By Denis Dzidic
The UN war crimes court will deliver its appeal verdict on Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj on April 11, but he has vowed not to return to The Hague to hear it.
The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals said on Monday that the second-instance verdict on Vojislav Seselj – who was initially acquitted of wartime crimes in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina – will be handed down on April 11.
But Seselj, who has been at liberty in Serbia since he was temporarily released for cancer treatment in 2014, has insisted that he will not go back to The Hague to hear the verdict.
“He will not go. He has said that many times – that he won’t go back to The Hague,” Serbian Radical Party MP Vjerica Radeta told BIRN after the UN court scheduled the verdict date.
But the president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Theodor Meron, said that the verdict could be pronounced in Seselj’s absence.
Under the first-instance verdict in March 2016, Seselj was acquitted of persecution on political, racial and religious grounds as well as crimes against humanity in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The verdict determined that the establishment of a ‘Greater Serbia’ was Seselj’s political goal, but it did not imply the commission of crimes.
Seselj did not attend the pronouncement of the first instance verdict.
In their appeal, the Hague prosecutors asked the court to quash the first-instance verdict and convict Seselj.
Prosecutor Mathias Marcussen asked for Seselj to be found guilty and sentenced to 28 years in prison or undergo a new trial.
The trial of Seselj has lasted around ten years. It was interrupted several times in order to also try the Serbian Radical Party leader for contempt of court, of which he was found guilty.
After being allowed to go back to Serbia in 2014, Seselj returned to politics and is currently an MP.