Contempt of Court Appeals Dismissed

(TU No 470, 29-Sep-06)

Contempt of Court Appeals Dismissed

(TU No 470, 29-Sep-06)

Friday, 29 September, 2006
On March 10, 2006, the trial chamber found Marijačić, a journalist, and Rebić, a former intelligence officer, guilty of disclosing information related to the testimony of a Dutch army officer who testified as a protected witness in the case of former Croatian army general Tihomir Blaškić.

According to a press release issued by the tribunal this week, the appeals

chamber "dismissed all grounds of appeal and affirmed the fine of 15,000 euros

on each of the accused”.

But the chamber did agree to allow the accused to pay their fines in three monthly installments, instead of within 30 days of the March judgment, as demanded by the original ruling.

The press release referred to the judgment from March, stating that “the Trial

Chamber stated that both Marijacic and Rebic deliberately disclosed information

regarding the testimony of Johannes van Kuijk, a Dutch army officer who testified as a protected witness” in the Blaskic case.

At the time of the offences, Marijačić was the editor-in-chief of the Zagreb-based weekly publication Hrvatski List, and Rebić was the former head of the Croatian Security Information Service.

While no harm was done to the protected witness as a result of the revelations of his identity and content of his testimony, the judgment found that “the deliberate and calculated way in which the Order was defied by both Accused is a serious matter which tends to diminish the authority of the Trial Chamber in the Blaskic trial”.

The judgement stressed that the actions of the pair had risked undermining “confidence in the Tribunal’s ability to grant effective protective measures” in what amounted to “a serious interference with the administration of justice”.

The trial of Marijačić and Rebić began on January 17, 2006 and was concluded within two days.

This week’s ruling comes a month after Croatian journalist Josip Jovic was also convicted of contempt on August 30, for revealing the identity, witness statement, and testimony of Croatian president Stjepan Mesic, who also testified under protected measures in the Blaskic trial.

Jovic, who told IWPR he intends to appeal his conviction, was sentenced to a 20,000- euro fine.
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