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International Tribunal acquits Vojislav Seselj of all charges

March 31, 12:29 UTC+3
Leader of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj spent twelve years in jail pending a verdict (2003-2014)
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Vojislav Seselj

Vojislav Seselj

© AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

THE HAGUE, March 31. /TASS/. The International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia has lifted all charges from leader of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj after he spent twelve years in jail pending a verdict (2003-2014). The ruling was read out by presiding judge Jean-Claude Antonetti.

"Following this verdict, Vojislav Seselj is now a free man," Antonetti said.

Seselj was accused on three counts of crimes against humanity and on six counts of allegedly violating laws and customs of war.

The tribunal ruled that the prosecution failed to provide well-founded evidence the leader of Serbian radicals was an accomplice to those crimes.

The bill of indictment the prosecution presented to the tribunal was brimming with ambiguities and inconsistencies, Antonetti said. In particular, he said, the prosecutor misused the terms "violence" and "crime." Some phrases produced the impression that the very idea of Great Serbia was criminal. The same facts, interpreted as murder, torture, deportation, destruction or robbery were also presented as acts of persecution. Also, the judge said, the prosecutor used a very roundabout way of presenting evidence. In some cases the very same crimes were interpreted differently several times.

In 2014 Seselj was released on parole for health reasons. On November 12 he returned to Belgrade to wait for the final verdict.

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