1 Friday, 24 July, 2009
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Good morning everybody -- good afternoon everybody.
7 Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, and good afternoon, Your Honours.
9 This is case number IT-03-67-R77.2, the Prosecutor versus
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. May I have the appearances.
12 MR. MacFARLANE: Thank you, Your Honours. I am Bruce MacFarlane
13 appearing on behalf of the Prosecution.
14 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
15 Mr. Seselj, I take it that you are following the proceedings in a
16 language you understand?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Dr. Vojislav Seselj here,
18 university professor and chief enemy of the Hague Tribunal.
19 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Today this Trial Chamber, consisting of
20 Judge Kevin Parker, Judge Ian Bonomy, and myself, is delivering its
21 judgement on the allegation of contempt against the accused,
22 Vojislav Seselj, pursuant to Rule 77(A)(ii) of the Rules of Procedure and
23 Evidence of the Tribunal.
24 This is only a summary which does not form part of the judgement
25 delivered by the Trial Chamber. The only authoritative account of the
1 Trial Chamber's findings is the written judgement, copies of which will
2 be made available after the hearing. The amicus curiae and the accused
3 will be given a confidential version of the judgement, and a public
4 edited version will be available to the public.
5 On 21st of January, 2009, the Chamber issued an order in lieu of
6 indictment wherein it charged the accused with having knowingly and
7 willfully interfered with the administration of justice of the Tribunal
8 by disclosing confidential information in violation of orders granting
9 protective measures to three witnesses, and by disclosing excerpts of the
10 written statements of a witness in a book authored by him.
11 The accused pleaded not guilty during the initial appearance held
12 on 6th of March, 2009. During the trial which was held on 29th of May,
13 2009, the accused represented himself and no witnesses were called.
14 Rule 77(A)(ii) provides that the Tribunal, in the exercise of its
15 inherent power, may hold in contempt those who knowingly and willfully
16 interfere with its administration of justice, including any person who
17 discloses information relating to those proceedings in knowing violation
18 of an order of a Chamber.
19 In the present case, the accused is charged with contempt of the
20 Tribunal pursuant to Rule 77(A)(ii) for having disclosed information
21 relating to Tribunal's proceedings in knowing violation of an order of a
22 Chamber. Disclosure of information within the meaning of this rule
23 includes the publication of a witness's identity where protective
24 measures have been granted to avoid such disclosure.
25 The mens rea element for this form of commission of contempt is
1 the knowledge of the alleged contemner that his disclosure of a
2 particular piece of information is done in violation of an order of a
4 The Chamber shall now turn to the material element of the offence
5 punishable under Rule 77(A)(ii). First the accused has admitted to being
6 the author of the book and having given instruction regarding its
7 preparations. Second, in light of the evidence presented, the Chamber is
8 also satisfied that the book was published after decisions granting
9 protective measures had been issued by the Trial Chamber hearing the
10 Seselj case in respect of each of the three protected witnesses.
11 Third, the book abounds with a myriad of detailed personal
12 information related to the said witnesses, both under their own names,
13 and under the pseudonyms attributed to them in the Seselj case.
14 The Chamber is thus satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the
15 information contained in the book, when read as a whole, identifies each
16 of the three protected witnesses and thus violates the orders granting
17 protective measures issued by Trial Chamber hearing the Seselj case.
18 The Chamber shall now turn to the mental element of the offence
19 punishable under Rule 77(A)(ii), namely, whether the accused knew he was
20 disclosing confidential information which identified three protected
21 witnesses in violation of orders by a Trial Chamber.
22 The Chamber first considers that the accused was bound by the
23 relevant decisions to ensure that the information contained in the book
24 would not identify or tend to identify protected witnesses. These
25 decisions either were inter partes documents or were issued orally in
1 Court in the presence of the accused. He thus knew of the relevant
2 protective measures by the time the book was published.
3 Stressing that the book was not intended for the general public,
4 the accused submitted that his intention was not to disclose the names of
5 the protected witnesses, but to unmask a plot in public with respect to
6 some events referred to in the indictment in the Seselj case. The
7 accused also argued that he did not reveal the names of the protected
8 witnesses for the purpose of intimidating them.
9 The Chamber considers this contention to be irrelevant to the
10 accused's responsibility pursuant to Rule 77(A)(ii) where the mens rea
11 element is solely whether the alleged contemner knew that his disclosure
12 of a particular piece of information was done in violation of an order of
13 a Chamber.
14 During the course of trial, the accused produced five press
15 articles in support of his contention that the identity of the protected
16 witnesses was already available to the public prior to the publication of
17 the book. The Chamber consider that these articles neither mention that
18 witness is a protected witness, in the Seselj case, nor contain any
19 references to the pseudonyms assigned to the witnesses in the Seselj
20 case. Therefore, they do not support the accused's submission that the
21 identity of the witness was available to the public prior to the
22 publication of the book.
23 The Chamber is thus satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the
24 accused knew he was disclosing information which identified three persons
25 as protected witnesses before the Tribunal when he published the book,
1 and that therefore he did so intentionally with the knowledge that by
2 doing so he was violating Trial Chamber orders. Accordingly, the Chamber
3 is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the
4 offence of contempt pursuant to Rule 77(A)(ii) of the Rules.
5 In its determination of the sentence, the Chamber took into
6 consideration the gravity of the offence, as well as the need for
7 deterrence. In particular, the Chamber notes with grave concern the
8 deliberate way in which the protective measures decisions imposed by the
9 Seselj Trial Chamber were defied.
10 The Chamber considers this a serious interference with the
11 administration of justice, particularly given the potential adverse
12 impact of such conduct upon witness's confidence in the Tribunal's
13 ability to guarantee the effectiveness of protective measures.
14 Furthermore, the Chamber recognises the need to discourage this type of
15 behaviour and to take such a step as it can to ensure that there's no
16 repetition of such conduct on the part of the accused or any other
18 For the foregoing reasons, having considered all the evidence and
19 arguments presented by the parties, pursuant to Rule 54 and 77 of the
20 Rules, the Chamber finds the accused, Vojislav Seselj, guilty of one
21 count of contempt of the Tribunal, punishable under Rule 77(A)(ii) of the
22 Rules; sentences the accused to a single term of imprisonment of 15
23 months, and orders the accused to secure the withdrawal of the book from
24 his internet website and to file a report with the Registrar on the
25 actions taken to this effect by 7th of August, 2009.
1 The Chamber stands adjourned.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.29 p.m.