Šešelj talks during administrative debate

An administrative debate in the case of Vojislav Šešelj ensued after the expected suspect did not show up to testify before the Hague Tribunal.

Protected witness VS-026 did not come to the court on Tuesday because he recently underwent surgery, and another witness is expected to testify next week.

Presiding Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti said that VS-026 will testify soon. According to previous reports, they are expected to be the last witness in the case.

During the administrative debate which ensured, Antonetti confirmed that Šešelj’s demand to be allowed to hold a telephone press conference before the January 24 local elections in the Serbian town of Odžaci was denied.

Šešelj said that the secretariat has denied him “basic civil and political rights,” adding that he will not be appealing the decision, however.

Antonetti also said that all of Šešelj’s claims of pressure being put on witnesses by the prosecution will be addressed during the process, in accordance with an earlier decision of the trial chamber.

Šešelj also asked to receive documents and information from the prosecution regarding its alleged negotiations and deal made in 1999 with Željko Ražnatović, aka Arkan.

Arkan, shot and killed ten years ago in Belgrade, was a criminal and a paramilitary leader. Šešelj made this demand quoting allegations heard in a Croatian state television, HRT, program.

The prosecutor said that this information was not of importance to the trial and that the court was not obligated to forward it to the defendant.

Šešelj said that he is being accused of war crimes in Zvornik in the spring of 1992 that Ražnatović and his paramilitary formation were in fact responsible for.

He said that the only crimes that were committed in Zvornik in 1992 while his party, SRS, volunteers were there, were committed by Ražnatović and his people – which was the murder of 20 Muslims.

The Serb Radical Party (SRS) leader said that his life was in danger because he was not friendly with Ražnatović, who was a prominent mob boss.

Šešelj added that the trial is being obstructed by “spies and political factors” of which he named “Western information services, Serbian tycoons and mafiosi,” led by “the king of the Serbian tobacco mafia Stanko Subotić, who is Tomislav Nikolić’s tutor”. He refered to Subotić, otherwise known by his nickname “Cane”, as “Cane the Frog”.

Nikolić is Šešelj’s former SRS second-in-command, now the leader of the Serb Progressives (SNS).

Šešelj mentioned that he was locked in his cell all day last week after returning from court because he refused to apply anti-swine flu disinfection fluid on his hands.

“I was one of the first two get vaccinated against the regular and swine flu… It is my sovereign right to decide what medical products I will use,” he said.

Antonetti called on Šešelj to “be calm” and not to raise his voice or interrupt other participants in the discussion, “like he did last week”, and warned him that an attorney could be imposed on him, or that he could be removed from the courtroom.

“The whole world has already seen that the indictment was a set up… You do not have grounds for convicting me, and you can throw me out and I won’t appear in court again… For me this process is in fact over,” Šešelj said.

The SRS leader is accused of war crimes against Croats and Muslims in Croatia, Vojvodina and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991-1993.

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