DECISION TO ASSIGN DEFENSE COUNSEL TO SESELJ POSTPONED
Reasons why the decision on the prosecution motion has been postponed are confidential and have been redacted from the Redacted Version of the Redacted Version of the Decision
Vojislav Seselj in the courtroom
The Trial Chamber III, hearing the case of Vojislav Seselj, Serbian Radical Party leader, decided to postpone its decision on the prosecution motion seeking to terminate self representation of the accused and calling on the Trial Chamber to assign defense counsel to Seselj.
The Trial Chamber’s decision to postpone its decision was first issued as a confidential document last week, but was then made public later as the Redacted Version of the Redacted Decision. The judges note that the prosecution motion to assign defense counsel to Seselj is linked to claims that have to do with something that goes beyond the Trial Chamber’s jurisdiction. What that ‘something’ is, and what those claims refer to, has been redacted – deleted – from the redacted version of the redacted version of the decision.
The prosecution motion to terminate Seselj’s right to represent himself, to exclude from the proceedings Seselj’s legal advisors and to assign defense counsel to him is based on two grounds. The first ground is the conduct of the accused in the courtroom while the other ground is the alleged attempts by the accused and his legal advisors to influence potential witnesses and their testimony by threats, intimidation, extortion, bribes or by other means.
The Redacted Version of the Redacted Version of the Decision deals only with the first ground in the prosecution motion. Although the judges admit that the accused is at times ‘too aggressive’ towards the witnesses in court, they nevertheless believe that they have managed to keep the trial under control by ordering that parts of the transcript and video recordings where the accused abuses the judicial procedure, discloses confidential information or insults witnesses and other participants at the trial be deleted. The Trial Chamber has been able to control the trial by repeatedly warning the accused, ordering him to control his aggressive behavior and to treat witnesses, the prosecution and the judges properly. The judges conclude that the prosecution has failed to show cause for improper behavior of the accused in the courtroom; the Trial Chamber therefore has not been able to conclude that Seselj is not fit to defend himself.
There is only one sentence in the redacted version of the redacted version about the second ground in the prosecution’s motion – the alleged intimidation of witnesses and deliberate disclosure of confidential information by the accused and his colleagues. There follows a redacted paragraph with no less than 30 footnotes, all of which have been redacted as well. One can only speculate if these prosecution claims contain the facts about what ‘go beyond the jurisdiction of the Trial Chamber’, thus prompting it to postpone ruling on the matter. The redacted version of the document available to the public contains no deadline for the decision on the prosecution motion to assign defense counsel to Seselj.
- Case : Seselj
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