news 10 Feb 15

Hague Prosecutors Renew Call for Seselj’s Detention

The prosecution at the UN-backed war crimes court has filed a second motion calling for freed Serbian nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj to be returned to custody in The Hague.

Ivana Nikolic
BIRN
Belgrade

 

Vojislav Seselj addresses a rally in Belgrade after his release from custody. Photo: Beta.

The prosecution at the Hague Tribunal on Monday filed a new motion asking the court’s appeals chamber to send Serbian Radical Party leader Seselj, who is on trial for war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, back to detention.

Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz repeated his claims that Seselj had “undermined” the spirit of his temporary release on humanitarian grounds for cancer treatment last November.

Brammertz also reacted to Seselj’s own motion to the war crimes court last week, in the Serbian nationalist politician accused the prosecutor of taking bribes from the Croatian authorities and being a “marionette” for demanding his return to detention.

“He [Seselj] attempts to distract the appeals chamber with spurious claims seeking to impute political motives to the prosecutor. His baseless allegations of misconduct by the prosecutor are an abuse of the Tribunal’s proceedings, and should be dismissed,” Brammertz said in his latest motion.

Brammertz’s original appeal alleged that Seselj had made “unacceptable public statements that are inflammatory and insulting to victim communities” since his release.

But the Serbian Radical Party chief urged the Tribunal to launch disciplinary measures against Brammertz, who he accused of “behaving like a strutting peacock who thinks it is permissible for a prosecutor to behave like a politician who can lecture everyone”.

Brammertz first asked for Seselj’s temporarily release to be revoked in December, but the court rejected it, finding that Seselj hadn’t breached the rules of his release.

Since returning to Belgrade, Seselj has led nationalist protests and made a series of inflammatory statements that have angered victims of the wars in former Yugoslavia as well as neighbouring governments.

Seselj has also said he will not return voluntarily to the Hague Tribunal to complete his trial.

The Serbian nationalist leader had been in custody since 2003, when he voluntarily surrendered to the Hague court.

The verdict in his case was scheduled for October 2013, but was postponed after one of the judges in the trial was removed for alleged bias.

The new judge is expected to need at least until June to familiarise himself with the case, causing yet another delay in the marathon trial.

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