International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] war crimes defendant Goran Hadzic [ICTY backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina during the Croatian War of Independence [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], died Tuesday from brain cancer. Hadzic was accused of coordinating, supporting and instigating efforts to achieve the “permanent removal of a majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from a large part of the territory of the Republic of Croatia” during his term as president. Due to his health, Hadzic had been unfit to stand trial since October 2014 and was granted provisional release [JURIST report] in April of last year.
The ICTY commenced Hadzic’s trial [JURIST report] in October 2012. In August 2011 Hadzic entered a not guilty plea [JURIST report] at the ICTY. Hadzic had refused to enter a plea the previous month when he was extradited to The Hague [JURIST reports]. Hadzic was the last fugitive of the original 161 sought by the ICTY to be arrested [JURIST report]. The ICTY’s work in prosecuting suspected war criminals for acts committed during the Balkan War was part of the impetus for the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] and other conflict and region specific criminal tribunals. The ICTY was the first war crimes court created by the UN [ICTY backgrounder] and the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals. It was created by the UN Security Council [official website] pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter [text].