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Vojislav Seselj Denied Right to Appeal Conviction

28. November 2018.12:08

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The UN court in The Hague ruled that Serbian Radical Party leader Seselj cannot file an appeal against a second-instance verdict convicting him of the persecution of Croats in the Serbian village of Hrtkovci in 1992.

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals ruled on Wednesday that Vojislav Seselj cannot appeal against the verdict convicting because its rules allow him to request it to be reviewed “only if there are new pieces of evidence”, said the UN court’s president, Theodor Meron.

Under the first-instance verdict, Seselj was acquitted of the charges, but the second-instance verdict in April 2018 found him guilty.

Seselj then filed a motion saying the right to appeal a verdict of conviction was “an elementary right” that must not be refused to anyone.

“The verdict passed down by the Mechanism constitutes a legal precedent… It is inconceivable that a person who is pronounced guilty and sentenced for a crime has no right to appeal such a decision,” the Serbian Radical Party leader said.

Seselj was found guilty of inciting deportations, persecution and other inhumane acts against Croats, such as crimes against humanity, in a speech that he made in the village of Hrtkovci in northern Serbia on May 6, 1992.

He was also found guilty of the persecution of Croats living in Hrtkovci by “violating their right to security”.

However he was cleared of wartime crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

The nationalist politician was sentenced to ten years in prison but was not jailed because of the time he had already spent in custody in The Hague since 2003.

Seselj, who is an MP in the Serbian parliament, was not present in the courtroom for the verdict.

He was temporarily released for cancer treatment in November 2014 and refused to return to The Hague after that. Serbia refused to extradite him, despite an Interpol ‘red notice’ for his arrest.

After returning to Serbia, Seselj resumed his political career, held a series of nationalist rallies, and repeatedly mocked the Hague Tribunal in public.

Semir Mujkić

This post is also available in: Bosnian