NO PROVISIONAL RELEASE ON TRIBUNAL'S TERMS FOR SESELJ
In his response to the Trial Chamber’s invitation to state whether he should be granted provisional release pending his judgment in his case (Seselj has not petitioned the judges to release him), the Serbian Radical Party leader forewarned the judges: if he is granted provisional release he will not comply the rules. He will not report regularly to the police, he will not wear "collars, bracelets or anklets". Seselj also made it clear that he would appear in the media and at public rallies where he would ‘criticize the Tribunal in The Hague as an illegal international court’
In his motion to the Tribunal, Vojislav Seselj didn’t state in unequivocal terms that he would oppose the Trial Chamber's decision to grant him provisional release, if it is issued. However, Seselj did warn the judges that he would not comply with the rules that govern provisional release in similar cases. On 13 June 2014, the Trial Chamber invited the parties to answer the question whether the accused should be granted provisional release pending his judgment. The judgment is not likely to be handed down soon because the new judge Niang must first familiarize himself with the case in order to be able to join the other judges as they deliberate. Judge Niang has been appointed to replace Judge Harhoff, after the Danish judge was disqualified from the Trial Chamber because of his alleged bias.
In his response, Seselj has warned the Trial Chamber that the only restriction he will observe during his provisional release is not leaving the territory of the Republic of Serbia. He will not report regularly to the police, nor wear "collars, bracelets or anklets that offend human dignity". Seselj has also indicated he will not comply with the prohibition on public appearances: he will take part in Serbia’s political life, appear at public rallies and in TV shows. Seselj has also said he will ‘publicly criticize the Tribunal in The Hague as an illegal international court’.
One of the reasons why the Serbian Radical leader has not petitioned the judges to grant provisional release in the 11 years of his detention in The Hague is his refusal to apply for the guarantees from the government: Seselj considers the parties that have ruled Serbia as traitors. Without such guarantees, the Tribunal cannot grant provisional release. In this case the Trial Chamber would be willing to provisionally release Seselj on its own initiative, despite the fact that he hasn’t asked for it. This means that the judges would have to make sure they receive guarantees from Serbia. In his motion Seselj stresses that he ‘reject[s] with disgust any guarantee from the treasonous pro-Western government in Belgrade’, despite the fact that his fellow fighters and close friends are currently in power.
In the document, the accused expresses his dissatisfaction with the fact that the last status conference in his case was held more than 120 days ago, which violates the rules. Seselj is also unhappy with the fact that no decision has been made to end his detention or even discuss this issue within the time limits required by international customary law. In Seselj’s view, the Trial Chamber is obliged to re-consider the decision on detention at regular intervals and "immediately adopt a decision to end it when the reasons ceased to exist.
The Serbian Radical Party leader has made it clear to the judges that if he is granted provisional release he will not comply with the Tribunal’s current practice. It remains to be seen if the Trial Chamber will grant Seselj provisional release in spite of his attitude. Before the Trial Chamber issues the decision, the prosecution must submit their answer to the same question. The Trial Chamber comprises the new judge Niang and judges Lattanzi and Antonetti, who is the presiding judge.
- Case : Seselj
- 2014-06-16 WILL SESELJ BE GRANTED PROVISIONAL RELEASE PENDING JUDGMENT?
- 2014-06-06 JUDGES DENY SESELJ'S DEMAND FOR HIS TRIAL TO END
- 2014-02-14 APPEALS CHAMBER TO RULE ON SESELJ’S MOTION TO TERMINATE PROCEEDINGS
- 2014-06-20 PROSECUTOR ON SESELJ’S PROVISIONAL RELEASE
- 2014-06-24 CHAMBER SEEKS GUARANTEES FROM SERBIA FOR SESELJ
- 2014-07-02 SESELJ’S PRICE LIST OF ‘GROUNDLESS DETENTION’