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Former Croatian Serb Leader Hadzic Refuses To Enter Plea At UN Tribunal


Goran Hadzic (right) makes his initial appearance to stand trial for alleged crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague on July 25.
Croatian Serb former wartime leader Goran Hadzic has refused to enter a plea to war crimes charges over the 1991-95 Croatian conflict in his first appearance at the UN's war crimes tribunal.

Hadzic, 52, was arrested in Serbia last week and transferred to The Hague on July 22 -- the last of Serbia's major war crimes suspects sought by the United Nations war crimes tribunal after the arrest in May of wartime Serb General Ratko Mladic.

Hadzic faces 14 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes -- including the destruction of the Danube town of Vukovar and the 1991 massacre by Croatian Serb forces of more than 250 prisoners there.

"We still have around 400 missing people in Vukovar. The members of their families are hoping to find some clues," Vukovar Mayor Zeljko Sabo, a former member of Vukovar liberation brigade, told RFERL 's Balkan Service. "They believe that during the Hadzic trial, they can find out what happened to their relatives, parents, brothers, and friends."

Sabo added that "we in Vukovar who met Hadzic personally and were aware of his own capabilities, we believe that he was not alone, that there were a lot of other people who are responsible for what was going on in Vukovar after its fall. I am expecting truth and justice."

Hadzic was the final Serbian fugitive that the international tribunal has been seeking custody of to face trial in connection with the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.

based on RFE/RL and agency reports