News 17 Jun 15

Seselj’s Illness Preventing Return to Detention

Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj, who has been ordered back to detention by the UN war crimes court in The Hague, cannot return yet because he is still undergoing chemotherapy.

Ivana Nikolic
Vojislav Seselj. Photo by BETA.

Seselj’s medical team told BIRN that the Serbian Radical Party chief, who was temporarily released last year because he has cancer, is about to undergo a third round of chemotherapy in Belgrade and cannot be sent back to the Hague Tribunal’s custody unit due to his poor health.

Seselj “almost died seven days ago” and his return to The Hague would be “the end of his life, as he cannot be treated there”, a member of the medical team, Milovan Bojic, told BIRN.

“He now feels better but I expect more tough episodes [when the next round of chemotherapy starts],” Bojic added.

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia told Serbia last month to send Seselj back, arguing that he had breached the terms of his temporary release after he stated several times that he would not return to the court for the verdict in his trial.

Since returning to Belgrade in November, he has led nationalist protests and made a series of hardline statements that have angered war victims.

As Seselj refuses to surrender voluntarily, an additional arrest warrant needs to be issued by the Hague Tribunal in order for him to be detained by the Serbian authorities and sent back against his will.

The legal representative of the Serbian government in Seselj’s case, Sasa Obradovic, said that Belgrade has asked the UN court’s appeals chamber whether it will send the warrant, but has not received any response yet.

“We are waiting for the things that the Tribunal is supposed to send us. We are waiting for that arrest warrant,” Obradovic told BIRN.

The Tribunal meanwhile told BIRN that its decision about revoking Seselj’s provisional release has not been made public yet so it could not comment on developments.

Seselj, who is on trial for wartime crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, 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.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus