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Date Set for Seselj Trial

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo (TU No 518, 21-Sep-07)
By IWPR
The Hague tribunal announced this week that the trial of Serbian ultra-nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj will start on November 7.



Proceedings in his case began almost a year ago, but were suspended due to Seselj’s four-week long hunger strike, which seriously affected his health.



The judges then annulled all previous proceedings and decided that a new trial will begin when the accused is well enough to be present in court.



Seselj faces 14 counts of war crimes, including the persecution, imprisonment and murder of non-Serbs during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia in the period 1991-95.



He surrendered voluntarily to the Hague tribunal in 2003, pleading not guilty to all charges in the indictment against him.



On many occasions, Seselj said he didn’t recognise the tribunal and used every opportunity he had to mock the court.



He has also routinely disrupted pre-trial proceedings, insulting judges and refusing to cooperate with lawyers assigned to him by the tribunal.



After his hunger strike in November 2006, Seselj won the right to defend himself in court.



Judge Jean-Claude Antoanetti announced on September 18 that the prosecution will present its opening statement on November 7, and the first prosecution witnesses should be called to testify a week later.



The trial chamber will sit only three days a week, so that Seselj can prepare his defence. According to Judge Antonetti, the whole trial should end in about a year.



Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s tribunal programme manager.

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