Serbia: Final Hague war crimes suspect arrested

News
July 20, 2011

Serbia: Final Hague war crimes suspect arrested

The arrest today of the last Serbian suspect wanted by a UN international criminal tribunal is a further step towards justice for the victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Croatia, Amnesty International said today.

Goran Hadžić is accused of joint criminal responsibility for the murder, imprisonment and forced labour of Croat and other civilians from 1991 to 1993.

He had been on the run since the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted him in 2004.

“This long overdue arrest will bring justice at last to the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Croatia,” said Sian Jones, Amnesty International’s Serbia researcher.  

“Goran Hadžić’s arrest underscores the continuing and urgent need for authorities in countries of the former Yugoslavia to investigate and, where there is sufficient admissible evidence, to prosecute those suspected of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.”

“There are tens of thousands of such suspects where national authorities have failed to open any investigation.”

“They must show political will and perseverance, while the international community should monitor the progress of domestic courts in bringing the perpetrators to justice for the horrific crimes committed by all sides to the conflicts and provide financial and other assistance where needed.”

As President of the self-declared Croatian Serb Republic of Krajina, Hadžić allegedly ordered the forcible removal of Croats and others from the territory between 1991 and 1993.

Among the war crimes Hadžić has been linked with is the November 1991 torture and murder of more than 250 Croats and others who were taken from the Vukovar hospital to Ovčara farm by members of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and paramilitary groups.

Hadžić’s arrest comes less than two months after the arrest of the Bosnian Serb former general Ratko Mladić.

“The Security Council must now ensure that the Tribunal has the time and resources to conduct the trial of both Goran Hadžić and Ratko Mladić in accordance with the highest standards of international justice,” said Sian Jones.