Former Croatian Serb leader Hadzic again before court

18th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic is to make his second appearance before the former Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal on August 24, the court said Thursday.

The former Croatian Serb rebel leader, arrested last month after seven years on the run, will be asked to enter a plea after he declined to do so at his first appearance before the court on July 24.

"The Trial Chamber... hereby schedules a further appearance of the accused on Wednesday, August 24 at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT)," the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said in a court order issued Wednesday and made public on Thursday.

Should he plead guilty at his next appearance proceedings move to sentencing. If he enters a not guilty plea, a trial proper was not expected to start for several months. If he declines, a not guilty plea will be entered on his behalf.

Arrested in northern Serbia's idyllic Fruska Gora mountains, the one-time leader of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina during the early 1990s is charged with 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-95 war in Croatia.

The case will include his role in the massacre by Croatian Serb troops of some 260 Croats and other non-Serbs taken from a hospital in Vukovar after it fell to Serbian troops in November 1991 following a harrowing three-month siege.

Hadzic's arrest came two months after Serbian authorities finally captured wartime Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, the court's most wanted man.

Hadzic, 52, is the last of 161 indicted suspects to appear before the tribunal.

© 2011 AFP

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