Seselj wins a decisive battle

18 December 2006 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

"For the Court the procedural problems have really started now," ICTY Registrar Hans Holthuis commented on Friday December 8. Vojislav Seselj, president of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and one of the most prominent defendants before the Hague-based court, has just ended the hunger strike he began twenty-eight days ago to protest his Court-imposed lawyer and maintain the right to defend himself. The Appeals Chamber upheld his right.

Although the tribunal's relief was bitter, it was nonetheless real in a situation that was becoming ever more complicated. On December 6, the tribunal, which had been contemplating drip-feeding Seselj, asked the Dutch government to provide medical services for Seselj. Under pressure, the Minister of Justice frantically began studying the latest medical codes of ethics, both Dutch and international. The tribunal's request was even on the agenda of the weekly cabinet meeting on Friday, December 8. Meanwhile, Tribunal president Fausto Pocar stressed that there would still be room for consideration if Seselj decided to address the court via the legal route.

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