Hadzic arraigned in The Hague

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At the Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague, former Croatian Serb president Goran Hadzic has refused to enter a plea on all 14 points of the indictment. The South Korean judge Kwon O-gon has given Mr Hadzic 30 days extra to reflect on the matter, which means the first arraignment session will be continued in a month.

Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz accuses Goran Hadzic of murder, torture, deportation and other crimes committed against ethnic Croats during ethnic cleansings in Serb-controlled regions of Croatia between 1991 and 1993.

Goran Hadzic was arrested in Serbia on Wednesday; he was the last fugitive on a list of 161 suspected war criminals drawn up by the Yugoslavia Tribunal in 1993. He was flown from Belgrade to the United Nations Detention Unit at the Scheveningen prison on Friday.

Fatigue Goran Hadzic looked tired during Monday’s session. He had discussed the indictment with his lawyer Vladimir Petrovic, but nevertheless wanted more time for reflection. The court’s procedural rules allow for such a situation.

Observers say Goran Hadzic does not have the same importance as did prominent suspects such as Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, but during a Friday press conference, Mr Brammertz nevertheless characterised him as an “important political figure” during the wars that broke out during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, and was present in court on Monday.

Tadic Mr Hadzic was arraigned in the same court room as Dusko Tadic, the first Bosnian Serb suspect to be arraigned by the Yugoslavia Tribunal on 26 April 1995.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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