News 11 Oct 17

Hague Tribunal to Appoint Lawyer for Vojislav Seselj

The UN war crimes tribunal will appoint a legal representative to represent Serbian nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj at his upcoming appeal hearing because he has refused to return to the court.

Radosa Milutinovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Vojislav Seselj. Photo: BETA.

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague announced on Wednesday that it will appoint a legal representative to protect Serbian Radical Party leader’s rights during his upcoming appeal hearing.

But it cautioned that the legal representative will not be able to deal with the central points of the case and “respond to the substance of the prosecution’s appeal on behalf of Seselj”.

Seselj, who represented himself at his trial, has failed to officially respond to the court’s request to confirm whether he will attend the appeal or not.

But the hardline nationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party repeated again last month that he will not go back to The Hague voluntarily after being granted provisional release by the court for cancer treatment in 2014.

He returned to politics in Serbia and is now an MP.

Explaining his decision to appoint a legal representative for Seselj, judge Theodor Meron said the defendant’s refusal to participate in the hearing represented “an obstruction of the proceedings”.

Seselj was acquitted in March last year of wartime crimes against non-Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Serbian province of Vojvodina.

In its appeal, the prosecution asked the court to quash the acquittal verdict, find Seselj guilty and sentence him to 28 years in prison.

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