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ICTY: Milan Tupajic Pleads not Guilty

16. December 2011.00:00
Milan Tupajic, former President of Sokolac municipality and crisis committee of the Serbian Democratic Party, appears before The Hague Tribunal and pleads not guilty of contempt of court after refusing to testify at the trial of Radovan Karadzic despite a subpoena ordering him to do so.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Before Tupajic had pleaded not guilty, judge O-gon Kwon asked him if he stuck to his earlier decision not to respect the subpoena, ordering him to testify.

“I stick to my allegation that the reasons for my decision are justified. I submitted my reasons in writing to the Prosecution prior to the issuance of the subpoena and presented them during my meeting with the Prosecutor,” Tupajic said, adding that he had not changed his decision since July 2009.

Tupajic was arrested on December 13 this year by Bosnian authorities as per a warrant issued by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY. He was extradited to The Hague yesterday.

The ICTY has charged Tupajic with contempt of court, because he failed to respond to two subpoenas in which he was ordered to testify at the trial of the former President of Republika Srpska, who is charged with genocide and war crimes against Bosniaks and Croats during the Bosnia and Herzegovina war.

The Tribunal’s Chamber said that Tupajic’s reasons for not responding to the subpoenas were insufficient.

The Tribunal issued the subpoenas in which Tupajic was ordered to testify on September 23 and November 3. Tupajic was informed about them on October 5 and November 8. Despite that, he failed to appear at The Hague or, according to the allegations contained in the indictment, provide the Tribunal with sufficient explanation on why he could not testify.

Pursuant to the Tribunal’s Rules, an indictee charged with contempt of court may be fined in the amount of up to 100,000 Euro or sentenced to up to seven years in prison or both.

In 2005 Tupajic testified at the trial of Momcilo Krajisnik, whom the Tribunal sentenced under a second instance verdict to 20 years in prison for the persecution of non-Serbs in 1992.

The trial of Karadzic before the Tribunal is due to continue on January 10, 2012.R.M.

This post is also available in: Bosnian