Hague president: Šešelj receives "too much attention"

SARAJEVO -- Hague Tribunal President Theodor Meron said that too much unnecessary attention is being paid to the public outbursts of ICTY indictee Vojislav Šešelj.

Theodor Meron (Beta)
Theodor Meron (Beta)

I think that the media focus on Šešelj too much, giving him the publicity he does not deserve, Meron told the reporters during his visit to Sarajevo.

He said that he cannot influence Šešelj's public statements, and added that Serbia, to which Šešelj has recently returned, is a sovereign state that should address this matter.

Meron also said that he has nothing against the Thursday's debate in the European Parliament on a resolution initiated by Croatian MEPs which condemns Šešelj's public outbursts and statements and demands that he be returned to the ICTY detention unit.

There is nothing to hide and it is good to be transparent in all matters. I do not mind being asked any question, he said, and pointed to numerous misunderstandings related to the case.

The trial chamber of the ICTY based the decision to grant Šešelj provisional release solely on humanitarian reasons, that is, because of his serious illness, Meron explained.

The prosecutor did not appeal, so the release decision did not go to the appeals chamber, he pointed out.

Meron said that, as the ICTY president, he could not interfere with the decisions of the trial chamber or their communication with the ICTY Chief Prosecutor's Office, which had had the option and right to access all the medical files used to grant Šešelj provisional release.

The leader of the Serbian Radical Party returned to Belgrade on November 12, after 12 years in ICTY custody without a sentence.

On November 18, the anniversary of the fall of Vukovar in the armed clashes for Croatia's secession from the former Yugoslavia, Šešelj said that the SRS is not relinquishing a Serbian Vukovar or the Republic of Serb Krajina and will do everything to make it a part of Greater Serbia once again.

This caused furious reactions by Croatian officials, who said that Šešelj is a potentially dangerous "disruptive factor" in the region, launching a campaign for his return to detention in the ICTY.

The Croatian parliament adopted on Wednesday a unanimous declaration demanding that the ICTY order Šešelj to return into its custody because of his warmongering and nationalist rhetoric.