BELGRADE – The Hague tribunal for former Yugoslavia found Serbian ex-Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj not guilty on all counts. He was accused of being complicit in crimes against humanity in Croatia and Bosnia committed by Serbian militias between 1991 and 1993.

Seselj, who was leader of the nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRP), stood accused of inciting and financing crimes against Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb populations committed by Serbian militias from 1991 to 1993.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Justice Jean-Claude Antonetti said the militias did not directly take orders from Seselj, even though the SRP took part in recruitment.

He was charged with nine counts, with the prosecution asking for a 28-year prison term for the crimes. Seselj pleaded not guilty, but said he expected to be given a 25-year term.

The verdict was handed down in absentia, as Seselj was medically unfit to travel to the Netherlands from a clinic in Serbia, where he is reportedly being treated for terminal cancer.

Seselj surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in February 2003 days after his indictment. He spent almost 12 years in custody before being released for medical reasons in November 2014.