PUBLIC HEARING ON SERBIA’S NON-COMPLIANCE SLATED FOR NEXT WEEK
The Tribunal’s Trial Chamber I is not happy with the first report from Belgrade specifying actions taken to implement the arrest warrant for the three Serbian Radical Party members who are wanted for contempt of court. The judges have decided to schedule a public hearing for Wednesday, 10 February 2016 to discuss Serbia’s non-compliance and the failure of Serbian authorities to comply with a binding order issued by an international court. The Serbian government has been invited to send ‘authorized and informed representatives’ to the hearing
Petar Jojic, Jovo Ostojic and Vjerica Radeta, three Serbian Radical Party officials, have been charged with contempt of court for threatening, intimidating, bribing and otherwise interfering with the witnesses in the case against Vojislav Seselj. The three accused wanted to compel the witnesses to refuse testifying for the prosecution, to recant their previous statements and to sign new statements that were dictated to them. According to the indictment, Ljubisa Petkovic was the coordinator of the effort to bring the wayward Radicals back into line. In 2008, Petkovic, former chief of the SRS War Staff, was sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of court.
The indictment against the three Radicals was issued in October 2012 and confirmed in December 2014. The warrants for their arrest and their transfer to The Hague were issued in January 2015.
After waiting in vain for Serbia to act on the warrants for a whole year, the Tribunal’s Trial Chamber I ordered the Belgrade authorities to submit monthly reports on the ‘efforts they have made’ to arrest and transfer the accused.
In the first report, filed on 2 February 2016, the Serbian government stated they were still waiting for the response of the Tribunal’s President to its letter of 7 December 2015, in which it proposed that the proceedings against the three Radicals be referred to Serbian courts.
According to the Trial Chamber, the correspondence with the Tribunal’s President does not suspend Serbia’s obligations under international law and it remains under a legal obligation to execute the warrants issued by the ICTY. Finding that the Serbian authorities’ continued non-compliance was unacceptable, the Trial Chamber has decided to schedule a public hearing for the next week, to discuss the non-compliance with the arrest warrant for the three Radicals.