Demo ban for convicted Serb politician Seselj

Jarak (Serbie) (AFP) –


Serbian police prevented ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj from demonstrating Sunday in Hrtkovci, a village in the Vojvodina province home to a Croatian minority where his firebrand speeches during the Balkan War earned him a jail term.

Police blocked off access to the village some 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Belgrade, an AFP photographer said.

"We came as opposition to provoke the regime which has forbidden us from demonstrating ... and not the Croatians," said Seselj, 63, in the nearby village of Jarak as he found himself barred by a police cordon.

Last month UN judges overturned the controversial acquittal of the radical Serb politician, sentencing him to 10 years for crimes against humanity in the 1990s Balkans conflict.

In May 1992 he had urged the expulsion of local Croats at the height of the Balkan conflict.

Seselj rejected the verdict by the Hague-based panel of UN judges and vowed to return to Hrtkovci to demonstrate along with supporters from his Serbian Radical Party.

He remains at liberty having already spent almost 12 years -- from February 2003 to November 2014 -- in detention in The Hague.

He had initially and controversially been acquitted in March 2016 of six war crimes and three crimes against humanity charges after a trial lasting more than eight years at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Seselj told AFP after last month's appeal ruling in The Hague that he was "proud" of the crimes he was convicted of -- including inciting persecution -- and was willing to do the same again.

The 1992-1995 war left 100,000 people dead and 2.2 million others homeless, as an ethnic conflict tore the former Yugoslavia apart.