The Youth Initiative for Human Rights demands that the National Assembly of Serbia finally establish the termination of Vojislav Šešelj’s MP status.

In addition to the termination of the status in the Parliament, we demand that the President of the Republic and Prime Minister immediately stop a campaign of intimidation of the citizens of Hrtkovci and of the whole Serbia that has been going on for weeks, by clearly confronting Vojislav Šešelj and his policy of crime. 

The response of state institutions to Šešelj’s acting out of control by prohibiting a gathering scheduled in Hrtkovci on May 6 is no good. It should rather take the form of upholding Vojislav Šešelj’s verdict.  An expression of respect for the verdict by institutions should reflect in establishing the termination of MP status of a convicted war criminal by the members of the Administrative Board of the National Assembly of Serbia, which is obligatory under Article 88 of the Act on the Election of Members of Parliament. Therefore, the President of the Republic, as well as the Government, must express their respect for victims of crimes on behalf of the Republic of Serbia on every May 6 in Hrtkovci, thus showing that the proclaimed policy of peace and stability can and must be built only on the dealing with the war past. 

As a reminder, on April 11, the Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals convicted Vojislav Šešelj and sentenced him to ten years in prison, not for “verbal delict” but for inciting persecution (forced resettlement), deportations and other inhumane acts (forced relocation) and for crimes against humanity, as well as for persecution (violation of right to safety) as a crime against humanity in Hrtkovci, Vojvodina. Since that day, in addition to scheduling a gathering on May 6 in Hrtkovci, the very place in which he was calling for persecution 26 years ago, Šešelj was also insulting and intimidating MPs, caused the Croatian delegation to depart from Serbia in order to use such behavior as an excellent excuse for chauvinist rhetoric and “diplomatic war” in relations between Serbia and Croatia.

For all the above, YIHR demands that the President of Serbia and the Government of Serbia stop acting as neutral arbiters who facilitate between “two extremes”, banning all gatherings on May 6, but decide what values they are going to pursue and whether they are going to sacrifice peace in the country and the region for a war criminal. If government authorities continue like this, Serbian society must find strength to raise their heads and confront this walking personification of evil. This fight must continue after May 6, not because of Šešelj himself, but because of the need to build lasting peace as a society, which is not possible without respect for victims, especially those who were, as the citizens of this country, labeled as unfit and subsequently murdered, abused and forced to abandon their homes.