Not challenging the right of the accused to defend himself as he sees fit, the presiding judge warns Seselj today on behalf of the Trial Chamber that he is using ‘suicidal tactics’. The accused replies that no lawyer at the Tribunal defends his client better than he does

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

Yesterday, Seselj renounced the Vuckovic brothers, describing Dusan Vuckovic a/k/a Repic as ‘a pathological murderer’ and his brother Vojin a/k/a Zuca as an outlaw and a criminal who offered to the Green Berets to surrender the front line in the Zvornik area held by his ‘Yellow Wasps’ to them for DM 500,000. Today Seselj ‘rehabilitated’ one of the Vuckovic brothers in an effort to discredit the prosecution witness Asim Alic, former police officer from Zvornik.

Seselj quoted at length from the statement he received yesterday from Vojin Vuckovic Zuca from Belgrade. Vuckovic described Alic’s evidence as a ‘blatant lie’. He admitted that in the night of 7 April 1992 when they were arrested in Zvornik he and his brother carried two ID cards. One was issued by the Serbian Chetnik Movement – according Alic this was proof that the Vuckovic brothers belonged to the Serbian Radical Party. The other was given to them by Arkan, and it was used to buy petrol at his service station in Belgrade

Noting that ‘it was in the interest of that gentleman to lie’ while it was in his ‘interest to tell the truth’, Alic stuck to his claim that the Serbian Radical Party ID cards were found on the Vuckovic brothers.

In his statement, Vuckovic went on to say that the Yellow Wasps unit – whose members perpetrated some of the crimes Seselj is charged with – had nothing to do with the Serbian Radical Party and its leader. Seselj didn’t read out the names of the parties Zuca was member because he ‘didn’t want to embarrass other parties’, as he put it. However, the document was shown on the overhead projector and it said that Vojin Vuckovic was first a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia and then of General Perisic’s Movement for a Democratic Serbia.

Seselj today quoted statements he received from former JNA colonel Radovan Tacic and police officer Milivoj Dukic. They both contested details from Alic’s evidence. Alic rejected their remarks, standing by what he had said in his examination-in chief.

Most of the hearing was spent in the debate about Seselj’s cross-examination of the witness and his persistence on the ‘historical context’ and the crimes perpetrated by other sides. The presiding judge told the accused that it was ‘his right’ to conduct his defense as he sees fit, but warned him that he used ‘suicidal tactics’. Seselj disagreed, saying that he could assure the judges that ‘no lawyer at the Tribunal defends his client better than he does.

After Alic completed his testimony, the prosecution called its next witness, Andras Riedlmayer. Riedlmayer, an expert for the Ottoman cultural heritage in the Balkans, was asked by the prosecution to draft an expert report on the destruction of religious and cultural heritage during the war in BH. Riedlmayer only had time to introduce himself today, his examination-in chief will start tomorrow.