UN court sentences ultra-nationalist Serb Seselj to ten years | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 11.04.2018
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UN court sentences ultra-nationalist Serb Seselj to ten years

A defiant Vojislav Seselj proclaimed that he would be "ready to repeat" his crimes in the future. The politician will be able to walk free after the verdict due to time already served.

A UN war crimes court sentenced Serbian ultra-nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj to ten years in prison on Wednesday, partially overturning an earlier acquittal.

Seselj had previously spent over a decade on trial over his involvement in ethnic cleansing during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Seselj said he was "proud" of what he had done and that he "didn't care" about the ruling, in comments made Wednesday to French news agency AFP and the Associated Press. He said of his crimes that he was "ready to repeat them in the future."

The 63-year-old has been accused of torture, persecution, forcible displacement, and of leading the "White Eagles" paramilitary group that carried out ethnic cleansing against Croat communities.

12 years in custody

But because he spent nearly 12 years in custody between 2003 and 2014 before ultimately being acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Seselj remains a free man after the ruling, due to time served.

Prosecutors had been seeking a 28-year sentence, saying that his original acquittal had damaged the legacy of the ICTY.

The latest case revolved around a single speech Seselj gave on May 6, 1992, near the Serbian village of Hrtkovci on the Croatian border, in which he reportedly incited hatred and violence against Croats and their alleged sympathizers.

Amnesty International Europe Director Gauri van Gulik hailed the ruling as "a welcome development which delivers long-delayed justice to thousands of victims of the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia."

es/jm (AP, AFP)

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