Tuesday, November 1, 2011
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has sentenced the leader of the Serb Radical Party to 18 months in jail after finding him guilty of contempt of court for a second time.
Vojislav Šešelj will serve the prison term concurrently with the 15-month jail sentence he was given by ICTY in May last year – in both cases for disclosing information relating to protected witnesses in his trial. A third contempt of court case for alleged similar actions by Mr. Šešelj is currently pending.
Mr. Šešelj, who had refused to enter a plea to the charges he was convicted of today, has previously admitted to writing a book which detailed the real names, occupations and residences of 11 protected witnesses in his trial.
The ICTY’s trial chamber, announcing its decision, said Mr. Šešelj had disclosed information about the witnesses “intentionally, [and] with the knowledge that by doing so, he was violating decisions” of the court.
Calling this action “a serious interference with the administration of justice,” the judges said they had also considered Mr. Šešelj’s lack of remorse in determining the sentence, as well as the fact that the book was also in electronic form and thus more widely available. The ICTY said it was also hoping to “discourage this type of behaviour” to try to avoid a repeat by either Mr. Šešelj or anyone else involved in proceedings before the tribunal, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.
Mr. Šešelj is on trial at the ICTY on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in crimes committed between 1991 and 1994 against non-Serbs living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Vojvodina, Serbia.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)
Monday, October 31, 2011
In June, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. Although Gaddafi's death moots his arrest warrant, the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, reportedly has "substantial evidence" against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, indicating his involvement in planning attacks against civilians. Reports also suggest that the ICC prosecutor is in indirect talks with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi regarding his possible surrender to the ICC.
Meanwhile, it is also reported that Gaddafi's other family members want the ICC prosecutor to investigate claims that NATO violated international law during its involvement in the Libyan conflict. Gaddafi's family alleges that NATO's airstrikes led to Gaddafi's death in violation of article 8 of the ICC Statute regarding war crimes.
The family is likely to have difficulty asserting ICC jurisdiction over the matter. The ICC can only obtain jurisdiction through a referral by the United Nations Security Council, a referral by a State Party or a matter brought by the prosecutor and approved by a chamber of judges. Libya is not a party to the ICC Statute, so its government could not refer the matter. It seems unlikely that the UNSC would refer the matter to the ICC given that some of the permanent members of the UNSC are also members of NATO. Thus, the Gaddafi family would have to rely on the discretion of the ICC prosecutor and judges.