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The Serbian Ultranationalist has yet been convicted of crimes against humanity in an appeals procedure. Šešelj has already served the punishment.

Serbia: UN court speaks to nationalist Šešelj guilty

The Serbian Ultranationalist has yet been convicted of crimes against humanity in an appeals procedure. Šešelj has already served the punishment.

Serbia: UN court speaks to nationalist Šešelj guilty

More than 25 years after Balkan War, Serbian Ultranationalist Vojislav Šešelj was guilty of being convicted by UN tribunal in appeal proceedings and sentenced to ten years in prison for crimes against humanity. The judges raised acquittal of first instance of 2016 in The Hague. Šešelj, who himself was not present at sentencing, does not have to go back to prison. The penalty is shorter than pre-served detention.

The 63-year-old politician was considered one of worst war drivers in Balkans in 1990s. At first instance, indictment had called for 28 years in prison. But judges of UN tribunal surprisingly acquitted him in all charges in 2016. The decision shocked people of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. But this was also an incomprehensible judgement for many lawyers. Accuser Mathias Marcusen spoke before court of a "grave misjudgment".

The previous war crimes Tribunal for former Yugoslavia had completed its work at end of 2017. The appeals procedure in Šešelj case took over so-called successor mechanism for UN tribunals. The judges now partially raised 2016 verdict and saw guilt in three out of nine counts as proven to be beyond doubt. The nationalist provoked violent acts with hateful propaganda against Croats and Muslims. "His speech of 6 May 1992 spiked to deportation, persecution, expulsion and or inhumane acts against non-Serbian population," said chairman Judge Theodore Meron. But accusation of war crimes also freed judges Šešelj for lack of evidence.

Šešelj threatened UN court

Šešelj had been detained in custody in 2003 and was temporarily released from prison for a cancer after eleven years. He had refused any involvement in appeals procedure. "I'm going to kill myself in front of TV cameras when I'm brought back to The Hague. I'm not going to volunteer. You have to take me in chains, "said politician.

Šešelj insulted UN tribunal even after announcement of 2016 judgment: it was "an anti-Serbian court in hands of Western powers," he said in Belgrade. "It has no legal meaning whatsoever." He said that he would demand compensation of 14 million euros for his custody of UN tribunal.

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