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Serb Nationalist Seselj Calls War Crimes Tribunal Illegal

Serbian ultra-nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj has denounced the United Nations' tribunal trying him for war crimes, calling it illegal and anti-Serb.

Seselj, who heads Serbia's Radical Party, faces charges of inciting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by paramilitary groups made up of his supporters during the Balkans conflicts of the 1990s.

Seselj's trial, which started Wednesday, is widely considered the most significant since that of the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

Seselj, who is defending himself, had four hours for his opening statement. In it, he said he is being tried by an illegal and illegitimate court. He also accused the tribunal, in The Hague, of falsifying his country's modern history, by accusing Serbs of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

Seselj contends 1,000 Muslim prisoners were executed in the massacre, which he called an atrocious crime, but insisted it was not genocide.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.