Briefly Noted

Seselj's Second Contempt Conviction Upheld

Third contempt case still under appeal as nationalist politician awaits judgement in war crimes trial.
  • Vojislav Seselj in the ICTY courtroom . (Photo: ICTY)

Judges have upheld the second conviction of Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj for contempt of court, and the 18-month prison sentence it carried.

In October 2011, judges found Seselj guilty of intentionally revealing the identities of ten protected witnesses in a book he authored and sentenced him to 18 months in prison. This was in addition to a 15-month sentence handed down in 2009 on similar charges.

In June of this year, Seselj was found guilty of contempt in a third case, this time for failing to remove confidential information from his website despite being ordered to do so by judges so. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and that case is currently under appeal.

Since his surrender to the tribunal in 2003, Seselj has insisted on representing himself and has vowed on numerous occasions to “destroy” the Hague tribunal.

He is charged with nine counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity – including murder, torture and forcible transfer – for atrocities carried out in an effort to expel the non-Serb population from parts of Croatia and Bosnia between August 1991 and September 1993. He remains leader of the Serbian Radical Party based in Belgrade.

Seselj’s criminal trial began in November 2007, a year after the original trial date was postponed because he went on hunger strike.

Closing arguments were held in March 2012, but the date of the judgement has not yet been announced.

Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s Senior Reporter in The Hague.


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Defence witness testimony concerns mistreatment of Serbs by Bosnian government forces, rather than the crimes for which he is alleged to bear responsibility.
As Kosovo leaders suggest wartime commander’s acquittal absolves their side from guilt, Serbian politicians say it will make reconciliation that much harder.
Third contempt case still under appeal as nationalist politician awaits judgement in war crimes trial.