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ICTY opens final war crimes trial

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Tuesday opened the trial of Goran Hadzic [ICTY backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the last suspect to be tried by the court. Hadzic, one 161 people tried by the ICTY, is accused [indictment, PDF] of committing crimes against humanity and violating the law and customs of war in contravention of articles 5 and 7 of the ICTY statute [text, PDF]. He allegedly coordinated, supported and instigated 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." These efforts included exterminations, murders, attacks, forced labor, deportation, destruction of property and robbery.

In August 2011 Hadzic entered a not guilty plea [JURIST report] at the ICTY. Hadzic had refused to enter a plea [JURIST report] the previous month when he was extradited to The Hague [JURIST report]. 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].

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