30 August 2006 The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has found a Croatian journalist guilty of contempt for publishing closed session transcripts and part of a witness statement.
In a judgement issued today, the Tribunal fined Josip Jovic, a former editor-in-chief of the Croatian daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija, 20,000 Euros.
In a series of articles that appeared in November and December 2000, Mr. Jovic published the transcripts and part of a statement given to the Office of the Prosecutor by Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, who testified against a former Croatian Army general.
The ICTY Trial Chamber expressed particular concern over Mr. Jovic’s decision to ignore a cease and desist order from the Tribunal after the first four articles had appeared, noting that he went on in subsequent editions to boast that the transcripts he was publishing were “secret.”
“His actions not only were contemptuous, but also stymied the Tribunal’s ability to safeguard the evidence of a protected witness and risked undermining confidence in the Tribunal’s ability to grant effective protective measures,” said the Trial Chamber in its judgement summary.
The defence had argued that Mr. Jovic did not believe he was bound by the Tribunal’s orders and therefore could not be held in contempt, but this was found to be erroneous.