Šešelj trial delayed

The trial of Vojislav Šešelj, on contempt of court charges, has been delayed due to the prosecutor’s inability to appear in court.

Prosecutor Amicus Curiae Bruce MacFarlane, who is currently in North America, has requested a delay of the proceedings due to closing of the north European airspace.

Šešelj was scheduled to make his first appearance today but the new date and time of the trial will be subsequently announced, the Hague Tribunal said in Monday.

This is the opposition Serb Radical Party (SRS) leader’s second contempt charge during the seven years of his war crimes trial at the Hague.

In the previous proceeding, on January 21, 2009, he was accused of revealing classified information about three protected witnesses in one of his books. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison on July 24.

Šešelj has filed an appeal against the verdict and his legal team chief Zoran Krasić expressed his expectation yesterday that the tribunal’s appeal chamber would make its decision by the end of May.

The new indictment against the SRS leader for contempt of court was raised on February 4. He is accused of revealing names, occupations and residencies of 11 protected witnesses in his book, which is a violation of the Hague Tribunal’s rules.

Šešelj is being tried for war crimes committed from 1991 until 1993 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Vojvodina in a separate trial before the Hague Tribunal.

The SRS leader voluntarily surrendered himself to the Hague Tribunal on February 24, 2003 and has been in custody ever since.

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