What awaits Hadzic in The Hague

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As soon as he arrives in the Netherlands, former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic will be driven to the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia's detention unit before facing an initial appearance.

-- THE PRISON: The ICTY's Hague-based detention unit is the main holding facility for some 35 ex-Yugoslavian detainees including Radovan Karadzic, the former Serbian political head in Bosnia and former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic.

It is situated within a Dutch prison in the seaside-suburb of Scheveningen, which also holds defendants before the International Criminal Court and Dutch prisoners in different buildings.

"While awaiting or undergoing trial the physical and emotional welfare of detainees is of paramount importance," the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said on its website, adding "all detainees lead a normal life within a secure environment."

The ICTY's detainees have the benefit of an individual cell of about 15-square-metres (160 square feet) with a bed, shelving, a sink, a washbowl, toilet and an intercom in a modern building consisting of several floors.

They are allowed to circulate freely during the day on their floor, where there are showers, a laundry as well as a lounge. Defendants are locked up in cells in the evening.

They are allowed courses in computer science, English and art and stroll for an hour a day. They also have access to a workout room with bodybuilding equipment and a gymnasium.

The detention unit also has a health centre.

-- INITIAL APPEARANCE: The ICTY's rules of procedure state that a defendant's first appearance before the court must be held "without delay" although there is no specific timeline.

At his initial appearance, Hadzic, 52, will be asked to enter a plea on the charges listed against him on the indictment as crimes against humanity and war crimes. He faces 14 counts for overseeing the murder of hundreds of civilians and the deportation of tens of thousands of Croats during the 1991-95 Croatian war. If he declines to enter a plea, he will be given another 30 days before the question is put to him again.

The ICTY's acting president, South Korea's Judge O-Gon Kwon, 57, this week assigned himself to conduct Hadzic's initial appearance, which will take place during a judicial recess.

-- TRIAL: It could take months, or even up to a year to prepare for Hadzic's trial. The trial of Karadzic, started 15 months after his arrest.

Three judges have been assigned to conduct his trial: Bahamian Judge Burton Hall, 63, Belgian Judge Guy Delvoie, 63 and Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua, 54, of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

© 2011 AFP

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