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War crimes court finds Croats who leaked witness name in contempt

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website] at The Hague Friday convicted two Croatians - a journalist and a former security official [ICTY case summary] - for contempt [ICTY indictment, PDF] in disclosing the name of a protected witnesses in the 1997 war crimes trial of Croatian Army general Tihomir Blaskic [ICTY case summary]. The identity and testimony of Johannes van Kuijk, a Dutch army officer, was first leaked by Ivica Marijacic, editor of a Zagreb weekly, to Markica Rebic, the former head of Croatia's security service, and was then republished in a 2004 article by Marijacic.

The ICTY Trial Chamber found that the disclosure of van Kuijk's name had actually done him no harm, but nonetheless fined the two Croatians 15,000 Euros each (roughly $10,000), saying that the "public confidence in the effectiveness of the Tribunal’s protective measures is vital to the success of its work." The charge could have brought up to seven years imprisonment. Read the ICTY press release and the full text of the ruling [ICTY summary also available]. The court has not yet ruled on the cases of four other Croatian journalists [JURIST report] accused of leaking the name of another protected witness in the Blaskic trial. Reuters has more.

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