ICTY by Julian Nitzsche

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for two lawyer Vojislav Seselj and his close relative, accusing them of bribing witnesses.

Lawyers Petar Jojic, Vjerica Radeta and Jovo Ostojic "are accused of non-compliance with the court's suspicion of threatening, intimidating, and trying to suffocate two witnesses," the ICTY said.

These arrests were secretly handed over in January this year, but the authorities of Belgrade have not applied them and the ICTY has decided to publish them.

According to ICTY, Jojic and Ostojic were allowed to contact witnesses in the Seselj process. Seselj responds to ethnic cleansing charges against Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs during the 1990 war. The first witness had to sign, without insight into the text, the statement made by Sheshel's defense.

Attorney Radet approached the other witness and told him that his Defense Forces would "help him" if he changed his testimony and went to the side of the defense. He then received 500 per month, paid by the Serbian Radical Party. Like the previous witness, he had to memorize the statement he would give to the ICTY.

The ICTY on Tuesday requested that Serbia send three suspected bribing agents to Den Haag as soon as possible.

Last year, Seselj was allowed to return to Serbia for treatment of cancer in anticipation of the verdict.

Serbia's ICTY-based diplomat Rasim Ljajic said the unexpected and surprising ICTY release on Tuesday was a surprise. "We expected that the pronouncement of the verdict would be published this year, and it was most logical for these people to plead for the Tribunal's discretion when a verdict was rendered."

(Hina)