Jelena Rašić, who was part of a defence team before the ICTY, has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for bribing a man to make a false statement in exchange for €1,000 cash; her sentence was suspended.
Rašić was convicted for contempt of the Tribunal last month for her actions in the defence of Milan Lukic, a Bosnian Serb sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed in Visegrad in 1992, including the burning alive of 59 people who he helped trap in a house.
Judges gave Rašić credit for the 78 days she has already been in detention and suspended the eight additional months of her sentence, so unless she commits another crime in the next two years, she will remain free.
Rašić pleaded guilty to five counts of contempt in January for “knowingly and wilfully” interfering with the “administration of justice.”
In their decision Tuesday, judges found that “[t]he crimes which Jelena Rašić has admitted to having committed are grave. Procurement of false evidence in any situation amounts to direct interference with the administration of justice. When perpetrated before an international criminal jurisdiction, such as the Tribunal, such interference has far-reaching consequences.”
Rašić admitted that in 2008, she approached Zuhdija Tabaković, asking him to sign a pre-written statement even though he hadn’t witnessed the events it described himself and knew nothing about them. She paid him the €1,000, promising more money after he testified. The statement made up part of Lukic’s defence, included in the witness summary list filed by defence lawyers and handed over to prosecutors.
Rašić was also convicted of “inciting Tabaković to offer bribes and to procure false witness statements from two other individuals.” He indeed found two more men to make false statements and was himself convicted of contempt and sentenced to three months in prison.
There have been more than 20 other contempt cases before the ICTY against 23 individuals. They include one against former prosecution spokeswoman Florence Hartmann, who was fined for revealing confidential information from appeals chambers’ decisions in two of her published works after leaving the Tribunal, and three against Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, who is on trial for the persecution, murder and torture of non-Serbs during the Bosnian war.
Judges held him in contempt for disclosing confidential information about protected witnesses in a book he wrote and posted on his web-page—and then again for refusing to take the information off his website.