‘Serb nationalist Seselj’s acquittal – extremely rare case for the Hague’

Serbian nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj (C) arrives for a news conference in his Radical party headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia, March 31, 2016. © Stringer
The acquittal of former Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Vojislav Seselj on war crimes is a big surprise as the Hague Tribunal has released many who killed Serbs while jailing Serbs for similar crimes, says Serbian activist and film maker Boris Malagurski.

Cleared of all charges after over a decade in detention, the UN tribunal in The Hague has found the former Serbian Deputy Prime minister Vojislav Seselj not guilty of committing atrocities during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s.

RT: What are your thoughts on today's verdict? Do you expect the prosecution to appeal?

Boris Malagurski: I think what makes this case interesting is that a Serb was declared innocent - which is an extremely rare case for the Hague Tribunal. This is a court that has released the Croatian general Ante Gotovina who was in charge of the largest single act of ethnic cleansing during the Yugoslav war’s Operation Storm which saw a quarter of a million Serbs ethnically cleansed from the Krajina region in Croatia. The court released Naser Oric, the Bosnian Muslim commander who was accused of killing Serbs in a village in Srebrenica… On the other hand, The Hague has sentenced countless Serbs to jail time; most recently - former Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in jail. So, Seselj’s release really comes as a big surprise to many.

RT: Do you expect the prosecution to appeal?

BM: Absolutely but I don’t think that the verdict will change. I think Seselj was pretty clear in a stance regarding the Hague Tribunal – he is not going back…it has been a nightmare for the Hague Tribunal, he has regularly ridiculed the tribunal and those working in it…But ultimately, his greatest achievement was to show that the Hague Tribunal was a political tribunal that has little to do with justice. Seselj showed that the way the prosecution presented the story of the breakup of Yugoslavia and the way in which the Serbian entities were formed, was in essence false. Seselj argued that the way the breakup started was different than the mainstream story, that the formation of the Serbian entities wasn’t criminal and the court agreed.

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