If he wants to appeal against the judgment sentencing him to 18 months for contempt of court, Vojislav Seselj will have to re-file his appellate brief, which must not exceed 9,000 words. Seselj’s initial brief, returned by the Appeals Chamber, contains more than 33,000 words

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

The Appeals Chamber ordered Vojislav Seselj to re-file a new, much more concise appellate brief in his second contempt of court case. In October 2011, the Trial Chamber sentenced Seselj to 18 months for disclosing the identities of protected prosecution witnesses. Seselj’s appellate brief contains more than 33,000 words, almost four times longer than the maximum of 9,000 words the Appeal Chamber has allowed.

The Appeals Chamber has already decided not to accept Seselj’s appellate brief, ordering him to re-file a new, abridged version, but Seselj refused to comply with the order and asked the Appeals Chamber to reconsider its decision. The accused contends that the 18-month sentence, his ill health and the fact that his communication with his legal advisors is being monitored represent ‘exceptional circumstances’ which justify the excessive number of words in his appellate brief. On the other hand, the amicus prosecutor in the contempt of court case claims that the refusal of the accused to comply with the Appeals Chamber’s order effectively means that Seselj has waived his right to appeal. The amicus prosecutor therefore asked the Appeals Chamber to conclude the proceedings in the case against Seselj.

The Appeals Chamber has dismissed Seselj’s motion to reconsider the decision. However, as Seselj is defending himself, the Appeals Chamber decided to give him ‘another chance’ to re-file his notice of appeal and the appellate brief which should not exceed 9,000 words. If Seselj fails to submit a new brief, the Appeals Chamber will consider that Seselj has waived his right to appeal, the appellate judges concluded in their decision. In that case, the Appeals Chamber will consider only the appeal filed by the amicus prosecutor, who has called for Seselj’s sentence, 18 months in prison, to be doubled.