Serbian ultranationalist aide facing contempt charges before UN tribunal

29 May 2008 – A former aide to a top Serbian ultranationalist politician is being brought before the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the worst war crimes committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s on contempt of court charges after he failed to appear as a witness in the politician’s trial.

Ljubiša Petkovic was transferred yesterday from Serbia to the detention unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague and is expected to make his first appearance before the judges today.

Prosecutors have charged Mr. Petkovic because of his failure to answer a confidential subpoena issued last month to appear as a witness in the ongoing trial of Vojislav Šešelj, the president of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS).

Mr. Šešelj is facing three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes relating to his alleged role in an ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbian forces in the Vojvodina region of Serbia between August 1991 and at least September 1993. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which include murder, torture, imprisonment and deportation.

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