In his testimony in Karadzic’s defense Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj said that before the war he supported the policy of the Serbian Democratic Party. Seselj said that his threat to the ‘Muslim fundamentalists’ that they could ‘pack their bags’ and leave Bosnia if they didn’t want to be ‘loyal citizens of Serbia’ was still valid

Vojislav Seselj, defence witness of Radovan KaradzicVojislav Seselj, defence witness of Radovan Karadzic

Vojislav Seselj today appeared in the courtroom in The Hague for the first time since June 2012 when he received his third, two-year sentence, for contempt of court. This time Seselj was in the witness stand; he was called to testify in the defense of his fellow detainee, former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic.

After greeting each other warmly, with an emphasis on their doctor’s titles, Karadzic read out the summary of Seselj’s statement. Seselj stated that the Serbian Radical Party volunteers participated in the fighting in Bijeljina and Zvornik, and later in the fighting on the Sarajevo front. Seselj contends that apart from the fact that one of his warlords, Branislav Gavrilovic Brne, ‘was a bit undisciplined’, none of his volunteers was involved in any crimes.

As Seselj said, he saw Karadzic several times a year during the war. Seselj agreed with Karadzic but not always and not in all things. He claimed that the allegation about their involvement in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at expelling non-Serbs from BH was not true: Karadzic never advocated such a thing.

In the cross-examination, prosecutor Tieger first noted that Seselj and Karadzic were (pre)war allies and then highlighted the witness’s extremist views. The prosecutor showed Seselj’s interview dated 24 May 1991. In the interview, Seselj says that the Serbian Radicals support Karadzic, ‘the Serb nation’s true leader’ who enjoys ‘Serbs’ undivided trust’. Seselj threatened that his men would carry out sabotage attacks in Zagreb and other Croatian towns if Serbs were attacked. ‘Inevitably there would be innocent victims’ in such attacks, Seselj said. As the interview continues, he conveys a message to the ‘Muslim fundamentalists’ in BH: Bosnia belongs to Serbs. Muslims could stay, Seselj said, only as ‘loyal citizens of Serbia’. If not, they could ‘pack their bags and leave’.

Seselj didn’t bother to hide his extremist views, saying that his ‘threats were still valid today’. He then trotted out his well-worn argument that the population of BH consisted of Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox Serbs. He advocated the ‘unity of the Serb ethnic corpus regardless of the religion’. Paradoxically enough, in the summary of the statement that Karadzic had read out previously, Seselj said that he and his party advocated the respect of the human rights of ‘all ethnic minorities’.

Vojislav Seselj is awaiting judgment on the indictment for the crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia, Vojvodina and BH. The judgment is due on 30 October 2013. Seselj has been convicted of contempt of court for disclosing confidential identity of protected prosecution witness and for refusing to remove the data from his website and has been sentenced to 15, 18 and 24 months in three separate trials. The sentences have been upheld on appeal.

The Serbian Radical Party leader continues his evidence at Karadzic’s trial on Monday.