The day before yesterday, Serbian Radicals’ leader Vojislav Seselj refused to be examined by a cardiologist, objecting to the doctor’s nationality. In a report to the Trial Chamber, the ICTY Registrar warned ‘it cannot endorse such discrimination by an accused person’

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

In line with the Trial Chamber’s instructions, the ICTY Registry appointed in early 2011 a three-member medical panel to examine Vojislav Seselj. Seselj has often complained about his health problems and the treatment he has received from Dutch doctors. The examination could not be carried out in full because the accused refused to cooperate with a doctor whose nationality was a problem for him.

The first doctor, an endocrinologist, examined Seselj in the UN Detention Unit on 17 and 18 February 2011. A cardiologic exam was scheduled for 14 March 2011. The accused refused the second expert examination because he didn’t like the doctor’s nationality. Seselj communicated this refusal directly to the doctor when he came to see Seselj in the Detention Unit. In his report to the Trial chamber, the Registrar stated that the Serbian Radicals’ leader had not objected to the three- member panel previously, although he had known the names and ethnicity of the doctors from February 2011. The Registrar’s report didn’t actually specify the cardiologist’s ethnicity.

Saying that respect for the diversity is one of the key values of the United Nations, the Registrar added that “it cannot endorse such discrimination by an accused person”. The Registry stated that “no assignment of another cardiologist is envisaged at this point in time’, unless the Trial Chamber directs it otherwise.

The third expert examination of the accused is to be performed in late March 2011 by a

pulmonologist. It remains to be seen if the Serbian Radicals’ leader will consider the ethnicity of the doctor more important than his own health again.

Vojislav Seselj is charged with crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia, Vojvodina and BH. The Trial Chamber is currently considering Seselj’s motion for his acquittal after the prosecution rested the case. Seselj contends that the prosecution has failed to call evidence that could lead to his conviction.