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BELGRADE, November 10 /TASS/. Vojislav Seselj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, will return to Belgrade on November 12 after spending 12 years at the Hague Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Serbian Vice-Premier Rasim Ljajic, in charge of cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, said on Monday.
Seselj, 60, surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on February 23, 2003. He was accused of inciting inter-ethnic strife and crimes against the non-Serbian population in Croatia, Vojvodina (Serbia) and Bosnia & Herzegovina during the Yugoslav wars in 1991-1993.
On November 6, the Hague Tribunal agreed to temporarily release Seselj from custody and allow him to return to his home country to undergo cancer treatment after Serbia had provided strong guarantees that he would be returned to the Hague at the first request. However, the exact date of Seselj’s return was unknown until Monday.
Initially, it was supposed to be Tuesday, November 11, but the Tribunal’s doctors said they needed one more day to prepare the accompanying medical documents, Ljajic said.
Last Thursday, the Hague Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said it was allowing Seselj to return to Serbia “for reasons of humanity.”
In December 2013, Seselj was operated in the Netherlands for malignant tumour in the colon and underwent a course of chemical therapy.
But cancer treatment is not the main reason why Seselj is returning to Serbia. He said he was going home to “take revenge” on his opponents.
“If I come to Serbia, I am not going to spend time on my treatment. I will throw all my efforts on revenge,” the politician said.
Seselj who defended himself on his own (without lawyers) at The Hague trial has kept calling himself the main enemy of The Hague Tribunal, which he describes as “the NATO trial.”
Members of the Serbian Radical Party have accused the Hague Tribunal of providing late and inadequate medical aid to their leader.
“There is no doubt that the Hague Tribunal is killing Vojislav Seselj because it has no evidence to convict him. All reasonable deadlines for passing a court verdict have passed, and the Serbian Radical Party is demanding Vojislav Seselj’s immediate and unconditional release,” Nemanja Sarovic, Seselj’s deputy at the Serbian Radical Party, said.
Seselj has hit all records in terms of duration of his stay at the Hague Tribunal’s pre-trial detention ward ever since the Tribunal was established by the United Nations on May 25, 1993.
The Hague Tribunal prosecutors demanded sentencing Seselj to 28 years in prison. He, in turn, denied all accusations as a pile of lies. Seselj said the prosecutors could not present any real evidence of his complicity to the incriminated crimes.
The hearings of Seselj’s case ended in January 2010. The Hague Tribunal has been unable to pass a verdict on his case for almost 4 years.