The Rule 98 bis hearing will be held in February or March 2011. Seselj will argue why he believed the prosecution failed to prove the allegations in the indictment. Seselj hopes that by that time the Tribunal will ‘tumble down like a stack of cards’ because of the alleged disclosures in the Wikileaks. Seselj’s claims his surgery was not successful however the patient does feel better

Vojislav Seselj in the courtroomVojislav Seselj in the courtroom

The presiding judge of the Trial Chamber hearing the case of the Serbian Radical leader Vojislav Seselj for crimes in Vojvodina, Croatia and BH delivered a number of oral decisions at the beginning of the administrative hearing today. The decisions for the most part grant the prosecution’s motions to tender into evidence documents tendered through the testimony of some prosecution witnesses.

In an address that went on for almost an hour and a half, Judge Antonetti said the Trial Chamber would ‘work round the clock’ to deliver all the remaining decisions by the Tribunal’s winter recess, which begins on 18 December. The prosecution’s motion to call new witnesses in rebuttal to the evidence of the Trial Chamber’s witnesses is among the pending motions.

In the words of Judge Antonetti, ‘there is only one obstacle’ standing in the way of the Rule 98 bis hearing and that is the handwriting expert’s report on the authenticity of Ratko Mladic’s diary. The Trial Chamber has asked for this report. The Rule 98bis hearing, the judge indicated, will be held in February or March 2011, the judge said. Seselj will have an opportunity to say why he believed the prosecution failed to prove the allegations in the indictment.

Today Seselj talked for an hour, linking the issue of Mladic’s diaries and the Rule 98bis hearing with the disclosure of secret documents on the Wikileaks web site. Referring to the purported reports in the Serbian media, Seselj argued that among the material there were ‘hundreds of documents showing that the American government interfered in the work of the Tribunal’. Thanks to the documents, Seselj argued, the Tribunal could ‘tumble down like a stack of cards’ by next spring. As for what will then happen with the accused then, it is ‘in God’s hands’, Seselj said.

The Serbian Radical leader went on to say that the ICTY deputy registrar ‘deliberately lied’ when he wrote in his report to the Trial Chamber that Seselj’s surgery was carried out without any complications. Seselj denied that the surgery was successful but nevertheless said he felt better after it. Seselj also asked to be examined by a team of Russian doctors. If the Trial Chamber failed to grant him permission to meet them, Seselj threatened he would ‘refuse to see other doctors’.

Judge Antonetti noted that Seselj’s blood sample was analyzed and tested negative for almost 2,000 substances which might cause poisoning. The accused nevertheless insisted that until a year ago he had been poisoned. Seselj admitted he didn’t have any evidence to support his claims, but said he knew who poisoned him and on whose orders. Concluding the discussion of his health, Seselj today reminded the Trial Chamber that his ‘center for love has been burned’ already, but that he still had ‘the center for hate as it is the only thing that keeps me alive’.

The presiding judge indicated that the next administrative hearing would be held in late January 2011.