Croat PM on "disgraceful" verdict, wants Serbia "to react"

Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic says he "expects Serbia's reaction" in the wake of the Hague Tribunal's decision to set Vojislav Seselj free.

Source: B92, N1
Jutarnji List (screen capture)
Jutarnji List (screen capture)

In a statement for the N1 broadcaster, he hinted that Zagreb might continue to block Serbia's EU membership talks unless Serbia "behaves in the right way."

"The ruling is disgraceful. It is a defeat of the Hague court and the prosecution. I am in Vukovar today where he (Seselj) did evil and showed no remorse. He set Croatian and EU flags on fire. I hope that Serbia will also react because the road toward the EU is the right road and I hope that our neighbors will behave in the right way," said Oreskovic.

Asked "if this will influence Croatia's behavior when it comes to Serbia's path toward the EU" he replied that "Zagreb said it from the start that everyone is clear on the conditions of joining the EU."

"As we fulfilled all the criteria, so will Serbia," Oreskovic added.

Croatian media reported earlier that Oreskovic's trip to Vukovar represented "the desire and the hope of all of Croatia that Seselj will be found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 1991 and 1993 against non-Serb population in Croatia, but also in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Vojvodina in Serbia."

It was also reported that former Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor asserted that there was "proof that Seselj's units were responsible for impaling."

The news that the Hague Tribunal decided to acquit Vojislav Sesell of all charges is dominating the internet media in the region on Thursday.

"Shock in the Hague, Vojislav Seselj is a free man," Croatian daily Jutarnji List is reporting on its website, adding "all counts of the indictment fell, quite nothing has been proved against the leader of the Serb Radicals."

The daily Vecernji List leads with the headline, "Seselj acquitted on all counts of the indictment," and reports "the (trial) chamber made majority decisions on almost every count, with dissenting opinion of Judge Flavia Lattanzi."

Croatia's state broadcaster HRT stresses that the acquittal on all charges came in a first-instance ruling.

"The acquittal was explained by Judge Jean Claude Antonetti. Seselj welcomed the verdict free in Belgrade," reports HRT.

The Croatian website Index ran its report under the headline: "Not guilty: Hague court sets Vojislav Seselj free."

"13 years after Vojslav Seselj surrendered to the Hague court, the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) decided, in a first-instance verdict, that Chetnik vojvoda (duke) Vojislav Seselj is not guilty on any count of the indictment," said the website.

In Bosnia, the daily Avaz reports that Seselj has been acquitted on all nine counts of the indictment, and that the presiding judge ended the reading of the verdict by saying, "Seselj is a free man."

"Chetnik duke and leader of the Serb Radical Party Vojislav Seselj has been set free in the Hague on all counts of the indictment," the Bosnia-based website Klix is reporting.


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