War crimes judge revoke Serbian MP release; MP rebuffs order

The Appeals Chamber of the Hague Tribunal has decided to revoke the decision to grant Vojislav Seselj temporary release and ordered him returned to prison.

War crimes judge revoke Serbian MP release; MP rebuffs order

World Bulletin / News Desk


 United Nations judges summoned Serbian politician Vojislav Seselj back to The Hague on Monday, ruling that the nationalist, who has terminal cancer, must return to answer allegations that he violated the terms of his compassionate release.

The ruling, by a court that is strongly backed by the European Union, presents Serbia's pro-Western governmentwith a dilemma, as it tries to shore up support for EU integration against an increasingly active Russia.

Seselj was charged more than a decade ago with inciting the war crimes of murder and persecution in firebrand speeches he gave as leader of the Serbian Radical Party. He has been in custody since surrendering to theYugoslavia tribunal in 2003 and his trial is formally still ongoing.

In November, judges allowed him to return home to die, but said he must return at any time if ordered to do so. In Monday's ruling, appeals judges said that he had violated those terms by saying he would never return to The Hague.

Seselj said he would defy the ruling, meaning Serbia's government, headed by a former close ally of Seselj, is obliged to arrest the politician, who returned to politics on his release and addressed a packed rally in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

"I will not return voluntarily," he told Belgrade's Vecenje Novosti newspaper. "Let the police come ... The arrest will not be an easy job," he said, adding that he would appeal the decision in the Serbian courts.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, a former Seselj ally who turned his back on his mentor's ultra-nationalism in favour of EU integration, told reporters: "We will respond in the coming days."

Seselj's trial has been among the tribunal's longest, delayed both by his own stalling tactics, and by the replacement of one of the three judges on the case, who revealed himself to be biased in a private letter that was leaked to the media.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was set up in 1993 to try those suspected of war crimes during the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia into seven successor states, in conflicts that cost more than 130,000 lives and lasted most of the 1990s. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mart 2015, 14:44