Hadzic declines to enter plea at UN war crimes court

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Wartime Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic Monday appeared before a UN war crimes court judge but declined to enter a plea on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"Your honour, Mr Hadzic is not going to enter a plea today," his lawyer Vladimir Petrovic told a judge before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Hadzic, 52, is the last fugitive among 161 indicted before the ICTY and is wanted on 14 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the war in Croatia between 1991 and 1995.

According to the ICTY's rules, Hadzic asked to be granted a 30-day delay before the judge will again put the same question to him. If he doesn't plea, an automatic "not guilty" plea will be entered on his behalf.

Arrested in northern Serbia last Wednesday after seven years on the run, Hadzic is notably wanted for his involvement in the Vukovar massacre in November 1991 were 260 Croats and other non-Serbs were murdered by Serb forces.

© 2011 AFP

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