UN court jails Serb nationalist for contempt

31st October 2011, Comments 0 comments

UN judges Monday sentenced Serb ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj to 18 months in prison for contempt of court, his second contempt sentence in just over two years.

"The chamber is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused disclosed information about 10 witnesses that he published in a book and that he did so intentionally," said Judge O-Gon Kwon of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

"The book violates protective orders issued by the Seselj trial chamber," the judge told the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, seen laughing in the dock while the sentence was being read.

Monday's judgement is the second time Seselj, who faces war crimes and crimes against humanity charges, has been found in contempt for disclosing information about protected witnesses relating to his trial, including names, occupations and addresses.

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 faces nine counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including persecution, murder, torture and cruel treatment.

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 another book.

The two contempt of court sentences are to run concurrently.

He pleaded not guilty in July to a third contempt of court charge for not removing 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.

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

© 2011 AFP

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