Activists of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia placed street signs with the inscription “Danger! House of a war criminal” in front of the headquarters of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), also the home of its leader Vojislav Seselj, in the Serbian town of Hrtkovci.
The reason, as they announced, is the new indictment for contempt of the Hague Court against Seselj and four other members of the SRS. With this action, the young activists wanted to warn that this candidate for the Serbian Parliament in the upcoming December elections is a convicted war criminal.
His party will run independently in the extraordinary general elections on December 17th, but at the local level it will form a coalition with the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), which was founded and until recently led by Aleksandar Vucic.
The Youth Initiative for Human Rights points out that they are not surprised by the coalition of SNS and SRS, “bearing in mind the earlier statements of representatives of SNS, such as Aleksandar Martinovic, Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government, when on July 4th, in the National Assembly of Serbia, he denied that Seselj was convicted of war crimes and stated on that occasion that “no Croat was expelled from Hrtkovci”.
The European Commission’s latest annual report on Serbia’s progress towards the European Union (EU) “emphasizes that a large number of media and political parties continue to support war criminals in Serbia” and warns of “their presence in the public space where they spread hate speech unhindered.”
On the other hand, the political persecution and pressure directed at those who rebel against the glorification of war criminals and the denial of crimes are not abating, the Initiative points out. In addition, a new report by the Council of Europe warns that during the 2022 election campaign in Serbia, denying war crimes has become a strategy for politicians to stay in power.
“With the pre-election coalition with SRS for local elections, the ruling SNS is normalizing the campaign of intimidation and crimes against humanity against the Croatian population in Hrtkovci in an unprecedented way. We also remind you of the fact that the previous orders of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the arrest and extradition of Vjerica Radeta and Petar Jojic, also members of the SRS, have not yet been executed,” the Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia concluded.
In 2018, Seselj was sentenced to ten years in prison by the Hague Tribunal for instigating the persecution, deportation, and forced displacement and relocation of Croats in the village of Hrtkovci in 1992. He was detained in Scheveningen since 2003 and was released in November 2014 due to his deteriorating health.
On Thursday, it was announced that a new Hague indictment was filed against Seselj and four other party officials – Miljan Damjanovic, Ljiljana and Ognjen Mihajlovic, and Miroljub Ignjatovic. The reason is the publication of the book and other printed material as well as video and audio material, which expose the prosecution witnesses against Vojislav Seselj in his main case.
Despite the verdict, Seselj was a member of the Serbian parliament from 2016 to 2020, and now he is again the holder of the electoral list of SRS in the elections that will be held on December 17th, N1 reports.