Serbian nationalist pleads not guilty to contempt charges

6th July 2011, Comments 3 comments

Serbian ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj pleaded not guilty to contempt of court charges before a UN war crimes court Wednesday which accuses him of revealing the identity of protected witnesses.

"I would say I am not guilty and at the same time I question the right of the court in The Hague to carry out this process of outrage," Seselj told judges before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

"They cannot carry out a contempt trial for somebody who is already being charged for the most heinous crimes," Seselj said at his initial appearance for his third contempt of court case.

The former Serbian leader was appearing because of information published on his website, including three books he wrote and five confidential files which he submitted during his main trial.

Despite being ordered by the court to do so, Seselj failed to remove the information.

Seselj, 57, went on trial in November 2006 for his alleged role in the persecution of Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs and their expulsion from areas of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia between 1991 and 1994.

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison in July 2009 after being found in contempt for disclosing the identities of three witnesses in his trial as well as a portions of a confidential statement in a book.

A second contempt case was opened on February 22 against him for disclosing information about witnesses in another book.

The court charged him for a third time on May 24 on similar charges.

Contempt of the ICTY carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and/or a 100,000 euro ($150,000) fine.

© 2011 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • Izet posted:

    on 8th July 2011, 08:42:16 - Reply

    Damir, Seselj is not a war criminal. He can be a nationalist and a racist but neither constitute a war criminal. If we persecute one based on their free choice and will, we are nothing more than oppressors ourselves. I don't agree with Seselj, his ideology or nationalistic stance - however; i appreciate his differing views as to gain that democratic society i aspire to.
  • Damir posted:

    on 7th July 2011, 03:09:25 - Reply

    ^typical serb your own research folks, everything is pretty much the opposite of what this guy claims.

    Seselj is a war criminal PERIOD.
  • Jason posted:

    on 6th July 2011, 22:53:03 - Reply

    Shame, shame, shame on the Hague International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Its a shame for todays world justice system. There is no justice. While the main trial is drawing to a close, Seselj was sentenced to 15 months in jail last year for contempt of court for revealing names of protected witnesses. All witnesses agreed to have their names published in his book and further they witnessed at court that they have been forced by Hague ICTY to falsely witness against Seselj. What is more important the names have been released by Natasha Kandic in serbian media evem way before Seselj wrote his book. Another couple persons released more than 100 names of protected witnesses and they were fined minimally I believe in excess of a few thousands euros.
    Seselj was indicted for a third time in May, for the same offence but Seselj pleaded “non-guilty. Indeed the prosecution resorted to contempt of court charges because it had no case against him on war crimes charges, they have instructions to keep him as longer as possible in detention. The Hague ICTY sucks.