BELGRADE, November 13 /TASS/. Vojislav Seselj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party who returned to Belgrade on November 12 after spending 12 years at the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia /ICTY/, told journalists on Thursday that he would not surrender to the Hague Tribunal for the second time and would not return to The Hague voluntarily.
Seselj, 60, surrendered to the ICTY on February 24, 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 “for reasons of humanity” and allowed 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.
The Serb radical leader is suffering from liver metastases. In December 2013, Seselj was operated in the Netherlands for malignant tumour in the colon and underwent a course of chemical therapy.
Earlier on Thursday, Serge Brammmetz, the ICTY’s chief prosecutor, said a verdict on Vojislav Seselj would not be passed earlier than late 2015.
Seselj said if he needed to return to The Hague by the time of the verdict, “President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic would have to seize him and send him back to The Hague.
“It would be a historical and legal paradox if I had to be handed over by my closest associates and accomplices to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Do you think that I would miss such a chance?” Seselj asked.
Addressing his supporters from the window of his party’s headquarters in Belgrade a day earlier on Thursday, Seselj branded Serbia’s present leaders - President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic - as traitors. Both politicians used to be members of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party. Nikolic was the party’s vice-chairman while Vucic was its general secretary. They quitted the party after a split in 2008. Both radically changed their political views and convictions after the withdrawal.
Seselj told the journalists on Thursday that he would not longer threaten then with revenge. “There is no need in doing that,” Seselj said. His aim is to revive and modernize the Serbian Radical Party. Seselj said he had not given up the idea of “Greater Serbia” and would rebuild the party along the lines of resistance to the treacherous regime and attempts to include Serbia in the European Union and NATO.
The Serb radical leader assumes that a policy of rapprochement with the European Union and NATO will take Serbia into nowhere. He said the country needed “a rational policy of rapprochement with Russia and other countries to achieve a status, which Belarus and Kazakhstan have.
Seselj said he was sure he had managed to defeat The Hague Tribunal. He also confirmed he was ready to testify as a witness for the defense at the trial over Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serb army, by means of a video conference in Belgrade.
Seselj has hit all records in terms of duration of his stay at the Hague Tribunal’s prison in Scheveningen / an area in The Hague, where the accused and convicts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia are kept/ ever since the Tribunal was established by the United Nations on May 25, 1993. He is the only suspect who has faced three additional trials in addition to the main one on charges of showing disrespect for the court.
Prosecutors demanded a 28-year-long prison sentence for Seselj. He, in turn, kept denying 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 the verdict on his case for almost 4 years.