Case No. IT-03-67-PT

IN TRIAL CHAMBER II

Before:
Judge Carmel A. Agius, Presiding
Judge Florence Ndepele Mwachande Mumba
Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti

Registrar:
Mr. Hans Holthuis

Order of:
18 November 2003

PROSECUTOR

v.

VOJISLAV SESELJ

____________________________________

DECISION ON CERTAIN ALLEGATIONS MADE IN MOTION NUMBER 23

____________________________________

The Office of the Prosecutor:

Ms. Hildegaard Uertz-Retzlaff
Mr. Daniel Saxon

The Accused:

Vojislav Seselj

Standby counsel:

Aleksandar Lazarevic

 

THIS TRIAL CHAMBER of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 ("Tribunal"):

BEING SEIZED of a Motion1 filed by the Accused on 30 October 2003 in which he alleges misconduct on the part of the following individuals: the Registrar of this Tribunal, a staff member of this Tribunal, defence counsel Toma Fila, and standby counsel for the Accused, Aleksandar Lazarevic, (collectively "alleged contemptors"), and requests the Chamber to direct the Prosecutor to investigate the alleged misconduct with a view to preparing an indictment for contempt against these individuals pursuant to Rule 77 (C) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence ("Rules");2

NOTING that during the most recent status conference of 29 October 2003 this matter was addressed by the Accused;3

NOTING the Prosecutionís Response to the Accusedís Motion, dated 10 November 2003, in which it is argued that the Accused has presented no credible evidence to support his claims against the alleged contemptors and that his request under Rule 77(C) of the Rules should be denied accordingly;

CONSIDERING that this Chamber views serious allegations of this nature directed against its staff members and defence counsel of the Tribunal with the utmost gravity;

NOTING that Rule 77 of the Rules entitled "Contempt of the Tribunal" states that the Tribunal may hold in contempt those who "knowingly and wilfully interfere with its administration of justice",

CONSIDERING that the Chamber leaves open the possibility that the alleged misconduct falls within the purview of Rule 77;

NOTING, however, that Rule 77(C) of the Rules provides that:

When a Chamber has reason to believe that a person may be in contempt of the Tribunal, it may:

(i) direct the Prosecutor to investigate the matter with a view to the preparation and submission of an indictment for contempt;

(ii) [Ö]; or

(iii) initiate proceedings itself.

CONSIDERING that, in the present case, the sole basis upon which the Chamber could rest a decision under Rule 77(C)(i) or (iii) of the Rules would be the unsubstantiated allegations of the Accused directed at the alleged contemptors, both in open court during the status conference, and in the Motion;

CONSIDERING that the Accused has not provided so much as a scintilla of evidence to support his very grave allegations, nor does he suggest that he is in possession of such evidence;

CONSIDERING that unsubstantiated allegations alone, particularly where the allegations are of such a grave nature, can not satisfy the threshold standard set out in Rule 77(C)(i);

FINDS, therefore, that there is absolutely no basis upon which to proceed under Rule 77(C)(i);

HEREBY DENIES that part of the Accusedís Motion no. 23 where he requests the Chamber to direct the Prosecution to initiate an investigation into misconduct on behalf of the alleged contemptors;

FURTHER FINDS that, in the Chamberís opinion, the Accusedís behaviour amounts to a serious abuse of the opportunity afforded to him to have access to a public forum at this Tribunal;

CAUTIONS the Accused that the Chamber takes a very poor view of his conduct in this matter and that any future attempts to hijack public proceedings for the purpose of directing unsubstantiated accusations against staff members or other persons associated with this Tribunal is more than likely to meet with sanctions.

 

Done in English and French, the English version being authoritative.

___________
Judge Carmel Agius
Presiding

Dated this 18th day of November 2003
At The Hague
The Netherlands

[Seal of the Tribunal]


1. Motion no. 23, dated 30 October 2003, filed on 6 November 2003.
2. The Accused also alleges that the Chamber could institute contempt proceedings under Rule 77(D), but this provision is only activated upon the showing of a prima facie case and the allegations in this case fall well short of that standard.
3. See transcript of status conference of 29 October 2003. In this regard, it is noted that the Chamber directed that certain parts of the transcript of the status conference of 29 October 2003 be redacted from the public record. See Decision to Redact the Transcript of the Status Conference of 29 October 2003, dated 6 November 2003.