Warcrimes court probes threat to Serb opposition leader

7th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The UN's Yugoslav war crimes court said Wednesday it was probing claims that ultra-nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj had threatened a Serb opposition leader from behind bars in The Hague.

"The registry... is investigating the claims that there has been a breach of security in the detention unit" in the seaside suburb of Scheveningen where Seselj is held, Nerma Jelacic, spokeswoman of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said in a statement.

"Thus far, there has been no indication proving the claims of the media."

Should the probe find that communications facilities in the detention unit were abused, "the registrar could take action in accordance with the relevant rules and guidelines", said the statement.

Last month, the party of opposition leader Tomislav Nikolic said he was the target of an assassination plot ordered from detention by his political rival, Seselj.

Jelacic said Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, who presides over Seselj's war crimes trial, "wrote to Serbian authorities about this issue but has received no answer to date."

Seselj, who leads the ultra-nationalist Radical Party, is on trial for alleged 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 1993.

When Seselj left Serbia to face trial in 2003, he kept his position as party leader with Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic to run the group in his absence.

Nikolic and Vucic, however, broke with their former mentor in 2008 to form the Serbian Progressive Party, taking many militant supporters with them.

© 2010 AFP

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