As Vojislav Seselj has twice refused to obey the Trial Chamber’s orders instructing him to submit an abridged appellate brief, the judges have concluded that he has waived his right to appeal in the second contempt of court case in which he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The appellate judges will thus consider just the appeal filed by the amicus curiae prosecutor who wants Seselj’s sentence doubled

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

The Appeals Chamber with Judge Arlette Ramaroson presiding has concluded that the Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj has waived his right to appeal in the second contempt of court trial before the Tribunal, after he refused to obey two orders instructing him to abridge his appellate brief. In the case, Seselj was sentenced to 18 months in prison for making public the information about protected prosecution witnesses.

In the initial appeal, the accused petitioned the judges to quash the conviction, but he was much too long-winded: instead of the requisite 9,000 words, his appeal contained four times as many: 33,000. The judges returned the appellate brief to him instructing him to abridge it. He refused to submit a new, abridged version, asking the judges to review their decision, which they refused.

Although the judges could have been in a position to close the case, they decided to give Seselj ‘one more chance’ to submit an abridged version of his appeal, not longer than 9,000 words. Since the document has not reached the judges, they have concluded that the accused has waived his right to appeal. The deadline for the submission of appellate briefs has thus expired.

Thus, the judges have before them only the appeal filed by the amicus curiae prosecutor, who asked that the original 18-month sentence be doubled. His appeal contained the requisite number of words.

The Serbian Radical Party leader has already been sentenced to 15 months in prison for a similar crime, the publication of information about protected witnesses. This sentence is final. Recently, he had been sentenced to two years in prison on the third contempt of court indictment, this time because he refused to remove the confidential information about protected witnesses from his website. In March 2012, the court heard the closing arguments in the case against Seselj for crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia, Vojvodina and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The prosecution asked for 28 years in prison for the crimes. The date of the judgment has not been announced yet.