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ICTY prosecutors demand 28-year sentence for Seselj

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Wednesday demanded a 28-year prison sentence for former Serb nationalist politician and war crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj [official website, in Serbian; JURIST news archive]. Delivering closing arguments, Prosecutor Mathias Marcussen claimed that Seselj was responsible for tens of thousands of rapes, murders and unlawful detentions during the Balkan conflict. Seselj, who has maintained his innocence, did not call any witnesses or present a defense during his trial, claiming the prosecution is politically motivated. He has three days to deliver closing arguments next week.

In January the ICTY announced that Seselj is suing them for USD $2.6 million in damages due to alleged unreasonable delays [JURIST report] in his trial. His war crimes trial began [JURIST report] in 2007 after he was charged [indictment, PDF] with three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes and accused of establishing rogue paramilitary units affiliated with the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS), which are believed to have massacred and otherwise persecuted Croats and other non-Serbs during the Balkan conflict. His trial was briefly suspended [JURIST report] in 2009 because of concerns witnesses were being intimidated. The trial resumed in 2010 after the delay, and was again ordered to continue in 2011 after Seselj sought to have the charges dismissed [case sheet, PDF]. The trial recently resumed in January, after Seslj's third contempt conviction [JURIST report].

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