Case No. IT-03-67-PT

Prosecutor v. Vojislav Seselj



NOTING the decision of 11 December 2003 (the "Decision") concerning the communication privileges of the Mr. Vojislav Seselj (the "Accused) at the United Nations Detention Unit (the "Detention Unit") wherein certain measures as outlined in the Decision were implemented for a period of "thirty (30) days following [the] Decision, which decision shall then be reviewed […]";

NOTING the subsequent Registrar’s Decision of 29 December 2003 (the "29 December 2003 Decision") that found that the Accused had "flagrantly violated the Decision" and prohibited, "all communication via telephone between the Accused and any person(s) except his legal counsel (if applicable) and diplomatic or consular representatives" for a period "expiring at the same time as the Decision expires (10 January 2004)";

RECALLING that the Decision considered inter alia, "that in balancing between the rights and entitlements to communication and visits of the Accused with that of the Tribunal to effectively perform its mandate and functions, the particular circumstances of the detainee necessitates the imposition of measures which are imperative for the avoidance of potentially deleterious media coverage resulting from unrestricted communication entitlements and visits";

RECALLING that by Resolution 827, the Security Council determined that the establishment of the Tribunal and the prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law would contribute to the restoration and maintenance of peace in the former Yugoslavia;

CONSIDERING the Statute of the Tribunal adopted by the aforesaid Security Council Resolution on 25 May 1993, as subsequently amended;

CONSIDERING the "Rules Governing the Detention of Persons Awaiting Trial or Appeal before the Tribunal or otherwise Detained on the Authority of the Tribunal" ("Rules of Detention") as adopted by the Tribunal on 5 May 1994, as subsequently amended;

HAVING NOTED in the Decision that (i) the Accused is "presently being tried at the Tribunal for acts allegedly committed while he held political office in the former Yugoslavia"; (ii) the Accused was a "candidate in Serbian parliamentary elections" held on 28 December 2003; and (iii) the Accused was reported to have "made statements to the media, using communication facilities provided by the Detention Unit, which statements have been subsequently reported in the media";

RECALLING PARTICULARLY the following considerations noted in the Decision that:

Rule 63(B) of the Rules of Detention provides that "[t]he Registrar may refuse to allow a person to visit a detainee if he has reason to believe that the purpose of the visit is to obtain information which may be subsequently reported to the media" in accordance with the proper administration of justice and that it follows from this Rule and the principle on which it is founded, that communication between a detainee and others may be prohibited if there are reasons to believe that such communications would lead to a detainee’s statements appearing in the media, particularly if the effect of such statements is to undermine the Tribunal’s mandate to assist in the restoration and maintenance of peace in the former Yugoslavia; and

[T]he facilities provided by the Detention Unit are intended for the well-being of the Accused and not for purposes that frustrate the Tribunal’s function to assist in establishing peace and security in the former Yugoslavia and that the fact that a detainee at the Detention Unit has communicated with the aid of facilities provided by the Detention Unit to participate in an ongoing Serbian parliamentary elections campaign is such an occasion that is likely to frustrate the Tribunal’s mandate.

RECALLING ALSO that "widespread media attention and coverage of the fact that an indictee for crimes against humanity and war-crimes such as the Accused is in a position to facilitate, with ease, the ongoing Serbian parliamentary elections campaign" was considered in the Decision when assessing factors that would likely frustrate the Tribunal’s mandate;

NOTING that the results of the Serbian parliamentary elections held on 28 December 2003, indicate that the political party headed by the Accused won 82 seats of the 250 seat National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia;

CONSIDERING that post-elections associated activities will likely see the political party and the supporters of the Accused seeking his further involvement in post-elections political activities associated with the 28 December 2003 Serbian parliamentary elections;

CONSIDERING that widespread media attention and coverage of the fact that Accused is facilitating, with ease, either an ongoing Serbian parliamentary elections campaign or post-elections political activities, each undermines the Tribunal’s mandate to assist in the restoration and maintenance of peace in the former Yugoslavia;

CONSIDERING PARTICULARLY that the Accused has previously violated the Decision necessitating the 29 December 2003 Decision and this is indicative of the defiant disposition of the Accused in this regard1;

DECIDES pursuant to Rules 60 and 63 of the Rules of Detention, for a further period of thirty (30) days from 10 January 2004, which decision shall then be reviewed, to:

Prohibit, unless otherwise authorised by the Commanding Officer of the Detention Unit, all communication between the Accused with person(s) except for his legal counsel (if applicable) and diplomatic or consular representatives.


David Tolbert
Deputy Registrar

Dated this eighth day of January 2004
At The Hague
The Netherlands

1. It was noted in the 29 December 2003 Decision that on 25 December 2003, the Accused was found to have used communication facilities in the Detention Unit to make statements to the press in advance of the 28 December Serbian parliamentary elections, statements which have subsequently been widely published.