Serbia Hands Over Hadzic to United Nations War Crimes Court

Serbia put war suspect Goran Hadzic on a plane to the Netherlands-based United Nations war crimes tribunal to answer for his role in a 1990s Balkan conflict after he dodged arrest for seven years.

Just days after being caught on Mt. Fruska Gora in northern Serbia, he waived his right to appeal the extradition in Belgrade and was flown to The Hague, Justice Minister Snezana Malovic said in Belgrade today. Hadzic, 52, stands accused of crimes against humanity, including murder, in the conflict that began in 1991 with Croatia’s independence from Yugoslavia and an attempt by ethnic Serbs there to create their own state within Croatia.

“This closes the most difficult chapter in Serbia’s cooperation with The Hague tribunal,” Malovic said and pledged “continuing support to international justice.”

The capture of the last fugitive sought in connection to the 1990s wars brings Serbia closer to its goal of becoming an EU member. Three top suspects, Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, have been arrested since the government led by the pro-Western Democratic Party took office in 2008.

Malovic said Serbia will continue cooperating with the U.N. tribunal by giving it access to documents in state archives and witnesses.

The 14-point indictment against Hadzic includes accusations of wanton destruction, torture and forced deportation in the war that left 10,000 dead on both sides. He will also answer for summary execution of more than 250 prisoners near Vukovar in eastern Croatia.