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Seselj Judgement Cancelled

Move follows disqualification of one of the judges hearing long-running case.
By Rachel Irwin

Judgement in the trial of Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj was officially cancelled this week following the disqualification of one of the judges on the case.

Presiding Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti cancelled the October 30 judgement, but he noted that Danish Judge Frederik Harhoff had asked the panel to reconsider their decision to disqualify him, and a ruling on that issue is still pending. (For more, see Judge Queries Disqualification From Seselj Case)

The judgement could thus be rescheduled if the panel rules favourably. If not, the options could include assigning a new judge to the case or throwing out the case in its entirety. (For more, see Uncertainty Over Seselj Case After Judge's Removal.)

Seselj  was tried on nine counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, for atrocities carried out in an effort to expel non-Serbs from parts of Croatia and Bosnia between August 1991 and September 1993.

He has been in custody for ten years. His trial was supposed to start in 2006, but it was postponed for nearly a year after he went on hunger strike. When proceedings finally got under way in November 2007, they were delayed for long periods at a time.

Simultaneously, Seselj has been tried and convicted of contempt of court three times for revealing personal details of protected witnesses.

Closing arguments in his war crimes trial were held in March 2012.

Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s Senior Reporter in The Hague.