Serbia arrests Goran Hadzic, the last Yugoslav war fugitive
Goran Hadzic, the last war crimes fugitive from the Yugoslav wars, has been arrested, according to Serb officials.
They gave no details but confirmed a report by B92 television news in Belgrade that Hadzic had been caught after spending eight years on the run. Serbia's president, Boris Tadic, has called a press conference at which he is
expected to formally announce the arrest, made two months after the climactic arrest of the Bosnian Serb, Ratko Mladic, who is in the custody of The Hague war crimes tribunal.
Hadzic's arrest brings to an end the long post-Yugoslav manhunt. Of the 161 war crimes suspects indicted , 131 were caught or turned themselves in. Of the remaining 30, 20 had their indictments withdrawn and 10 died before being caught.
"Not a bad record," a tribunal official commented.
Hadzic's capture will add weight to Serbia's bid to become a member of the European Union. He led the ethnic Serb enclave of Krajina inside Croatia from the collapse of Yugoslavia and the start of the Balkan wars in 1991 until the region was overrun by Croatian forces in 1995. Hadzic was charged in 2004 by the tribunal in The Hague with leading the "ethnic cleansing" of Krajina, driving out Croats and other non-Serbs. The indictment included war crimes and crimes against humanity, including "persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, extermination, murder, torture, deportation and forcible transfer" as well as "wanton destruction ... or devastation".
A total of 10,000 people died in the fighting in Croatia, with a further 100,000 killed in Bosnia and an estimated 10,000 in Kosovo.
Following Mladic's arrest on 26 May, Tadic said it lifted a stain from Serbian history. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said it moved Serbia closer to EU membership. Writing in the Guardian, she said: "We never expected the process to be quick or easy. The wounds of history take time to heal. There is much unfinished business throughout the region. But the hope of joining the EU, and sharing in its ideals and prosperity, has provided a powerful incentive to settle old differences."