November 7, 2014 / 11:49 AM / 3 years ago

U.N. court orders release of ailing Serbian former politician

Serbian ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj attends his trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague March 6, 2009.Valerie Kuypers/Pool

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The United Nations court trying war crimes in the former Yugoslavia ordered the release of an ailing Serbian former politician who has been detained for a decade awaiting a verdict.

Judges at the Yugoslavia tribunal, established to prosecute crimes committed during the breakup of the country in the 1990s, ordered the release of Vojislav Seselj due to "compelling humanitarian reasons," the court said in a statement on Friday.

Seselj's allies have said the radical nationalist, now 60, is seriously ill with cancer, and the court said he should be released from prison in The Hague.

He was expected to fly home to Serbia later on Friday, but the court declined to provide details. Seselj's Radical Party said he would appear at a rally of supporters in central Belgrade on Nov. 15.

"We spoke this morning and he sounded upbeat," said Vjerica Radeta, a party official. She said they did not know what day he would return home.

Seselj is accused of inciting followers to commit murder, ethnic cleansing and other war crimes in multi-ethnic Bosnia and in Croatia during the wars. At least 120,000 people died in conflicts, the great majority of them in Bosnia.

Reporting By Anthony Deutsch and Aleksandar Vasovic

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