UN appeal judges quash radical Serb Seselj's acquittal

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UN judges Wednesday overturned the controversial acquittal of radical Serb politician Vojislav Seselj, sentencing him to 10 years for crimes against humanity in the 1990s Balkans conflict.

The court "finds Seselj guilty... of instigating persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts," presiding judge Theodor Meron said, before adding the Serbian MP's jail time "has been served" as he had already spent 12 years in custody in a UN prison.

The five appeals judges sharply disagreed with the original trial's findings that the prosecution had "failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubt" or provide sufficient evidence that Seselj was responsible for the crimes he had been charged with.

The 2016 verdict was also heavily criticised by law experts and historians who said it had rewritten the history of the Balkans conflicts.

Either the initial court had "ignored a substantial portion of highly relevant evidence and its own findings, or it erred in fact," Meron said.

"The appeals chamber finds that no reasonable trier of fact could have concluded that there was no widespread or systematic attack against the non-Serbian population in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina."

Seselj had snubbed the hearing, remaining in Belgrade where he has been since returning in 2014 for cancer treatment.

© 2018 AFP

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