When Humanitarian Reasons Exclude Human Rights For Victims Of Indicted Serb War Crimes

Indicted Serb war criminal Vojislav Seselj at The Hague

Indicted Serb war criminal
Vojislav Seselj at The Hague


The United Nations war crimes tribunal ICTY in The Hague has Thursday 6 November ordered a temporary release of ailing Serbian ultra-nationalist leader and war crimes indicted Vojislav Seselj (for war crimes committed in large parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Vojvodina part of Serbia between 1991 and 1994 against the non-Serb population  ) for “compelling humanitarian reasons.” The war crimes court said that Seselj should return to Serbia “to receive treatment in the most suitable environment.”
Seselj had surgery for colon cancer last year, and the recent visit by Serbian doctors to his Hague cell resulted in their public disclosure that his cancer had spread to his liver.
Seselj surrendered in 2003 on ground of “fighting for Serbian interests” – he said at the time. There had been numerous delays in his trial due to his repeated obstructions to the court trial process (Seselj has insisted on representing himself in the trial) and to top it all off, a dispute among judges in 2013 led to one of the judges’ ( Judge Frederick Harhoff ) being disqualified and replaced. This replacement in October 2013 has meant that instead of a judgment being delivered in the case the new judge Mandiaye Niang has needed and still needs time, it seems, to familiarise himself with the case, whose trial hearing had drawn to the stage of closing arguments way back in March 2012 and Judgment was expected in October 2013.
Seselj is also charged with inciting others to commit war crimes in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s by creating a militia and sending its members off with incendiary speeches. He appeared at the time in Serbian parliament time after time maintaining hate-filled speech against non-Serbs (Croats and Bosniaks mainly) and urging for the creation of Greater Serbia, which thrust horrendously brutal winds into ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs of much of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s. During the Serb-aggression against Croatia Seselj evilly insisted in his public speeches that “the eyes of every Croat must be dug out with a rusted spoon” (!).
His judges proposed this year that he could await his verdict in Serbia, but Seselj refused, saying he would not abide by court rules to remain under house arrest and avoid political activities (despite being in prison since 2003 he remained and is the leader of the Serbian Radical Party). Moreover, he has been demanding that the war crimes tribunal pay him 12 million euros (about US$15 million) for trial costs and damages (the Hague chamber dismissed the demand).
While in The Hague, Seselj has been tried and convicted of contempt of court three times for revealing the personal details of protected witnesses.
Regardless of the serious medical diagnosis, Serbian media report that Seselj has no intention of using the temporary release from the war crimes tribunal’s jail for medical treatments but has announced his threat of revenge.
If I come to Serbia at all I will not be engaging in medical treatment but will turn all my energy into revenge”, said Seselj, as reported by Serbian news portal Blic.

It’s unclear as to whom or where Seselj’s threats of revenge are directed but one may expect to find out once he lands in Belgrade and starts addressing the Serbian public. One can expect a stirring of the Greater Serbia ideas into some kind of frenzy in the efforts to once again glorify the genocide committed by Serbs in early 1990’s in the name of Greater Serbia. The disquieting question as to why the ICTY is taking so long to deliver its judgment on the trial against Seselj is on many a lip across the world right now.

The Croats of Vukovar, in Croatia – where Seselj’s politics of Greater Serbia left the city devastated and many murdered, maimed and raped victims still without justice. 18th November 2014 will mark the 23rd anniversary of the fall of Vukovar and mass murders committed against Croats, mass rapes and mass destruction. To Vukovar, Seselj is considered a war criminal and in light of his temporary release from The Hague, pending a judgment, this year’s commemoration is destined to bring about a bitter taste of devastating disappointment and confusion with the international war crimes tribunal justice system. One assumes that The Hague does not want another prisoner to die on its premises, awaiting judgment. In many ways the decision by the court to release Seselj is arguably understandable on humanitarian grounds, however the same decision has left the world not knowing, for now, whether the tribunal thinks he is guilty or innocent of the charges against him. Furthermore, there has been no kind of “action plan” released by the tribunal regarding a delivery of judgment and this is truly confusing and utterly unfair to the victims.

As to reactions to Seselj’s temporary release the vice-president of the Serbian Radical Party (to which Seselj is still the president), Milorad Mircic, has stated for the Serbian media the following: “If life in Serbia was better we would welcome Seselj as a victim. However, since we live in misery and squalor he will be the only hope and straw of salvation to take us out of this swamp into which Aleksandar Vucic and Tomislav Nikolic have taken us with galloping speed”.

While the war crimes tribunal in The Hague may have had the best, and praiseworthy, humanitarian reasons for temporarily releasing a reportedly very ill man from its prison, pending judgment from the protracted trial, one finds it difficult to accept or understand why the treatment for cancer could not have continued in Netherlands – such a move would have also satisfied the victims’ human rights to justice, which includes medical treatments under the jurisdiction of the country in which the criminal court is located.

Judging by his threats of revenge, receiving medical treatment seems to be the last thing on Seselj’s and his Serbian Radical Party’s mind. And the first thing on the victims of Serb aggression and genocide minds leaves no room for speculation: yet again, they have been left at the mercy of everything else except transparent and true justice. They are left in confusion and disrespect by the very institution set up to deliver justice for them: surely, the victims are more interested in the war tribunal’s plan for the delivery of the judgment than in the place of Seselj’s medical treatment! They deserve to know when the war crimes tribunal plans to publish a judgment, regardless of what that judgment might be. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. I saw this travel program about the city of Split! I thought of you.. Nice place.. A PBS show…

  2. So tragic. So sad.

  3. Something tells me the Tribunal wishes he WOULD die in Serbia so that they don’t have to bring down a judgement….

  4. therealamericro says:

    The fix is in.

    Seselj was under the direct command and control of Stanisic and Simatovic – they provided him the arms, supplies, and operational plans. He was the Chetnik face of the Chetnik-Partizan aggression against Croatia.

    Being that Stanisic and Simatovic saw the writing on the wall after Milosevic’s promise of “two weeks” to Baker was not fulfilled, and the YPA and VRSK ended up in high heels and sun dresses in the late summer, fall and winter of 1991, and B&H, thanks to the HVO alone was not taken entirely, they offered themselves to the Americans and fed them meaningless information to secure they walk in the case of any international justice be meted after the war. They helped, after a decade of playing partner, oust Milosevic but keep their political, intelligence, criminal and military apparatus fully intact – it is still in tact today – and were rewarded for their cooperation with full acquittals despite the Himalaya mountain of evidence against them.

    The ICTY was, and remains, a legal farce for the Western powers who openly and tacitly supported Milosevic and the greater Serbian ideology in the beginning, and in the case of the UK, the duration of the war and since through to today, to wash their hands of hypocricy, guilt, and the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocents their anti-democratic game killed in their support of greater Serbian war goals.

    The case against Seselj is poorly written, deliberately. Note that that maniac never received the negative, decade-long Western media agitprop that the entirely innocent and highly professional Gotovina did – nor did Stanisic or Simatovic.

    Were a real indictment written, by that I mean coherently connecting all of the dots available in open source, ICTY proceedings themselves, as well as by simply connecting who was paying Seselj and his animals (Serbian State Security), he would have been found guilty long ago.

    But a guilty verdict would have meant Simatovic and Stanisic go down, and Serbia legally responsible for its genocidal aggression of the 1990s. That is a no-no for the Anglo-American empire and its EU client states that cheered Milosevic’s hordes and did everything diplomatically to maximize their territorial gains.

    • So well put, therealamericro – the political rat stinks miles away, including the “stunt” by Judge Harhoff last year, which assured a huge delay in judgment in Seselj case. As long as Croats know that Seselj is a war criminal, even without ICTY judgment as they bear witness to his war crimes, the future will be tolerable. After all, the Anglo-Saxon trickery and underhanded blows from its political masters has been something Croats have grown a tough skin against…

  5. therealamericro says:

    The one solace that can be taken from this is that all of the masks will fall when he is greeted as a Messiah upon his return.

    Expect major political changes in Serbia after his hero’s welcome.

    • Yes one can already sense that…therealamericro…Serbian Radical Party + speak of his coming as if verdict of not guilty had already been delivered!!! One hopes Croatian opposition resolve to fight against such political buggery will grow stronger when once again faced with Greater Serbia nightmare. I hope commemorating 23rd anniversary of fall of Vukovar will send a strong message on absolute intolerance of such filth and human garbage that comes with Greater Serbia leaders such as Seselj.

  6. The idea that this vermin is free is revolting beyond my ability to speak. On second thought, yes, I can speak. For the first time in my life I can understand Acts 2:23 as Good News and not Law or just a momentary historical note. “… the worms ate him, and then he died.” These are words of hope perhaps in this case. As I contemplate this I recall that our Lord has commanded us to pray for our enemies and so I pray the 35th Psalm: ” Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against them …” and having thus prayed, not only concerning Seselj but also concerning all those who have shielded him, my heart is somewhat comforted. Somehow those words “the worms ate him and he died” bring a smile to my face… a grim smile, but a smile. Perhaps you understand that I shall not be praying for his speedy recovery.

  7. Reading here Ina.. it appears still many on the judicial side are causing this case to be delayed..
    I think when we will look back in History within ALL of our countries archives, we will see corruption goes right to the Top and is still in place in many a nation..
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend and week… And good to catch up with you again..
    Hugs Sue xox

    • Awful to accept such corruption, Sue and we do not accept it, at least point to it, protest against it and maybe things will turn around. There’s so much politicking around this case, it’s sad.

  8. Incredible that Seselj can proclaim he has no intention to engage in medical treatment and the ICTY still lets him go free. On the off chance that his politically motivated judgement is guilty, how will they get him back to the Hague? If he is “too sick” to await the judgement he will surely be “too sick” to serve his sentence. Too bad his victims didn’t get the same merciful treatment. Svinja. Croats have to wake up and realize they cannot rely on anyone but themselves, we must be strong and united always.

  9. Wow…where does it all come from? The hate….
    Small men that cause so much ruin.
    Quick to horror, slow to heal.

  10. He won’t come back, will he?

    Fraudster Ernest Saunders got out of jail alleging Alzheimer’s Disease, but showed no sign of it once free.

    • I reckon, Clare, he won’t, but as long as there is a judgment in the case (whatever that may be) then victims are partly healed from incessant pain. It angers me that there is still no word as to when a judgment may be expected.

  11. Hello! I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Please pick it up on my blog at: http://idealisticrebel.com/2014/11/09/one-lovely-blog-award/

  12. Human rights agencies ,big name a little body , for the powerful only not for the weak.Jalal

  13. Dolce Notte 🙂

  14. As usual, Ina, you have shown your astute skills of exposing the reality behind the facade. Sadly, we need to relive the vileness of Seselj in public and on public display. The benefit will be that the world will be reminded of the hatred and delusional nature of the proto-fascist Serbian Radical Party. Will it serve to engage a quicker judgement process for Seselj, probably not. Nor will it change the dominant perception in European political hallways that Serbs have somehow distanced and rehabilitated themselves in any way from their xenophobic predecessors

    On 11/8/14, Croatia, the War, and the Future

  15. Zoran Nosic says:

    As usual, a great piece Ina. Sadly, nothing will change once this degenerate shows the world why he should be facing the “Saddam” verdict. Moreover, the corridors of European power will still maintain that Serbia has rehabilitated itself from its proto-fascist past and Croatia will continue to be vilified for wanting to “correct the record” as written for us during the Homeland War.

    This “weekend pass” is evidence enough (as previous comments have stated) that the ICTY is not wanting to pass judgement on Seselj, as with Milosevic and let nature take its course. The verdict would magnify the current battle of Croatians and other minorities in Serbia to gain recognition and their rights (the same ones enjoyed by Serbs in neighbouring countries). Serbia would also struggle to justify its public resistance to provide equal treatment while demanding it of other countries.

    These public relations minefields may influence/delay Serbia’s chances of EU membership in the short term because the optics are very poor.

    • Yes, Zoran, ethnic minorities such as Croats in Serbia have almost no rights as minorities, in fact their rights are often suffocated and yet they want their own minorities in neighbouring countries to have the right of majority! I am so glad Croatia still has plenty of brave people who stand up against this. ICTY will do what it likes in this case – it’s in no hurry it seems to deliver judgment but I still like to think it will wake up to justice regardless of political pressures that might be clogging up the corridors of power.

  16. Reblogged this on IdealisticRebel's Daily View of Favorites.

  17. Another sign of the feckless nature of the ICTY. Hmmm… wonder how/if the foreign hacks will cover this story ?

    The ICTY has been a joke since one of the original justices, Canadian Justice Louise Arbour, stated that the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina would not have never increased in ferocity if the international community did not recognize Croatia and Bosnia’s independence.
    What a wonderful political statement by an allegedly neutral justice. Note too, her comments came after Vukovar had already been seized by the Serbs and the Yugoslav Army, 1/3 of Croatia was occupied by Serb soldiers, and Bosnia’s war was in full swing.

    Wonder if the men sitting in the dock at the Nuremburg Trials had this type of compassion shown them.
    The ICTY could have easily released Seselj to Croatia with the caveat that he be given the Adolf Eichman treatment.

  18. Ina please watch video. They are trying to get rid of Dr Ante Nazor’s Croatian Memorial Centre on the Homeland War: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy063GHo4a0
    Shocking that we have no proper museum, centre in Zagreb, a la the House of Terror in Hungary to commemorate the homeland wards. This is a travesty. Do you know anything new about this?

    • Thanks Erica, I will watch it, by the by it does not surprise me when Vesna Terselic is behind it – the next thing on her agenda documenta.hr agenda would probably be burying communist crimes mass graves – what awful stuff they dish out all for benefit of communists. I have not heard anything more regarding any closure of the memorial centre but it would be absolutely awful and unacceptable if moves are made to do that. Next year’s elections will certainly need to boot out those people in government who fund destructive elements in society such as “documenta”

  19. Thought you and your readers would be interested in the link below…Nazor is a saint. The commis want to get rid of his centre to document the homeland war:


    BTW why is there no museum to our War Veterans like there is for Tito? Seems like our government is trying to create Yugo 3.0.

    • Oh thanks, Sunman – heard this from another commentator – Erica – awful stuff. Absolutely unacceptable – I’ve heard dr Nazor speak a couple of times and follow the work of the Homeland War memorial centre – it’s an institution we must preserve and I trust there will be much fighting going on if the communists dare touch it with view to closing it. If anything that centre should be stronger.

  20. …the serbians have had over 150 years (since the Ottoman Occupation) to cultivate worldwide friendship, especially since the time of Kings Alexander, Peter and the “great Croatian” Josip Tito (who couldn’t even speak the language)! The chetnik leadership (Vucic, Tadic, Nikolic et al.), the serbian orthodox church, diaspora, all had friendly ties and lobby groups to whitewash the chetnik crimes! The Croatians, on the other hand have a STUPID population, incompetent communist-chetnik leaders,and a stupid Roman Catholic Church which preaches forgiveness! Well, what else do you expect?
    Just one more time (in January 2015), if the brain-dead Croatian population in Croatia and some bozos in the diaspora, vote for the communist Josipovic,…….then the Chetnik flag SHOULD fly on top of Sv. Stjepan Cathedral …..or what is left of it!


  1. […] Vojislav Seselj’s return to Serbia (after being temporarily released from war crimes tribunal in t…) happened just days before the 23rd anniversary of the fall of Vukovar (18 November), which is a very important date for the Croats and which evidences untold atrocities committed in the early 1990’s against Croats and other non-Serbs in Croatia at the directive and under Seselj’s or Serbian Radical Party’s directives (whose members at the time also included the current Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic). […]

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