Serb far right leader defies UN court

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2014 9:09 AM
Serb far right leader defies UN court

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbian far-right leader Vojislav Seselj will defy a U.N. war crimes court if judges request that he return to The Hague, he said Thursday, a day after returning home on provisional release.

Seselj, accused of recruiting notorious paramilitary forces during the bloody Balkan wars, returned home on Wednesday after the tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, released him for medical treatment in Serbia on condition that he doesn't interfere with victims or witnesses and that he goes back if summoned.

But he told a news conference that "I will not go voluntarily."

"Why would I?" he added. "I will not hide, but they will have to arrest me."

Serbian doctors who visited the 60-year-old say he is suffering from colon cancer that has spread to his liver. The notorious Serbian firebrand, who once said he would like to gouge out the eyes of rival Croats with a rusty spoon, had been in custody in The Hague since surrendering in 2003.

He was charged along with other Serbian leaders of the 1990s' as part of a criminal plot to drive out non-Serbs using massive destruction and terror. Seselj's has pleaded not guilty to all charges, but prosecutors have demanded a 28-year sentence. Judges have delayed passing the verdict several times because of different legal obstacles.

Seselj said his political campaign will focus on "stopping any attempts to include Serbia into EU or NATO."

The Balkan country's current government is led by Seselj's former top associates, who now support Serbia's EU membership. If Seselj's is summoned by the Hague court, the Serbian authorities must hand him over.

"It will be a historic paradox, that I should be arrested by the most direct accomplices in the war crimes that I had allegedly committed," Seselj said.