Not guilty plea for Serb leader in contempt case
A UN court entered a not guilty plea Thursday on behalf of ultra-nationalist Serb leader Vojislav Seselj, who is accused of contempt for allegedly revealing the name of protected witnesses.
"The registrar is directed to enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the accused," Judge Burton Hall said, after Seselj complained of unfair treatment and refused to plead on the charge.
Under the rules of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), if a defendant refuses to enter a plea the court automatically pleads not guilty on their behalf.
Seselj is accused before the UN court of having published the real names, occupations and addresses of 11 witnesses in his war crimes trial in violation of a court order.
He is separately standing trial for his alleged role in the persecution of Croat, Muslim and other non-Serbs and their expulsion from areas of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia between 1991 and 1993.
In July last year, Seselj was sentenced to 15 months in prison for identifying another three protected witnesses, but he has appealed against that ruling.
Contempt of the ICTY carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a 100,000 euro (132,000 dollar) fine.
© 2010 AFP