The Serbian Radical Party leader’s legal team has filed a motion seeking to disqualify judges Arlette Ramaroson, Mehmet Guney and Andresia Vaz from the Appeals Chamber hearing Seselj's third contempt of court case. Seselj contends that the judges made a ‘scandalous decision’ to invalidate his notice of appeal because he had drastically exceeded the word limit

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj wants to have three judges disqualified from the Appeals Chamber hearing the appellate proceedings in his third contempt of court case. Seselj was charged with contempt of court for the third time after he persistently refused to comply with the order to remove confidential material about protected prosecution witnesses from his website. This led the Trial Chamber to sentence Seselj to two years in prison. Seselj has already collected 15 plus 18 month in prison for publishing the same or similar information in his books and on the Internet. The judgment on Seselj's ‘main’ indictment for crimes in Croatia, Vojvodina and BH is pending.

The notice of appeal drafted by Dejan Mirovic, member of Seselj's ‘expert team’, calls for the disqualification of judges Arlette Ramaroson, Mehmet Guney and Andresia Vaz because they had already, in Seselj's second contempt of course case, violated ‘one of the basic rights in the international legal order’. Specifically, on 23 August 2012, the judges reached what Seselj's associates called a ‘scandalous decision’ denying Seselj's right to appeal. The ‘injustice’, the lawyers say, ‘was without precedent even during the communist regime in the former SFRY’. According to Seselj's experts, this was a ‘pseudo-legal decision unprecedented in the modern judiciary’.

Seselj's notice of appeal against the second contempt of court indictment was almost four times longer than the word limit. Instead of the 9,000 words, the notice of appeal contained 33,000 words. In early July 2012, Seselj was ordered to re-file a new, abridged version of the appellate brief. Seselj twice refused to comply with the order and the Trial Chamber concluded that he had thus 'waived his right to appeal'.

In today's brief, Seselj's legal team again exceeded the word limit but justified it with ‘exceptional circumstances’, such as prosecution's abuse of process’ in the past, and ‘inappropriate emotions and actions’ of the judges. This is why his legal team had to describe in detail that the judges harbored ‘a sort of a passionate and heavy-handed bias towards Professor Vojislav Seselj’. Today, Seselj's legal team asked leave for the extension of the word limit.

Seselj holds a record in filing motions for the disqualification of judges. Soon after his arrival in The Hague, Seselj wanted to disqualify the first Trial Chamber assigned to his case. Seselj’s rationale for the disqualification of Judge Wolfgang Schomburg was that ‘Germans hate Serbs and have been killing them for centuries’. Judge Florence Mumba of Zambia was not adequate because she was a ‘staunch Catholic’, the same as Judge Carmel Agius, whom Seselj referred to, quite astonishingly, as a ‘Maltese female judge’. Seselj then called for the disqualification of judges Orie and Hopfel from the Trial Chamber that sat at the opening of his first trial in November 2006. The trial was suspended because of Seselj's hunger strike. After Seselj's case was transferred to Judge Antonetti, there were no further requests for disqualification until the first contempt of court judgment, which prompted Seselj to target judges O-Gon Kwon and Kevin Parker. All his motions for disqualification have been dismissed.