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Seselj to Testify in Karadzic Trial

Summary of his evidence says he will say Bosnian Serb leader was not "antagonistic" towards Muslims and Croats.
By Rachel Irwin

Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj will appear before the Hague tribunal in June to testify on behalf of wartime Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic.

The judgement in Seselj’s own war crimes trial is due in October.

According to a short summary of his statement provided by the Karadzic defence, Seselj will testify that Karadzic did not have an “antagonistic” attitude towards Muslims and Croats.

“The allegation that he and Dr Karadzic participated in a joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat inhabitants from Bosnian Serb territory is false,” the summary of Seselj’s evidence states.

Karadzic, who represents himself in the courtroom, is accused of responsibility for crimes of genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and forcible transfer which "contributed to achieving the objective of the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory".

He is accused of planning and overseeing the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left nearly 12,000 people dead, as well as the massacre of more than 7,000 men and boys at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in July 2008 after 13 years on the run. His defence case began in October 2012.

Seselj, who has been in detention in The Hague since 2003, has become known for his pledge to “destroy” the tribunal.

He is charged with nine counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity – including murder, torture and forcible transfer – for atrocities carried out in an effort to expel non-Serbs from parts of Croatia and Bosnia between August 1991 and September 1993. He is further accused of giving numerous inflammatory speeches and recruiting a force of volunteers who murdered, raped and tortured non-Serbs in both Croatia and Bosnia.

His trial took years to complete, and during closing arguments in March 2012, he lashed out once again at judges and the prosecution.

“I am morally and intellectually stronger than you. There is no remedy against me. You can only kill me, but even if you do that, my grave will continue to fight against you,” Seselj said. (See Seselj Defiant in Closing Arguments.)

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