Home > srebrenica massacre > DRAGAN JOKIC REFUSES TO TESTIFY, CONVICTED OF CONTEMPT

DRAGAN JOKIC REFUSES TO TESTIFY, CONVICTED OF CONTEMPT

March 27, 2009
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has convicted a Bosnian Serb army officer for contempt for refusing to testify against his former comrades, adding four months to the 9-year sentence he is already serving for war crimes. The judgment Friday said Dragan Jokic’s refusal to respond to a summons is a serious offense that strikes at the essence of the notion of justice.

Jokic was convicted in 2005 of aiding and abetting the murder and persecution of Bosniaks during the 1995 assault on the U.N.-declared safe haven of Srebrenica. He is in prison in Austria.

The 51-year-old refused to testify in the case of seven Bosnian Serbs also accused in the Srebrenica genocide, when no less than 8,372 Bosnian Muslims were killed and tens of thousands were displaced during one brutal week of July 1995.

ICTY Press Release:

Trial Chamber II today convicted former Bosnian Serb Army officer Dragan Jokić of contempt of the Tribunal for refusing to testify in the case of Popović and others. He was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment.

Jokić was subpoenaed to testify in the case of Popović and others as a Prosecution witness on 31 October and 1 November 2007. However, Jokić refused to testify citing the reasons for his decision in a confidential submission of 31 October 2007. The Chamber ruled his submission did not justify the refusal to testify.

The Trial Chamber considered that there were sufficient grounds to proceed against Jokić for contempt and issued an order in lieu of an indictment on 1 November 2007, declaring that it would prosecute the matter Jokić itself.

Jokić pleaded not guilty to the charge of contempt at his initial appearance on 19 November 2007 and the trial took place on 19 November 2007, 10 December 2007 and 15 December 2008.

“Witnesses summoned by subpoena are under a duty to testify. It is a basic principle of this judicial institution and goes to the heart of the notion of justice. It ensures that the evidence required for the proper administration of justice is available,” Judge Carmel Agius, Presiding, said today in the court.

“[Jokić] made a conscious decision not to testify and understood the consequences of his behaviour,” the judgement read.

In determining the sentence to be imposed on Jokić, Judge Agius said: “The Chamber considers that Jokić committed a serious offence, which goes to the essence of the notion of justice. By his refusal to testify he has deprived the Chamber of relevant evidence and acted against the interests of justice.” Jokić was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, which will be served consecutively.

Jokić has previously been sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment on 17 January 2005 for aiding and abetting the extermination, murder and persecution of Bosnian Muslim men in Srebrenica in July 1995. His sentence was affirmed by the Appeals Chamber on 9 May 2007. He is currently serving his sentence in Austria.

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