in March 2013.