Friday, September 30, 2011

ICTY Denies Motion to Dimiss Charges Against Jailed Leader of the Serb Radical Party

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has rejected a request by the leader of the Serb Radical Party to discontinue proceedings against him, finding he had failed to prove that his right to trial within a reasonable period had been violated.

Vojislav Šešelj, who has been in detention since 2003, is on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands, for alleged war crimes committed between 1991 and 1994 against the non-Serb population from large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Vojvodina in Serbia.

The ICTY trial chamber referred to its earlier decision in 2010, when it argued that according to international and European jurisprudence, “there is no predetermined threshold with regard to the time period beyond which a trial may be considered unfair on account of undue delay.”

It further argued that Mr. Šešelj failed to provide concrete proof of abuse of process, besides the fact that his trial is still ongoing, ruling that comparison of the length of his detention to that of other accused in other national and international jurisdictions is not relevant and noting that some trials have far exceeded the length of his.

Mr. Šešelj, who was born in 1954 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is being tried on 14 counts of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.

(UN Press Release)

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