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Hunger-striking war crimes defendant agrees to medical examination

[JURIST] Serb nationalist war crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj [BBC profile; ICTY case backgrounder], who has been on hunger strike [JURIST report] for since Nov. 11, agreed Friday to medical examination by an "independent" team of doctors composed of a Serb, a French and a Russian national. Seselj had previously refused medical attention [JURIST report] by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] and said he didn't want ICTY staff to force feed him, provide medical treatment or resuscitate him should it become necessary. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica released a letter [text] Friday expressing the Serbian government's deep concern that "Seselj's basic rights [to choose defence counsel and to life] may be endangered and breached" and placing "all responsibility... in the hands of the Tribunal."

Seselj [JURIST news archive] was transferred to a Dutch prison hospital [JURIST report] adjoining the tribunal's detention center [ICTY backgrounder] at Scheveningen near The Hague Wednesday so that his medical condition could be more closely monitored. When Seselj went on hunger strike in early November, he demanded [statement, DOC] that the ICTY dismiss his court-appointed lawyers and allow him to conduct his defense to nine war crimes charges [indictment, PDF]. Since then, the court stripped Seselj of his right to defend himself [JURIST report] after he failed to appear in court. Seselj's lawyers said Wednesday that their client had decided to continue boycotting his trial against their advice [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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