A Serbian nationalist who described Muslims as "excrement" and called for Croats to have their eyes gouged out at the height of the Balkans wars has had an acquittal for war crimes overturned.
Vojislav Seselj has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by the UN appeals court, two years after he was cleared of nine charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity because of an apparent lack of evidence.
But the 63-year-old, who has now been found guilty by judges in The Hague of "instigating persecution, deportation and other inhumane acts", will still be allowed to walk free because his time "has been served".
Seselj, a close ally of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic during the bloody conflict in the 1990s, had already been in custody awaiting sentence for 12 years after surrendering in 2003.
His trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he was accused of murder, persecution and torture, lasted more than eight years.
It ended with judges ruling that prosecutors had "failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubt" that Seselj was guilty of the crimes he had been charged with - a verdict heavily criticised by law experts and historians, who accused the court of "rewriting the history" of the Balkans conflicts.
Overturning the controversial verdict on Wednesday, judge Theodor Meron said: "Either the initial court ignored a substantial portion of highly relevant evidence and its own findings, or it erred in fact.
"The appeals chamber finds that no reasonable trier of fact could have concluded that there was no widespread or systematic attack against the non-Serbian population in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina."
While the new verdict has been welcomed, prosecutors - who accused Seselj of murdering scores of Croats, Muslims and other non-Serbs between 1991 and 1993 - had been seeking a 28-year sentence.
They claimed that he had encouraged Serbs "not to spare a single person" and described Muslims as "excrement" during two speeches at the height of the conflict, in which 130,000 people died.
In another address, he called for his supporters to gouge out the eyes of Croats.
Seselj, a serving politician who helped his far-right Serbian Radical Party win 23 parliamentary seats in the 2016 election, described the accusations as "lies".
He was not present in court on Wednesday as he undergoes treatment for colon cancer, but after the verdict said he did not regret his actions in the conflict and was "ready to repeat them in the future".
He has previously rejected the genocide label given to the Srebrenica massacre, which saw Bosnian Serb forces execute some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in July 1995.
Prior to the acquittal hearing, he said: "I don't care about the ruling. Now I'll go and have a siesta."
Despite Wednesday's sentence having no practical impact on Seselj, Amnesty International has welcomed the guilty verdict.
"It is now vital that the national courts step up their efforts to bring remaining perpetrators to justice," they said.
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