Posts Tagged ‘Former Yuogoslavia’

Yesterday The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunals has heard the oral arguments in the Šešelj case. The Serbian Vosjislav Šešelj did not attend this hearing, he had been released from custody in 2015, because of his ‘health condition’.  U[on arrival in Serbia he soon proved to be a man full of energy for his bad cause. On April the3. 2015 I published this news-tableau and comment on my Flickr pages. Today one day after the appeal of the prosecutor of the tribunal who still wants him to be punished, I republish it on this blog of mine. The Flickr version of this tableau had 11.980 views.

“SERBIAN NATIONALIST LEADER SESELJ CONVICTED OF WARTIME CRIMES // The UN court in The Hague partially overturned Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj’s acquittal on appeal and jailed him for 10 years for wartime crimes in Serbia – although he will not serve any prison time.””
I am glad that he has been convicted after all.. Seselj was not a soldier – though he like to dress up into para-military uniforms – he was what we call ‘an intellectual’, a man who had been a (nationalist) dissident during the Yugoslav Republic of Tito and became a war monger after the demise of the Yugoslav Federation. He has helped to set the Balkans aflame with hate speech and he still is an outspoken Serbian nationalist who fights for a Greater Serbia at the costs of other nations of the former Yugoslavia. I made this tabelau picture of his irredentist cancer in the year 2015…. I first quote the Balkan Transitional Justice web-site message of today 11/4/2018:
“He was temporarily released for cancer treatment in November 2014 and has refused to return to The Hague since then. Serbia has also refused to extradite him, despite an Interpol ‘red notice’ for his arrest.

After returning to Serbia, Seselj resumed his political career, held a series of nationalist rallies, and repeatedly mocked the Hague Tribunal in public.

The Seselj verdict was the first to be handed down by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which took over the remaining work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia after it shut down.

It is also the first conviction for war crimes committed in Serbia, and the first conviction by an international tribunal for inciting crimes using speeches in the former Yugoslavia.”
Last december when he was acquited by the now defunct Court for War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia I wrote this….

In a press release of the Tribunal dated 13/12/2017 his case has been once more summarized:

“In February 1991, Mr. Šešelj was appointed President of the Serbian Radical Party and, in June 1991, he was elected a member of the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. At trial, the Prosecution charged Mr. Šešelj with persecution, deportation, and inhumane acts (forcible transfer) as crimes against humanity, as well as murder, torture, cruel treatment, wanton destruction of villages, destruction or wilful damage of institutions dedicated to religion or education, and plunder of public and private property as violations of the laws or customs of war. The Prosecution alleged that Mr. Šešelj planned, ordered, instigated, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted these crimes. It further alleged that he participated in these crimes between August 1991 and September 1993 by way of a joint criminal enterprise, the common purpose of which was the permanent and forcible removal, through the commission of crimes, of a majority of the Croatian, Bosnian Muslim and other non-Serbian populations from approximately one-third of the territory of Croatia and large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Vojvodina, in Serbia, in order to make these areas a new Serbian-dominated state. ”

Although he has been acquitted by a majority (with one dissenting judge, Lattanzi) the Prosecution appealed:

“The Prosecution argued that the Trial Chamber erred in law by failing to deliver a reasoned opinion and erred in fact by acquitting Mr. Šešelj. It requested that the Appeals Chamber revise the Trial Judgement to find Mr. Šešelj guilty as charged and sentence him accordingly, or, alternatively, order a retrial. In his Response Brief filed before the hearing, Mr. Šešelj argued that the Prosecution appeal should be dismissed in its entirety.”

[text as published on April 3, 2015]

carrier of COLORECTAL & IRREDENTIST CANCER (2)Vojislav Šešelj has been held responsible by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague for …
Three counts of crimes against humanity:
– Persecution on political, racial or religious grounds [counts 1]
– Deportation, inhuman acts [counts 10 to 11]
Six counts of violations of the laws or customs of war:
– Murder [count 4]
– Torture and cruel treatment [count 8 to 9]
– Wanton destruction, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion or education, plunder of public or private property [counts 12 to 14]. (3)

He was nevertheless released provisionally in November 2014, for health and juridical reasons (being on trial for war crimes during 11 years). On March the 30th 2015 he was ordered back to the prison in The Hague, as he betrayed the trust of court, as can be read in the Washington Post on 30/3/2105 :

Mr. Seselj, who is accused of recruiting paramilitary forces during the Balkan wars, was released in November for medical treatment in Serbia on condition that he didn’t interfere with victims or witnesses and that he would return to the tribunal if summoned. Serbian doctors have said he is suffering from colon cancer that has spread to his liver.

B92.net radio & tv group from Belgrade had – on the same day – more details on the reasons for calling him back to prison:

The Appeals Chamber was deciding on a Hague Prosecution complaint, that said Seselj’s behavior while in Serbia “betrayed the trust of the court” as he “threatened people who cooperate with the prosecution and said he would not return to the Hague, violating the conditions for his release.

Right after his release, November last year, Daisy Sindelar of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty commented:

At a time when the Balkans are still struggling to come to terms with its wartime history, the homecoming of one of the region’s angriest, most unrepentant nationalists has provoked the relatively moderate Serbian government and set surrounding countries on edge. It has also unleashed a hailstorm of criticism on the ICTY, with detractors saying Seselj’s release deals a serious setback to the court’s mandate to promote postwar reconciliation. (…) So far, Seselj has yet to show overt signs of serious health setbacks. “For someone in poor health, he obviously displays exceptional political dynamism,” says former Croatian European Parliament member Tonino Picula, who has joined the ranks of Balkan politicians calling for Seselj’s swift return to The Hague.


The map in the tableau above shows his ideal of a greater Serbian Nation in the year 1992. (4)

The picture at the bottom shows him in para-military attire with Captain Dragan Vasiljkovic of the Krajina-Serb ‘Knindze’ SJM battalion in the city of Benkovac, in 1991 during one of the campaigns against Croatian forces in the disputed area the annexed as a part of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, now part of the Croatian County of Zadar. (5)

Šešelj is still the incumbent leader of the Serbian Radical Party (Српска радикална странка), founded in 1991, which started of with 73 seats of the 250 in the Serbian parliament in 1992 and lost all its seats since the elections of 2012.

A nation is often seen as the embodiment of common held values.

The Serbian nation body thus carries a ‘cancer’ in it, which is the megalomania of an imagined great past – that never existed in the way it is imagined now-a-days – projected onto the future. The perpetrated violence during the wars triggered by the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, found as one of its impulses the attempts to make these historical pipe dreams from the 19th century about a great 14th century Serbian Empire (1331-1365), expanded under Dušan the Mighty, calling himself ‘Tsar’ (Caesar) of the Serbs and Greeks. This short lived entity largely made up of vassal and suzerain nations formed one of the basic elements for the 19th century nationalist fever and its fictional maps of a new Serbian state. A state that was to be dominated by beings, as fictional as the maps drawn: ‘real Serbs’. The claim of a ethnic pure ‘Serbian’ population, also, is of course nothing else than a fiction, with millennia of migration and mixing. As all ‘racist fictions’ and ‘racist theories’, when put into a practice, they become violent and murderous.

In the words of the indictment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY):

“Vojislav SESELJ participated in a joint criminal enterprise. The purpose of this joint criminal enterprise was the permanent forcible removal, through the commission of crimes in violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal, of a majority of the Croat, Muslim and other non- Serb populations from approximately one-third of the territory of the Republic of Croatia (“Croatia”), and large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from parts of Vojvodina, in the Republic of Serbia (“Serbia”), in order to make these areas part of a new Serb-dominated state.”


“He espoused and encouraged the creation of a homogeneous “Greater Serbia”, encompassing the territories specified in this indictment, by violence, and thereby participated in war propaganda and incitement of hatred towards non-Serb people.” [Ibid.; p. 3.]

“He recruited Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS and indoctrinated them with his extreme ethnic rhetoric so that they engaged in the forcible removal of the non-Serb population in the targeted territories through the commission of crimes as specified in this indictment with particular violence and brutality.” [Ibid.; p. 4.]


The colorectal cancer that Šešelj has acquired is known for the “abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body.” When checking out the character of the illness that ‘gained’ him a provisional release from prison – even while being indicted for ‘war crimes’ – I could not evade an association of his bodily condition with that of his attempted cure for what he sees as the best treatment for the ailment of the body of the Serb nation: territorial expansion.

Will he ever associate the threatening invasion of cancer cells in his own body with his criminal intrusion into the living space of others, into their minds and bodies?

Predrag Dojčinović compares the vision and subsequent practice of a Greater Serbia to the ‘Blut und Boden’ ideology of the Nazi’s in a recent publication on the former Yugoslavia court:

In his speech at the founding assembly of the SRS (DSerbian Radical Party), on February 23, 1991, ˇSešelj said: ‘We are prepared, though, for a bloodbath should it be necessary, but only for the sake of the Serbian lands, territories and people.’ In his countless media appearances and party rallies, ˇSešelj promised ‘bloodshed’, a ‘bloody civil war’ and ‘rivers of blood’ flowing in BiH if Croats and Bosnian Muslims rejected Serb territorial ultimatums. The territorial aspirations and blood were inseparably linked in ˇSešelj’s Greater Serbian discourse. The pattern of his utterances and subsequent events was truly Hitleresque. The Serbian version of Blut und Boden ideology was thus introduced as a powerful and dominant public narrative. [p. 71.]

[The Shifting Status of Grand Narratives in War Crimes Trials and International Law: History and Politics in the Courtroom ; Predrag Dojčinović” in Žarkov, Dubravka, and Marlies Glasius. 2014. Narratives of justice in and out of the courtroom: former Yugoslavia and beyond. search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=sit…. ; p. 63-. www.worldcat.org/oclc/875918999]

Note 1/4/2015:

A defiant Šešelj staged another enactment of his bodily condition today by publicly burning a Croatian flag outside a court building today in Belgrade in front of assembled camera crews and journalists, thus translating his ‘heartburn’ (a painful burning sensation in the chest caused by gastroesophageal reflux) into media-action. At least his pathetic actions are not any longer in the realm of real war and terror, but in the domain of media-symbolism.

(1) A useful short biography – up to the year 1998 – is found in the book on the “break-up” of Yugoslavia by Carole Rogel, though she misses out on the the historical peculiarity that Šešelj as a young man had a turbulent early academic life when studying law and political sciences, which got him troubles with university establishment in Sarajevo and the authorities of late party-communist Yugoslavia. His conflict was in the same period – mid eighties – of a trumped court case against a group of students and intellectuals known as the Belgrade Six, though Šešelj did not belong to that ‘camp’ and carved out his very own role of dissident, with an ever more Serbian nationalist leaning. Still his imprisonment, by the regime of that time, made him part of the heterogenous opposition against party-communist rule and thus it came that at that time he has been supported as ‘a political prisoner’ by democratic and liberal oriented people he later abhored and fought. Here an extensive quote from the book by Carole Rogel:

Vojislav Seselj, the future ultranationalist Serb warlord, was born in 1956 in eastern Hercegovina. a region that has spawned extremists among all of its ethnic groups. Seselj. who for a time was a professor of political science at the University of Sarajevo, was imprisoned in 1984 after being tried for conspiring to overthrow the Yugoslav state. His eight-year prison sentence was reduced; in the end he served two years six months of which were in solitary confinement, where he was probably tortured.

Seselj has been described as a psychopath. A tall man with a heavy, potbellied frame. crude and brash. Sesel j enjoys shocking and taunting those he comes into contact with. He shouts and fights in parliament. charges foreign journalists huge sums for interviews. and regularly spouts bloodcurdling remarks about Croats and Muslims. He played a pivotal role in Serbia during the breakup of Yugoslavia and in the ensuing wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. In 1989, as the Yugoslav republics prepared for multiparty elections. Seselj helped Vuk Draskovic found the Serbian Renewal Party in order to challenge the former communists for control of Serbia. He soon broke with Draskovic and formed the Radical Party, an organization that espoused ultrapatn‘otic symbols and goals. It linked itself with mythical medieval Serbian heroes, with Serbian saints, and particularly with Draza Mihailovic, the World War Serbian general who fought Tito’s communists with the aim of restoring a Serbian monarchy. Mihailovic and his Chetniks were beaten, Mihailovic was tried and executed after the war, and the Chetniks were outlawed. The breakup of Yugoslavia, however. helped resurrect the Chetniks, this time a band of paramilitaries organized and led by Seselj.

Vojislav Seselj and the Chetniks served as a special Serbian force in the wars in Croatia and in Bosnia-Heroegovina. They raped, tortured, pillaged, and engaged in ethnic cleansing in both republics. Their activities, often directed toward civilians, helped escalate the atmosphere of fear and terror that swept the area in 1991 and 1992. And although Milosevic has denied any complicity in the Chetnik operations, Seselj has explicitly implicated Milosevic in them. He has asserted that many of the operations were, in fact, planned, directed, and paid for by Belgrade. Milosevic courted Seselj, for the latter was useful in furthering the Greater Serbian goals and rallying the rightists and Serbian patriots. He used Seselj against political enemies, including Milan Panic in late I992 and the writer and Yugoslav president Dobrica Cosic in 1993. But Seselj was not merely, or even, Milosevic’s henchman. By the middle of 1993 Seselj had become the second most powerful figure in Serbia. for his party held the second largest number of seats in parliament.

In fall 1993, Milosevic, his other political enemies eliminated. purged the military and moved against Seselj and his forces. Although Seselj was jailed briefly by Milosevic, the latter has not been successful in displacing the ultranationalist. Seselj remains politically strong in post-Dayton Serbia. He continues to be a member of parliament, and in the December 1996 election was also elected mayor of Zemun, a city on the Danube north of Belgrade with a population of 200,000. His Radical Party captured 18 percent of the popular vote in the 1996 election. In September 1997 Seselj emerged as one of two leading candidates for the presidency of Serbia. Seselj remains violently anti-Croat and anti-Muslim, opposes the Dayton Accords. and champions the cause of Radovan Karadzic and the Bosnian Serbs who favor separation from Bosnia and Hercegovina. He is wanted by the war crimes tribunal for his role in the atrocities committed during the war.

[Rogel, Carole. 1998. The breakup of Yugoslavia and the war in Bosnia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. ; p. 108. www.worldcat.org/oclc/37331717 ]

Sonja Biserko a human rights activist since the eighties of last century has many details on Šešelj in her 2012 book on what she calls the implosion of Yugoslavia. She was one of those campaigning for the rights of someone who later became a war criminal. About the peculiar position of Šešelj as a dissident under a party-communist regime she writes:

Around the same time, the “Šeselj affair” unfolded. Accused in Sarajevo of plagiarizing the work of a Muslim intellectual, Vojislav Šešelj moved to Belgrade, where he was feted as a Serbian victim of Muslim persecution in Sarajevo. He joined the Belgrade dissident circle and in 1984 published “Essay on Socialism and Intellectuals,” in which he alleged that by restricting freedom of speech, Socialism had betrayed its ideals. 59 He was tried and convicted over the essay, in which he had called the party undemocratic, had insisted that the Serbs and Serbia had been discriminated against in Communist Yugoslavia, and had suggested that the federation should comprise only four republics: Slovenia, a reduced Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia. His eight-year prison sentence was reduced to two years on appeal, and he later incorporated his intellectual recomposition of Yugoslavia into the programmatic declaration of his Serbian Radical Party (srs).

[Biserko, Sonja. 2012. Yugoslaviaʹs implosion: the fatal attraction of Serbian nationalism. – free down-load version ias PDF: www.helsinki.org.rs/doc/yugoslavias implosion.pdf ; p. 70. www.worldcat.org/oclc/849801073 ]

The response of Serbian intellectuals and politicians to the Yugoslav crisis varied from advocacy of a national agenda to urging greater unity in culture and politics. Yet they were all basically in favor of either a Yugoslavia according to Serbian wishes or a Serbia within the borders being drawn by Vuk Draškovic and Vojislav Šešelj, who essentially embraced Moljevic’s World War II territorial ambitions. [Ibid.; p. 79.]

(2) Colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer, rectal cancer or bowel cancer) is the development of cancer in the colon or rectum (parts of the large intestine). It is due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body.


Irredentism (from Italian irredento for “unredeemed”) is any political or popular movement intended to reclaim and reoccupy a lost homeland. As such irredentism tries to justify its territorial claims on the basis of (real or imagined) historic and/or ethnic affiliations. It is often advocated by nationalist and pan-nationalist movements and has been a feature of identity politics, cultural and political geography.
Pan-Serbism or Greater Serbia sees the creation of a Serb land which would incorporate all regions of traditional significance to the Serbian nation, and regions outside of Serbia that are populated mostly by Serbs. This movement’s main ideology is to unite all Serbs (or all historically ruled or Serb populated lands) into one state, claiming, depending on the version, different areas of many surrounding countries.

(3) ICTY website document in PDF format: www.icty.org/x/cases/seselj/cis/en/cis_seselj_en.pdf

(4) This view of a “Greater Serbia”, is one of several of such views in the history of the Balkans. A Wikipedia page on the subject details the map as is shown here, with None of the actual split-up states of the former Yugoslavia in the borders as known now. Only Three states are left with Serbia expanding westward and southward to what is called the The Virovitica-Karlovac-Karlobag line:

The Virovitica-Karlovac-Karlobag line is a hypothetical boundary that describes the western extent of an irredentist nationalist Serbian state. It defines everything east of this line, Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica, as a part of Serbia, while the west of it would be within Slovenia, and all which might remain of Croatia. Such a boundary would give the majority of the territory of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Serbs.
This line was frequently referenced by Serbian politician Vojislav Šešelj.
A greater Serbian state was supported for national and economical reasons, as it would give Serbia a large coastline, heavy industries, agricultural farmland, natural resources and all of the crude oil (mostly found in the Pannonian Plain), particularly in the Socialist Republic of Croatia, by various Serbian politicians associated with Slobodan Milošević in the early 1990s who publicly espoused such views: Mihalj Kertes, Milan Babić, Milan Martić, Vojislav Šešelj, Stevan Mirković.
Also, it would gather over 98% of Serbs of Yugoslavia in one state. In his speeches and books, Šešelj claimed that all of the population of these areas are in fact ethnic Serbs, of Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Muslim faith. However, outside of Šešelj’s Serbian Radical Party, the line as such was never promoted in recent Serbian political life.

Sonja Biserko details the way in which a former party-communist leader switches over to extreme nationalism by having someone else acting it out for him: Šešelj:

“The preparations for war took a long time and were carried out at several levels, including in the media, public institutions, academia, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Army, informal discussion groups in coffeehouses and homes, and in the political arena. In the political forum, the chief warmonger was Vojislav Šešelj. Leader of the Serbian Radical Party. Šešelj openly promoted Miloševic’s war goals even though Miloševic himself never spelled them out publicly. Although a political rival of Miloševic’s, Šešelj was always in cahoots with the Miloševic regime, his specific role being to announce its every war move. He was the most vehement advocate of the Greater Serbia project. The philosopher Ljubomir Tadic attributes the success of the alliance to a skilful use of hyperpatriotic slogans in electioneering, coupled with expressions of deep concern for the welfare of the citizens. In that “propaganda battle without mercy and scruples,” Tadic says,“the SPS [party of Miloševic tj.] stood behind a stage it had voluntarily ceded to the Serbian Radicals of Voivode Šešelj.”

[Biserko, Sonja. 2012. Yugoslaviaʹs implosion: the fatal attraction of Serbian nationalism. – free down-load version ias PDF: www.helsinki.org.rs/doc/yugoslavias implosion.pdf ; p. 162. www.worldcat.org/oclc/849801073 ]

(5) Information taken from balkanforum.info (a page with many references to ICTY sources:

Dragan’s special forces consist of 1,000 soldiers of the «Republic of Serbian Krajina» and some volunteers from countries outside the Former Yugoslavia. an Australian citizen who was born in Belgrade. He was a military advisor in both Tanzania and Angola, and, as a result, when speaking English, his accent is more South African than Australian. He reportedly arrived in Knin, Croatia, in 1990, returned to Belgrade in 1991, and left Krajina sometime in 1992. He later returned to Krajina to operate a training camp for special forces volunteers. Dragan also reportedly led paramilitary groups called the Knindze and the Red Berets. (…) A unit named the Draganovci also allegedly participated in the April 1992 attack on Zvornik in north-eastern BiH along with other paramilitary units including Arkanovci, Dusan the Mighty, Anticevci, the White Eagles, the Vukovar Unit under Pero Elez, and others.
In January 1993, paramilitary formations under Captain Dragan allegedly participated in the «ethnic cleansing» operation of the Knin district, along with Arkan and Seselj units.

see also my 2008 tableau:

“Last resort for a haunted man is to hide behind his beard covering a face that became a public icon ~ once his zeal is betryaed and his cover is torn, it still will take generations before his defaced idol has vanished from all shrines” [NB some of the documentary links with this tableau picture have vanished in the last 7 years; time to search for them again and establish my own longer lasting documentation on-line]

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