UN tribunal acquits Vojislav Seselj of war crimes in the Balkans
Seselj was accused of having “directly committed, incited, aided and abetted those crimes and to have been part of their commission through his participation in a joint criminal enterprise,” according to the trial judgement.
He had faced three counts of crimes against humanity, including persecution, deportation and inhumane act of forcible transfer, and six counts of war crimes, which comprise of murder, torture and cruel treatment, and destruction, among others.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) cleared Seselj of all the charges but the decision was not unanimous.
The Majority, led by presiding Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, found that the Prosecution had failed to prove the existence of a criminal purpose, which is required to convict someone of participation in a joint criminal enterprise.
In her partially dissenting opinion , Judge Fkavua Lattanzi wrote that that the Majority failed to take into consideration the climate of intimidation to which Seselj subjected the witnesses, and claimed that there was “ample evidence” that a joint criminal enterprise existed with the purpose to force the non-Serbs, through the perpetration of crimes, to leave parts of the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
Reacting to the verdict, the Prosecutor in the case, Serge Brammertz told UN Radio Russian that the acquittal would upset some people but please others.
“We see, that the circumstances which led to the creation of the Tribunal, are increasingly viewed with nationalistic and politicized positions,” he said.
The parties have a right to appeal the verdict.
The Court's decision comes one week after the conviction of Radovan KaradÅ¾iæ, on charges related to genocide in the area of Srebrenica in 1995, of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts (forcible transfer), terror, unlawful attacks on civilians and hostage-taking.