Convicted Serb radical buys house at persecution site

Belgrade (AFP) –


Serbian ultranationalist politician Vojislav Seselj said Monday he had bought a house in a village where his firebrand speeches during the 1990s Balkan wars earned him a jail term.

Last month, a panel of UN judges in The Hague overturned Seselj's controversial acquittal and sentenced him to 10 years for crimes against humanity in the 1990s Balkans conflict.

He was convicted over his contribution to the persecution and deportation of non-Serbs, including Croats and Bosnian Muslims.

But he remains at liberty having already spent almost 12 years in detention in The Hague between 2003 to 2014.

In May 1992, at the height of the Balkan conflict, Seselj had urged the expulsion of local Croats from the village of Hrtkovci in the northern Vojvodina province where he has now bought a house.

"I bought a house in Hrtkovci, I go there where people love me," Seselj told reporters, quoted by Beta news agency.

"It is a nice region," he said,

The 63-year-old MP said the house would host a local branch of his Serbian Radical Party.

Earlier this month Serbian police prevented him from demonstrating in the village, home to a Croat minority.

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

Speaking to AFP after last month's ruling, Seselj said he was "proud" of the crimes he was convicted of and would be willing to do the same again.

The 1990s wars that accompanied the collapse of Yugoslavia claimed about 130,000 lives.