Suing Vojislav Seselj: One Croat’s Bid to Make Serb Nationalist Leader Pay

Franjo Baricevic was born in 1953 in the small village of Hrtkovci, near the town of Ruma in Serbia's northern Vojvodina region, where his family had lived for several generations.

"My mother - or, rather, my great-grandfather, grandfather and mother - always lived in Hrtkovci, whereas my father originally came from Lika in present-day Croatia," Baricevic told the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in October 2008.

After completing secondary school and doing his Yugoslav military service, Baricevic went to Zagreb, where he spent three years working and doing additional vocational training.

"After three years, I went back to Hrtkovci where I started working for the waterworks. I worked there as a maintenance worker up until 1992," he told the Hague-based war crimes court.

Hrtkovci was an ethnically-mixed village. But after the Croatian war broke out and Croats living in Serbia came under pressure from nationalist threats, Baricevic decided to leave in May 1992.

Like many other Croats who lived in Vojvodina, he was forced to swap his home in Serbia for a house in Croatia owned by a Serb family that now, because of the war, wanted to live in Serbia.

Baricevic still lives in Croatia. Some 30 years after he was forced to leave Hrtkovci, he launched a case for compensation damage at the Civil Department of the Higher Court in Belgrade.

He is suing the state of Serbia and the leader of the nationalist Serbian Radical Party leader, Vojislav Seselj, over a speech he made in Hrtkovci in May 1992, which Baricevic argues was the reason why he had to leave.

In the speech, Seselj said that "there is no room for Croats" in Hrtkovci. In the wake of the speech, the remaining Croats in the village were...

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