In the closing arguments delivered at the second contempt of court trial of the Serbian Radical leader, the prosecutor sought a three-year sentence for the accused because he disclosed the identities of 11 protected witnesses. As the accused said, he would like to be sentenced to death, although the case against him didn’t warrant a conviction. Jovan Glamocanin claims Zoran Djindjic tried to pressure him into taking part in ‘Seselj’s political assassination’ in mid-April 2003; at that time, Djindjic was already dead

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

Vojislav Seselj’s second trial for contempt of court – because he made public the identities of 11 protected witnesses in a book – was completed today before a special trial chamber appointed by the Tribunal for contempt of court cases. After the defense rested its case, both parties delivered their closing arguments.

The first to appear in court today was former Serbian Radical Party member Jovan Glamocanin. In his examination-in chief, Glamocanin recounted a rather extraordinary story about how he was allegedly pressured to testify against Seselj; the pressure started in 2003. Glamocanin claimed that the OTP prosecutors and investigators confessed that they received their instructions from America and the CIA. According to Glamocanin, the Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic joined the conspiracy. Djindjic took Glamocanin to a wooded area in Kosutnjak, a neighborhood of Belgrade, and asked him to take part in ‘Seselj’s political assassination’ by giving false evidence in The Hague. Glamocanin’s story has a touch of science fiction: he claims Djindjic pressured him in mid-April 2003, a month after the prime minister was assassinated.

As Glamocanin explained, he consented to the publication of the statements he had given to the defense in a book by Seselj’s in late 2008. He had already made his identity public before that, in a press interview although he was still a protected prosecution witness at the time, Glamocanin said. All witnesses called by Seselj, who were all former members of the Serbian Chetnik Movement, made the same claim in court. The four remaining witnesses were presumably to give similar evidence, but Seselj refused to examine them while they remained under protective measures. The judges had made it clear to the accused that he could ask the Trial Chamber that had ordered the measures to rescind them. Seselj said he didn’t intend to do it as his ‘goal is not to cut the Gordian knot, but to tangle it even more’.

The defense thus rested its case and both sides delivered their closing arguments. As prosecutor amicus curiae Bruce MacFarlane noted, the accused knew very well that he didn’t have the right to disclose to the public the identities of the witnesses when they were protected by the measures ordered by the judges, even if the witnesses agreed to the disclosure. The fact that the accused did it ‘deliberately and defiantly’, and that he had already been sentenced to 15 months for a similar offence was quoted as an aggravating circumstance by the prosecutor. He called for a three-year sentence.

In his closing argument, Vojislav Seselj said that no evidence had been called that could lead to his conviction. Seselj would nevertheless like the Trial Chamber to sentence him to death. That, Seselj noted, would be ‘an ideal end of his political and legal career’. The accused used most of his time in the closing argument to make a political speech, insisting that ‘the meaning of my life’ was to ‘destroy the Tribunal in The Hague’, which is receiving its instructions from the United States, European Union, Great Britain and NATO. ‘I feel I’m above you all and I have yet to meet a better lawyer than I am’, Seselj said. ‘I am not interested in your judgment; sooner or later, you will be judged by that same judgment, not me’, Seselj concluded.

The judgment will be ‘delivered in due course’, presiding judge Kwon said.