Serbia Arrests Last Remaining Fugitive Sought by UN Tribunal

Posted July 20th, 2011 at 12:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Serbian authorities say they have apprehended Goran Hadzic, the only remaining fugitive sought by the United Nations war crimes tribunal.

Serbian President Boris Tadic confirmed that Hadzic was arrested Wednesday morning in the mountainous region of Fruska Gora, about 65 kilometers north of Belgrade.

The leader of Croatia's rebel Serbs during the country's conflict in the 1990s, Hadzic went on the run following his 2004 indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is charged with ordering the killing of hundreds and the deportation of thousands of non-Serbs from Croatia.

Mr. Tadic said the arrest closes “a burdensome and gloomy page” in Serbian history. Hadzic's arrest was the final demand of The Hague following the May apprehension of Bosnian Serb military Chief Ratko Mladic.

Serbia's chief war crimes prosecutor, Vladimir Vukcevic, said Hadzic was running out of money. The prosecutor said the break for authorities searching for Hadzic came when he tried to sell a stolen painting by the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani.

The European Union said on Wednesday that it “strongly welcomes” the arrest, saying it is an “important step” towards Serbian efforts to join the European Union.

A judge entered a not guilty plea on 11 charges against Ratko Mladic earlier this month after he berated judges and refused to enter a plea at his war crimes trial at The Hague.

Mladic faces life in prison if convicted of charges of orchestrating the Srebrenica massacre and the 44-month siege of Bosnia's capital city, Sarajevo, in which 10,000 people died.