United Nations judges on April 11 found Serbian far-right opposition MP Vojislav Seselj guilty on appeal of crimes against humanity. But he will not be imprisoned because of the time already served behind bars.
‘The appeals chamber reverses Seselj’s acquittals for instigating persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity,” presiding judge Theodor Meron said at a hearing in The Hague, sentencing the firebrand politician to 10 years behind bars.
The judges said that in line with the court’s rules, “Seselj’s sentence has been served” after he spent about 12 years in jail on trial at the former Yugoslav war crimes court.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AfP), Seselj snubbed the hearing and was not present when the verdict was read by judges at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT).
He had been acquitted in March 2016 of nine war crimes and crimes against humanity charges after a trial lasting more than eight years at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
A three-judge panel led by French judge Jean-Claude Antonetti said in 2016 that prosecutors had “failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubt” or provide sufficient evidence that Seselj was responsible for the crimes he had been charged with.
The verdict had been heavily criticised by law experts and historians who said it had rewritten the history of the Balkans conflicts.
“The appeals chamber finds that no reasonable trier of fact could have concluded that there was no widespread or systematic attack against the non-Serbian population in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.”