At the Milošević trial in the Hague, the accused's old political partner and dirtyworker Vojislav Šešelj, himself under indictment and awaiting trial, has been testifying for several days. AP has already noted that the spectacle has revived viewership of the trial proceedings, which had been lagging as the process continues to drag out in its fourth year. And the proceedings have certainly been interesting, from the camaraderie displayed between the co-conspirators to the lectures on pan-Slavic geopolitics Šešelj has to offer, his accusations against political opponents, regardless of whether these opponents have been murdered or those attempts failed, to his denials of responsibility or even knowledge of crimes which are well documented. It all makes for fascinating television, seeing these two people on whom many lives and deaths once depended sharing with one another their truly unusual understanding of just what it was they did.
A pointed argument from Vojislav Šešelj. Photo thanks to NNDB.
But the whole exchange between the two is not likely to contribute much to the trial. Most of what Šešelj has had to say has been a combination of his opinion of himself, his opinion of other people, and his already very well known extreme right outlook. The judges have more or less told the defendant as much, which suggests that the testimony is likely to be mostly ignored as evidence. So why are Milošević and Šešelj bothering? The whole event is dedicated to people who are no longer in power repeating the phrases that dominated the media when they were in power. They know that no generally available media outlet has offered any kind of consistent alternative to what they used to offer through the media when they controlled them. Wouldn't it be a sad irony if at the end of their long trials, they lose their legal battles but win the television show?