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Seselj defies UN's order to return to The Hague

Serbian ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj says he will appeal under Serbian law to defy an order from the UN war crimes court that he return to The Hague. Seselj was allowed home last year for cancer treatment.

Seselj said on Thursday in Belgrade that he had no intention of returning voluntarily to the UN tribunal which accuses him of recruiting paramilitary forces during the Balkans wars.

His forces were notorious for atrocities against other ethnic groups during ex-Yugoslavia's 1990's conflicts. He surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2003 and went on trial four years later.

He pleaded not guilty on nine counts. Verdicts have been repeatedly delayed.

The Hague-based court released him temporarily last November on humanitarian grounds on the condition that he would return, if summoned.

Nationalist rhetoric

Since his release, Seselj

resumed nationalist rhetoric

in his home country and lashed out verbally against the tribunal.

On Tuesday, Serbia's justice ministry said it had received a UN court order to send back the ailing ultranationalist.

Serbian cooperation with the UN tribunal has long been a key condition before the country can begin formal talks on accession to the EU.

His Serbian Radical Party said he underwent surgery early this month. Seselj's doctors have said that he has colon cancer that has spread to his liver.

ipj/msh (AFP, AP)

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