The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced on Wednesday that its verdict in the trial of Vojislav Seselj would be handed down March 31, at 1000 CET, even if the defendant is not present in court, inviting Seselj to inform the UN court in writing by March 22 whether he wishes to follow the sentencing hearing from Belgrade, via videolink.
Explaining the decision, the ICTY said that the verdict will be announced despite the absence of the accused, not because his presence is not required, but because he refuses to attend and because Serbian authorities are not applying adequate means to ensure his attendance at the sentencing hearing.
Seselj, who heads the Serb Radical Party (SRS), is accused of committing war crimes from 1991 to 1993. He was granted provisional release for health reasons on November 6, 2014, after spending more than 11 years in the ICTY detention unit.
Reacting to the announcement from The Hague, Seselj said he expected the tribunal to issue the decision in the Serbian language and that he would not comment on it until he receives the decision in writing and in Serbian.