Hadzic refuses to plead at ICTY

[JURIST] Accused war criminal Goran Hadzic [ICTY backgrounder] on Monday refused to enter a plea before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Hadzic was extradited to The Hague [JURIST report] last Friday, where he now awaits trial for war crimes [indictment text]. Hadzic was the last fugitive of the original 161 sought by the ICTY and was arrested last week [JURIST report]. Hadzic waived his right to appeal extradition and, after visiting with a few relatives in Serbia, was flown to The Hague. The court has not set any dates for further appearances. There has been international praise for Hadzic's arrest. Earlier last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] commended [text] President Tadic and the Serbian authorities "for their leadership in ending impunity for those indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law."

Hadzic was a key player in the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive] and has been at large for approximately seven years. Hadzic's official charges [case information sheet, PDF] are: persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds; extermination; murder; torture; inhumane acts; deportation and forcible transfer; cruel treatment; wanton destruction of villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity; destruction or willful damage done to institutions dedicated to education and religion; and plunder of public or private property. Hadzic's indictment contends that, in his role as president of the Serbian nationalist forces during the war, he attempted to permanently and forcibly remove a majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from the disputed territory. He is accused of murdering or ordering the murders of hundreds of non-Serb citizens, including children and the elderly. Further, he allegedly displaced more than 20,000 non-Serb civilians. Hadzic was found near the small Serbian village of Krusedol [B92 report], living under a false name. Although he was armed, he did not resist arrest. He was discovered after attempting to sell a painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, in order to obtain funds to facilitate his hiding. Hadzic was also reportedly harbored by members of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) [official website]. Hadzic was the final remaining war criminal at large from the Bosnian Civil War, along with Ratko Mladic [JURIST news archive], who was arrested in May [JURIST report].

 

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