World News

Seselj found guilty on appeal, sentenced to 10 years in jail

Seselj found guilty on appeal, sentenced to 10 years in jail

A court in The Hague, Netherlands, partially overturned Seselj's 2016 acquittal Wednesday and convicted him of war crimes during the Balkan war in the 1990s.

United Nations judges today found radical Serb Vojislav Seselj guilty on appeal of crimes against humanity, but the firebrand politician will remain a free man because of time already served behind bars.

Seselj has described the ruling as "illegal".

He adds he is "proud of all the war crimes and crimes against humanity that were attributed to me, and I am ready to repeat them in the future". The appeals judges sharply condemned however what they called Seselj's "inflammatory words" which they said "substantially contributed" to the persecution and deportations of non-Serbs, including Croats and Bosnian Muslims.

"Today's decision is a welcome development which delivers long-delayed justice to thousands of victims of the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia".

The MICT Appeals Chamber sentenced him to ten years' imprisonment and counted the time he had spent in the ICTY's detention against the sentence, which is 11 and a half years, so Šešelj will not have to go back to prison.

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But appeals judges in a special chamber to handle outstanding ICTY cases ruled that Seselj was criminally responsible because of a speech he gave in Hrtkovci, Serbia, in May 1992, for "instigating deportation (and) persecution ... as crimes against humanity". Judges on Wednesday sentenced him to 10 years in prison, which he had already served while in custody.

Amnesty International says "it is now vital that the national courts step up their efforts to bring remaining perpetrators to justice".

A United Nations war crimes court on Wednesday overturned an acquittal of Serbian politician Vojislav Šešelj on charges of persecution and inhumane acts, but the ultra-nationalist said he remained proud of what he did. He was given permission in 2014 to return to Serbia for cancer treatment.

Seselj, accused of persecution, torture and murder throughout the prior Yugoslavia's bloody conflict at the nineties, was acquitted in 2016 of nine war offenses and crimes against humanity charges.

"The Government of the Republic of Croatia will continue to promote the truth about the Homeland War and the role of all those who in any way participated in committing war crimes during the aggression against the Republic of Croatia and will persist in demanding their punishment", the press release said.


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