News 21 Jan 15

Hague Prosecutors Appeal Again for Seselj’s Detention

Prosecutors at the international war crimes court have again asked for Serbian nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj, who was released for cancer treatment, to be returned to custody.

Radosa Milutinovic
BIRN

 

Vojislav Seselj. Photo: Beta.

The prosecution at the Hague Tribunal on Wednesday filed a second motion calling for Serbian Radical Party leader Seselj, who is on trial for wartime crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, to be sent back to detention in the Netherlands.

Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz repeated his claim from the first motion that Seselj has “undermined” the spirit of his temporary release on humanitarian grounds.

Brammertz noted that Seselj has said categorically that he will not return to the Tribunal for the verdict in his trial and alleged that the nationalist politician has “threatened people cooperating with the prosecution”.

After returning to Belgrade in November last year to a rapturous welcome from his nationalist admirers, Seselj declared that he would not agree to return to the war crimes court and would stage protests against any attempt to send him back.

He has since led nationalist protests and made a series of hardline statements that have angered war victims.

“He has clearly demonstrated that his health condition is no barrier to making unacceptable public statements that are inflammatory and insulting to victim communities. He has also made public statements that call into question the trial chamber’s assessment of the extremity of his health situation,” said Brammertz.

Brammertz said that it appeared the conditions ordered for Seselj’s temporary release - handing over his passport to the Serbian authorities, not making contacts with witnesses or victims and returning to The Hague when ordered to - were “apparently inadequate”.

The court earlier this month rejected the prosecution’s first appeal for Seselj to be returned to custody, saying that he had not so far breached the terms of his release.

Seselj had been in custody since 2003, when he voluntarily surrendered.

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 take until at least the end of June 2015 to familiarise himself with details of the case, causing yet another delay in the marathon trial.

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