Accused war criminal Goran Hadzic [ICTY backgrounder] on Wednesday entered a not guilty plea at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Hadzic had refused to enter a plea [JURIST report] in July when he was extradited to The Hague [JURIST report], where he now awaits trial for war crimes [indictment text]. Hadzic was the last fugitive of the original 161 sought by the ICTY and was arrested [JURIST report] last month. Hadzic waived his right to appeal extradition and, after visiting with a few relatives in Serbia, was flown to The Hague. The court has not set any dates for further appearances.
Hadzic was a key player in the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive] and has been at large for approximately seven years. Hadzic's official charges [case information sheet, PDF] are: persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds; extermination; murder; torture; inhumane acts; deportation and forcible transfer; cruel treatment; wanton destruction of villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity; destruction or willful damage done to institutions dedicated to education and religion; and plunder of public or private property. Hadzic's indictment contends that, in his role as president of the Serbian nationalist forces during the war, he attempted to permanently and forcibly remove a majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from the disputed territory. He is accused of murdering or ordering the murders of hundreds of non-Serb citizens, including children and the elderly. Further, he allegedly displaced more than 20,000 non-Serb civilians. Hadzic was the final remaining war criminal at large from the Bosnian Civil War, along with Ratko Mladic [JURIST news archive], who was arrested in May [JURIST report].