vojislav seselj.jpg
Photograph: HINA

Serbia will request that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) postpones the announcement of a verdict against wartime Serbian radical leader Vojislav Seselj, set for 31 March, so as to wait for the completion of the election process in the country, according to the Belgrade press.

The Serbian government will present thorough arguments against the handover of Seselj during the election campaign, the Belgrade-based Vecernje Novosti reported, quoting sources from the state leadership that spoke on condition of anonymity. 

The Hague-based UN tribunal will deliver a verdict for Serbian Radical Party leader Seselj in The Hague on March 31, according to a recent press release issued by the tribunal. The ICTY ordered the Serbian authorities to take all the necessary measures to make sure that Seselj attend the hearing. Serbia was given until March 15 to inform the tribunal of any possible difficulties in the execution of the order.

The ICTY tried Seselj for the persecution of non-Serbs on political, racial and religious grounds, deportation, inhumane treatment and crimes against humanity against Croats and Bosniaks in Croatia, the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1991 to 1993.

Seselj surrendered to the ICTY on 24 March 2003. The ICTY provisionally released him in 2014 due to illness. Upon coming to Serbia, he said he was not running away but that he would not voluntarily go back to The Hague.

Recently he reiterated that he would not voluntarily go to The Hague and that the ICTY "doesn't interest" him, while Serbian officials have said that the ICTY has brought the Seselj case "to an absurd level and is now looking for a way out."

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