Serbia says will not transfer Seselj's associates to ICTY

Serbia on Wednesday notified the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that conditions for the handover of three senior officials of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) had not been met, and Serbian media estimate that the decision will reinforce Croatia's position to block the opening of the policy chapter No. 23 in Serbia's EU accession talks.

The High Court in Belgrade on Wednesday ruled that conditions for the arrest of Petar Jojic, Vjerica Radeta and Jovo Ostojic had not been met. The UN tribunal in The Hague has been demanding their transfer for more than a year so as to prevent them from tampering with witnesses in the war crimes case against SRS leader Vojislav Seselj.

The Belgrade media have said that the decision would reinforce Croatia's decision to block the opening of the policy chapter 23, which concerns judiciary and fundamental rights, over Serbia's non-cooperation with the Hague tribunal.

Croatia has said that Serbia must meet three conditions for the opening of the said chapter, one of them being cooperation with the ICTY.

The Belgrade media said the ruling of the Belgrade court was a first-instance decision and that a second-instance ruling was expected next week.

The ICTY prosecution has accused Radeta, Jojic and Ostojic of pressuring two prosecution witnesses to have them testify in Seselj's favour.

Seselj was recently acquitted pending appeal of all charges of war crimes committed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s war as well as of the charge of expulsion of ethnic Croats from Vojvodina.

The ICTY prosecutor's office has said that it will appeal against the ruling and ask that Seselj be found guilty or that his verdict be quashed in its entirety and a retrial ordered.

Last update: Thu, 19/05/2016 - 12:28
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