The Hague Tribunal, ICTY, has sentenced Vojislav Seselj, political leader and war crime defendant to two years in prison for contempt of court.
|Vojislav Seselj I Photo by Beta|
The Trial Chamber of the ICTY has sentenced Seselj for the third time, 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.
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 presiding judge, Stefan Trechsel, said that with his actions Seselj purposely obstructed justice, as he he refused to do something which he is obliged to do.
“Non-compliance with such orders is a serious matter, which not only interferes with the administration of justice but also risks to undermining the public's confidence in the Tribunal and, thereby, the effectiveness of its judicial function, including its ability to grant effective protective measures where necessary,” judge Stefan Trechsel added.
When told by Judge Trechsel to stand up while the verdict was being read, Seselj refused.
"Me, to stand up in front of you, you are crazy…I am a Chetnik Duke,” he said.
This was the third trial for contempt of the Tribunal against Vojislav Seselj.
In the first contempt case against him, completed on May 19, 2010, he was sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment for disclosing the personal details of protected witnesses in a book he authored.
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. The ICTY did not clarify when he will serve his sentence.
The verdict of his war crimes trial will be pronounced in March 2013.