UN tribunal jails Bosnian Serb for refusing to testify in genocide trial

9 December 2011
Dragomir Pecanac

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today sentenced a former security and intelligence officer in the Bosnian Serb armed forces to three months in prison for refusing to testify in the genocide trial of his commander.

Dragomir Pecanac was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is based in The Hague, of contempt of court for his refusal to comply with a subpoena ordering him to appear as a witness in the case of Zdravko Tolimir.

Describing contempt of the tribunal as a serious offence, the judges said Mr. Pecanac’s “failure to testify has deprived the chamber of relevant evidence.”

The judges noted that the tribunal is dependent on witness testimony and the “deprivation of such relevant evidence… endangers the fulfilment of the tribunal’s functions and mandate.”

Mr. Pecanac, who pleaded not guilty to the contempt charges, will receive credit for the 74 days that he has already spent in detention.

The trial of Mr. Tolimir – who is charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination, murder, persecutions, forcible transfers and deportations – continues. The charges relate to a series of events during the Balkan wars, including the notorious massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in July 1995.


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