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US bans two Serbian ex-lawmakers wanted for Hague witness tampering


Serbian ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj, whose conviction by a UN court has led to arrest warrants for two lawyers on allegations of witness tampering, sits in the village of Jarak in May 2018 after being stopped from a rally on the anniversary of an inflammatory anti-Croat speech /AFP/File

The United States said Friday it would refuse entry to two Serbian ultra-nationalist former members of parliament wanted by a UN court for witness tampering in a trial over crimes against humanity.

The State Department said it was designating Vjerica Radeta and Petar Jojic under a law that bans from the United States people found to be involved in significant corruption.

"The United States continues to stand with all Serbians in support of democracy and the rule of law and will continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Radeta and Jojic served as lawyers for the Serb radical Vojislav Seselj, who was convicted for instigating persecution through an anti-Croat speech in the early 1990s as the region descended into civil war.

The then International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague in January 2015 issued arrest warrants for Radeta and Jojic for allegedly threatening and offering bribes with two witnesses in cases involving Seselj.

Serbia has refused to extradite them. Seselj was sentenced by UN judges in 2018 to 10 years in prison but he walked free due to time he had already served in detention.

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