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Jokic Pleads Not Guilty to Contempt

Bosnian Serb had refused to give evidence on two occasions.
Dragan Jokic, former chief of engineering of the Zvornik brigade of the Bosnian Serb army, VRS, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of contempt of court at the Hague tribunal this week.

Jokic, who was sentenced by the court to nine years’ imprisonment for aiding and abetting atrocities committed during the Srebrenica massacre, was charged with contempt of court after refusing to testify at the trial of seven high-ranking officers of the Bosnian Serb military and police.

Ljubisa Beara, Vujadin Popovic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic, Drago Nikolic, Radivoj Miletic and Milan Gvero are charged with crimes allegedly committed at Srebrenica and Zepa in 1995.

On two occasions when Jokic was called to give evidence - on October 31 and November 1 - he declined to read the solemn declaration or answer questions, claiming he was not “mentally fit” to testify.

As a result, the tribunal judges indicted him for contempt of court, saying he had “knowingly and willingly interfered with the administration of justice”.

Jokic is currently being held at a detention unit in The Hague, awaiting transfer to an as yet unspecified country to serve the rest of his sentence for his involvement in the killing, extermination and expulsion of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995.

His refusal to testify came despite a subpoena issued by the trial chamber last month ordering him to do so. His identity was also to be protected, while his entire testimony was to be heard in closed session.

Following the plea, the counsel for the defense, Branislava Isailovic, requested the trial be postponed by three weeks in order to allow her more time to prepare her case.

Her request was based on the need to call upon one witness and one expert and provide written statements that needed translation.

The trial chamber granted her request and set the trial date for December 10.

Simon Jennings is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

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