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Serbian politician says Hague tribunal’s acquittal is ‘only possible decision’

March 31, 14:43 UTC+3 BELGRADE
Earlier, the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia acquitted Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj of all the counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity
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Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj

Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj

© EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC

BELGRADE, March 31. /TASS/. Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj who has been acquitted of all the counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity after spending 12 years in jail said on Thursday The Hague tribunal delivered the only possible verdict.

"Two honest judges emerged who showed that professionalism and honor are above any political pressure," Seselj, the former deputy Serbian prime minister, told a press conference at the headquarters of his party. He stressed that his position in regard to The Hague tribunal as "an anti-Serbian court" has been unchanged.

Earlier on Thursday, the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia acquitted the politician of all nine counts - three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of allegedly violating laws and customs of war in the early 1990s. The tribunal ruled that the prosecution failed to provide well-founded evidence the leader of Serbian radicals was an accomplice to those crimes.

Seselj also said he is "not interested in the reaction of Zagreb and Sarajevo." "I do not feel guilty of anything," he stressed.

The Serbian politician said he could seek another 2 million euros in compensation from the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in addition to 12 million euros that he already demanded in 2012 for years spent behind the bars without a verdict.

Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti said the bill of indictment the prosecution presented to the tribunal was brimming with ambiguities and inconsistencies. 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 and returned to Belgrade to wait for the final verdict.

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