Last Balkans conflict fugitive captured

July 20, 2011 at 3:49 PM

BELGRADE, Serbia, July 20 (UPI) -- Goran Hadzic, the last Serbian fugitive wanted for war crimes in the Balkans conflict, was captured in a village north of Belgrade, President Boris Tadic said.

Hadzic was the last remaining fugitive of the 161 individuals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia based in The Hague, The Netherlands, the United Nations said Wednesday in a release. The tribunal indicted Hadzic in 2004 but he fled his home in Novi Sad before the indictment was delivered and had been a fugitive since.

Hadzic, former president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina, was indicted for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in the eastern Croatian city of Slavonia between 1991 and 1992, the United Nations said.

He allegedly participated in exterminating or murdering hundreds of Croats and other non-Serb civilians, deporting or forcibly transferring tens of thousands of them, and imprisoning and confining hundreds of them in detention facilities within and outside of Croatia, the United Nations said.

"Hadzic's arrest marks another milestone in the tribunal's history and brings this institution closer to the successful completion of its mandate," Judge O-Gon Kwon, acting tribunal president.

Hadzic's capture came less than two months after the arrest of wartime Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic.

Tribunal prosecutor Serge Brammertz the two arrests mark a long-awaited step forward in Serbia's cooperation with the tribunal.

"Serbia has now produced visible evidence that cooperation with the tribunal is not an empty promise but a genuine commitment and we look forward to Serbia's assistance with our ongoing work," Brammertz said.

Tadic said Hadzic was arrested Wednesday morning near the village of Krusedol, on Mount Fruska Gora, B92 reported.

Tadic said Serbia "has finalized the most difficult chapters of its cooperation with The Hague, and will continue to fulfill its international obligations."

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