News 10 Apr 12

SRS: Seselj’s Health Endangered

The Serbian Radical Party, SRS, claims that their leader’s medical condition got worse on Monday and that he is very ill.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

According to his party’s announcement, Vojislav Seselj, who is waiting for his ICTY judgment for war crimes, has requested a new medical examination since his health has deteriorated.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the ICTY, said Seselj's health has not changed, but they cannot give further comments, because Seselj forbade his medical records to be made public.

However, the Serbian National Council for Cooperation with The Hague Tribunal says that Seselj has been examined by the doctors on Monday and that he is receiving a new therapy.

Previously, on March 27,  Serbia sent an unsolicited guarantee for his provisional release until sentencing.

Rasim Ljajic, Head of the Serbian National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, who sent a guarantee letter to the ICTY, says that he got a confirmation that the ICTY will take the guarantee into consideration in case Seselj submits a motion for provisional release.

Vojislav Šešelj on Trial: Key Stories

According to Ljajic , in response to the Council’s guarantee, the presenting judge Antoanetti set out two options for the potential release of Seselj.

If Seselj asks to be released again, the ICTY will contact the Council to find out whether Serbia is still prepared to put up a guarantee that Seselj will return for his sentencing. 

The second option is that the ICTY's health commission provides a report about the effect of further detention on Seselj's health, which would then be used as a basis for his release.

Until now,  Seselj has not requested to be released, the ICTY confirmed to BIRN.

Previously, during his closing arguments held on March 24, Seselj asked to be granted temporary release, but that request was rejected since there were no guarantees that he would return to the ICTY custody.

Given that general elections in Serbia are scheduled for May 6 and that the campaign has already started, some observers believe that he could join his party’s election run if he came to Serbia. 

He is already listed as first on the parliamentary elections list, while his wife, Jadranka, is the Serbian Radical Party’s candidate for president.

However the ICTY can forbid Seselj to act politically and in that case the state would need to send reports to the ICTY about his daily activities.

Vojislav Seselj was charged in 2003 by the Hague Tribunal for persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, as well as for violating customs of war during conflicts in former Yugoslavia from 1991 until 1993.

He is also charged with having ordered the ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs from the territories of eastern Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian province of Vojvodina.

Seselj has been in custody since February 24, 2003 when he voluntarily surrendered to the Hague Tribunal.

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