A Serbian politician, charged with war crimes, has been ordered to return to The Hague for allegedly breaching the terms of his compassionate release.
But 60-year-old Vojislav Seselj has vowed to never go back.
The former nationalist leader was freed in November due to terminal cancer, on condition that he must return to the court at any time if ordered to do so.
The ruling now made poses a dilemma for Serbia’s pro-Western government, as it tries to shore up support for EU integration against an increasingly active Russia.
“This decision is aimed at destabilising Serbia, overthrowing the government of Alexsandar Vucic – and is directly against him. It comes after his speech, when for the first time a Serbian prime minister used the expression NATO aggression,” said Aleksandar Vulin, Serbian Labour Minister and leader of the Socialist movement.
Seselj was charged more than a decade ago with inciting murder and ethnic persecution in firebrand speeches he gave as leader of the Serbian Radical Party.
Seselj’s trial, which is still continuing, has been among the tribunal’s longest – delayed in part by one of the three judges on the case, who revealed himself to be biased in a private letter that was leaked to the media.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was set up in 1993 to try those suspected of war crimes during the break-up of Yugoslavia, in conflicts that cost more than 130,000 lives and lasted most of the 1990s.
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