Serbian Radical Party (SRS) leader and ICTY convict Vojislav Seselj said on Saturday that the Radicals' ideology remained unchanged, that there was no persecution of Croats from Hrtkovci and demanded that Serbia introduces a penalty of life imprisonment for all those who attempt to describe the crime in Srebrenica as genocide.
During the SRS leadership meeting in the village of Hrtkovci, Seselj said that many had requested that the meeting be banned, claiming that Croats were deported from Hrtkovci in the early 1990s.
Seselj said Croats were not deported but that they willingly left after they swapped their properties."I did not commit a crime, and I will prove it. All Croats who left Hrtkovci had swapped their properties, and that is not deportation, especially not a war crime," said Seselj whom the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found guilty of the persecution of Croats in Vojvodina.
Hrtkovci has become a byword for the expulsion of Vojvodina Croats after an SRS rally on May 6, 1992, at which Seselj read out the names of undesirable local Croats. In the following days, some 700 residents left the village due to pressure and threats.
Last year, the Appeals Chamber of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, the successor to the ICTY, sentenced Seselj to ten years' imprisonment for crimes against humanity over the inflammatory speech in Hrtkovci which it found resulted in the deportation, persecution, displacement and other inhumane acts against Vojvodina Croats.
Seselj did not have to go to jail because the time he spent in detention in The Hague was credited to the sentence.