ISSN 2330-717X

UN Court To Deliver Vojislav Seselj Verdict In April


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.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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