Serbia's Vojislav Seselj Acquitted of All Charges

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | March 31, 2016, Thursday // 11:59
Bulgaria: Serbia's Vojislav Seselj Acquitted of All Charges Vojislav Seselj. File photo, EPA/BGNES

A UN court has found Serbian political leader Vojislav Seselj not guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

The Hague-based institution has ruled that the defendant is not responsible for any of the nine counts in his indictment.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has ruled that the plan for "Greater Serbia" pursued by Seselj's Serbian Radical Party was a political and not a criminal project.

ICTY also noted it did not consider the declaration of Serbian autonomy in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia a criminal offense.

The trial chamber couldn't dismiss the Seselj's argument that civilians had fled combat zones to take refuge some were being taken away in buses out of humanitarian motives and not as a result of forcible deportation, a judge has said.

He has explained the defendant was not aware of some of the crimes committed during the conflict.

Vojislav Seselj, on trial since 2007, had been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. The indictment contains, among others, 3 counts of crimes against humanity, six war crimes (murder, torture, cruel treatment, destruction of villages, willful damage to institutions dedicated to religious education; public of private or public property).

The prosecution was calling for 28 years. The defendant had pleaded not guilty.

Seselj has been the leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) since was founded in 1991.

He was not present in the courtroom, but was in Belgrade taking part in campaign events for the April 24 early election. The ICTY complied with a request from the Serbian government that he should not be taken forcibly to the court and should stay in the capital to continue his cancer treatment which he has been undergoing there since the autumn of 2014.

Last week, the ICTY sentenced former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzhic to 40 years of imprisonment after finding him guilty of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and on nine other war crime charges.


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Tags: Vojislav Seselj, Radovan Karadzic, ICTY, Serbian Radical Party, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia

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