Šešelj "more convincing" than prosecution

The Hague Tribunal prosecutors requested 28 years in prison for Serb Radical Party (SRS) leader Vojislav Šešelj.

Source: B92

SRS deputy leader Dragan Todorović has stated he was surprised that the prosecutors did not seek a life sentence.

The prosecution presented its closing argument in the Hague Tribunal on Wednesday. The prosecutors requested 28 years in prison for Šešelj for crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia, Vojvodina and Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1991 until 1993.

Todorović has stated that the prosecutors were expected to seek stiff penalty but that one should wait for the defense's closing argument.

"I am surpised that the Prosecution did not request a life sentence but 'only' 28 years instead. I expect that in the closing argument, which will be presented by Šešelj, he will do what he promised, that he will completely defeat the Prosecution and that it will be completely clear what this is about to everybody who would be listening to the closing argument," he explained.

Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) President Ljiljana Smajlović believes that the prosecution was able to prove that Šešelj is guilty of hate speech but that it is questionable whether the prosecutors have been able to be so convincing when it comes to the other counts of the indictment.

“I think we can assume that Šešelj will be convicted of some crimes he was accused of. I think that the prosecutors expressed belief that they had proven their indictment. However, Serbian citizens who had an opportunity to watch the trial on TV will not be overly convinced that the Prosecution did such a great job,“ she explained.

“A part of the trial was a real fiasco, some witnesses were unconvincing, some experts seemed as charlatans and many witnesses of the prosecution became witnesses of the defense. Šešelj himself was much more convincing than the Prosecution and showed that he did not need some special defense and witnesses,” Smajlović added.

The SRS leader voluntarily surrendered to the Hague Tribunal in February 2003 and has been in detention ever since. He pleaded not guilty on all counts of the indictment and his trial started on November 7, 2007. He will give his closing argument on March 12-15.


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