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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 22:45 GMT
Serb radical indicted for war crimes
Vojislav Seselj
Seselj leads the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party
Serbian hardline leader Vojislav Seselj has been indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal at The Hague for crimes against humanity.

Slobodan Milosevic
Seselj owes much of his influence to supporter Milosevic
Mr Seselj, who was a runner up in Serbia's presidential election in December, has been charged for his alleged role in ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Croatia from 1991 to 1993.

It is alleged he made nationalistic speeches which incited racial hatred and formed a paramilitary unit which committed atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia and the Vojvodina region of Serbia.

Mr Seselj, who had apparently already been aware that the tribunal planned to arrest him and who denies that charges, said that he would surrender voluntarily.

"I will go on my own," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"I will not let anyone arrest me, I shall go when it pleases me."

Key Serbian figure

The indictment, signed by chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, charges Mr Seselj with a eight counts of crimes against humanity and six counts violations of the laws or customs of war.

Each count is punishable by life in prison.

"He bears criminal individual responsibility for crimes which were part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilians," the tribunal said in a statement quoted by Reuters news agency.

A key figure in Serb nationalist politics, Mr Seselj owes much of his influence to Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader currently on trial at The Hague on charges of war crimes, including genocide.

His extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party made a strong showing in Serbia's December election, coming second behind current Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica.

The poll was declared invalid as less than 50% of the population voted.

See also:

11 Oct 02 | Europe
28 Jan 00 | Europe
22 Nov 98 | Europe
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