UN tribunal being led by Hitler fans: Serb leader

29th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Ultra-nationalist Serb leader Vojislav Seselj refused Thursday to enter a plea to contempt charges at a UN war crimes court, accusing some of its members of being fans of Nazi ruler Adolf Hitler.

In a rant after his appearance was delayed for over a week, he said officials of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had wanted to celebrate Hitler's birthday on April 20, the original hearing date.

"Here in the tribunal there are still people for whom Hitler appears to be the main ideological leader," Seselj said through a translator, declining to enter a plea to charges that he had unveiled the identities of 11 protected witnesses in his separate war crimes trial.

"It is like voodoo, judge," he said. "They are now invoking Adolf Hitler to come up from the underworld and breathe new life into them so they can settle accounts with me. I don't think Adolf Hitler will help them.

"I will settle with Hitler's followers, whose instruments are The Hague tribunal."

Seselj made his first appearance Thursday in a second contempt trial for identifying witnesses in a book he wrote. He is alleged to have published their real names, occupations and addresses in violation of a court order.

Thursday's hearing was again postponed to an unspecified date, when the court could enter a plea on Seselj's behalf.

He is also on trial at the ICTY for war crimes and crimes against humanity over his alleged role in the persecution of Croat, Muslim and other non-Serbs and their expulsion from areas of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia between 1991 and 1994.

In July last year, Seselj was sentenced to 15 months in prison for identifying another three protected witnesses, but he has appealed against that ruling.

Contempt of the ICTY carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a 100,000 euro (132,000 dollar) fine.

© 2010 AFP

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