vojislav seselj.jpg
Photograph: HINA

Serbian Radical Party (SRS) leader and International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indictee Vojislav Seselj on Thursday confirmed that proceedings had been launched for him to be extradited to the ICTY and that he would respect court procedure in Serbia but that he would not return to The Hague voluntarily.

Speaking at a SRS press conference, Seselj said that he had been served with a subpoena to appear as an accused before the High Court in Belgrade on March 10 on orders from the ICTY Appeals Chamber.

"I will respond to the subpoena. I won't run or hide but I won't voluntarily go to The Hague. I will refer to the European convention on human rights, the right to an equitable trial, the right to a trial in a reasonable time frame and the right to defend myself," Seselj told reporters.

The ICTY had previously requested authorities in Serbia to ensure Seselj's attendance at the reading of the verdict scheduled for March 31.

Seseslj underscored that should Aleksandar Vucic's government decide to extradite him to The Hague, he would passively resist and that regardless of those circumstances, his party would run in the extraordinary parliamentary election which is expected to be held on April 24.

"I believe that Aleksandar Vucic is having hard time because he is aware what it would mean if I were to be extradited to The Hague. That would be a smear on him, ranking him alongside (Boris) Tadic, (Vojislav) Kostunica, (Zoran) Djindjic, (Zoranom) Zivkovic and all those others who extradited Serbs to The Hague," Seselj said.

Seselj surrended to the ICTY on 24 March 2003 and was tried for the expulsion of non-Serbs based on political, racial and religious grounds, deportation and inhumane behaviour and crimes against humanity against Croats and Bosniaks in Croatia, Vojvodina and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s.

Seselj was in the ICTY detention unit until November 2014, when he was provisionally released due to ill health on the condition that Serbia deliver him to The Hague for the reading of the verdict.

In the meantime, after intensive therapy, in mid-January 2015 Seselj claimed that his liver cancer had subsided and that he was now "the healthiest person on the Serbian political scene."

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