Before taking their decision on the Appeals Chamber’s order to bring Vojislav Seselj back to The Hague ‘immediately’, the judges in the Trial Chamber want the Serb medical doctors to provide them with the latest reports on the medical treatment of the accused

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

The Trial Chamber led by the French judge Antonetti is in no rush to order the accused Vojislav Seselj to return to the Tribunal’s Detention Unit.

Almost two weeks ago, the Appeal Chamber ordered the Trial Chamber to ‘immediately reverse’ its order which allowed the Serbian Radical Party leader to be released provisionally. Seselj was to be ordered to return to The Hague as soon as possible. Now the Trial Chamber has asked the Tribunal’s Registrar to contact the medical team treating Seselj in Belgrade to ask them to submit as soon as possible the latest reports on the health of the accused. The decision was disclosed this afternoon, on the eve of the Orthodox Easter. As the feast is celebrated over several days, it is not likely that Belgrade will treat the matter as urgent.

The Registry has in a way anticipated this move. As soon as the Registry received the Trial Chamber’s order, deputy registrar Kate Mackintosh stated that neither the Registry nor the medical staff in the UN Detention Unit had had any contacts with the Serb medical doctors who are treating Seselj. Moreover, the Registry explained in their reply, the Serb medical doctors Seselj consulted in October 2014 never informed the Detention Unit’s medical staff about the outcome of those consultations, despite the fact that they were bound to do so in line with Article 31 C of the Rules of Detention.

The Trial Chamber wants the latest information on Seselj’s health because it is concerned that if Seselj were to be brought to The Hague hastily, his medical treatment may be compromised. Therapy was indeed one of the main reasons why Seselj was granted provisional release in the first place. The deputy registrar notified the judges that both internal and external control mechanisms had revealed that the Serbian Radical Party leader had access to the best medical care in the Detention Unit. If and when the accused returns to The Hague, he will again be provided with top-notch care, the deputy registrar assured the Trial Chamber.