Serbian war crimes suspect told The Hague Tribunal he knew the whereabouts of the two most wanted fugitives, Belgrade media reported.
Vojislav Seselj, leader of the hardline nationalist Serbian Radical Party, himself on trial before the International War Crimes Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, said he had knowledge of the whereabouts of the Bosnian Serb wartime political and military leaders, Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic.
Seselj told the court he would sacrifice himself in order to protect them, however, and would only call on Karadzic and Mladic to testify in his defence if they were guaranteed free passage from The Netherlands after giving evidence.
The Radicals are the largest single party in Serbiaâ€™s 250-seat parliament. Their leader in Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, was runner-up in presidential elections in February, winning more than 2 million votes and narrowly losing to the pro-Western candidate, Boris Tadic.
Nikolic said Seseljâ€™s statement on protecting the two fugitives would not bind his hands if the Radicals won the early parliamentary vote on May 11.
The arrest and handover of Karadzic and Mladic are a pre-condition for Serbiaâ€™s bid to join the European Union.
Nikolic agreed that â€œthere is a chance that Seselj knows [the two menâ€™s whereabouts] but how am I supposed to know? I donâ€™t know where they areâ€.
Seselj voluntarily surrendered to The Hague Tribunal in 2003 before the assassination of the then centrist prime minister, Zoran Djindjic.
He is charged in connection with war crimes that his units allegedly committed in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1991-1995 wars and has pleaded not-guilty.
Karadzic and Mladic were twice indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity in 1995.â€¨Mladic is widely believed to be hiding in Serbia, while Karadzicâ€™s whereabouts are thought to lie between Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.
Nikolic said that if the two fugitives were in Serbia, Tadic would have located them, or, as other fugitives had done, they would have voluntarily surrendered.