ICTY orders revocation of Seselj’s provisional release

07 April 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, Belgrade (Serbia)

The Yugoslavia tribunal announced a new twist in its drawn-out case against Vojislav Seselj, when the appeals chamber ordered the trial chamber to revoke the provisional release of the firebrand Serbian politician. But it is unclear how the court might be able secure his return.

Supporters await the arrival of Vojislav Seselj at Belgrade airport after his provisional release in November 2014 (Photo: Joost van Egmond)
Image caption: 
Supporters await the arrival of Vojislav Seselj at Belgrade airport after his provisional release in November 2014 (Photo: Joost van Egmond)

In November, when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) released Seselj on health grounds, it took a leap of faith, having sought no assurances from the accused that he would go back when summoned. Serbia, as a host country, only consented to guarantee assurances agreed upon by the accused.

On arrival to Serbia, Seselj, reportedly battling cancer, immediately said he would not return voluntarily [IJT-171].

The ICTY appeals chamber last week ruled that such statements meant the trial chamber could no longer be satisfied the accused would appear for trial, one of the conditions for his provisional release.

So far, judges have taken no action to revoke the release or to issue an order for Seselj to return to the UN detention unit.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is even less keen on the prospect of a potential arrest, should Seselj refuse to travel back to The Hague of his own accord. The ICTY is deeply unpopular in Serbia, where it is seen as biased.

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