THE HAGUE | 24.07.2011.

GORAN HADZIC’S INDIVIDUAL AND COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY

The amended indictment against the former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina was made public Friday evening. Hadzic is charged with participation in the joint criminal enterprise aimed at forcible and permanent removal of Croats from parts of Croatia under Serb control. The accused planned, instigated or ordered crimes and failed to take ‘necessary and reasonable measures’ to prevent crimes committed by his subordinates

Goran Hadzic will enter his plea before Judge O-Gon Kwon on Monday to the counts in the indictment charging him with participation in the joint criminal enterprise aimed at forcible and permanent removal of a majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population through commission of crimes from almost one third of the Croatian territory to make the territory a part of the new state under the Serb domination. The territory is also known as the Serb Autonomous Regions, of Krajina, of Western Slavonia, and of [Eastern] Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem (SBWS). On 26 February 1992, the regions were united in the so-called Republic of Serbian Krajina.

The joint criminal enterprise lasted from 1 April 1991 to December 1993. Goran Hadzic’s participation in the joint criminal enterprise, the prosecution alleges, began no later than 25 June 1991 when he was appointed the prime minister of the self-proclaimed SBWS. In that period, practically all the Croats and other non-Serbs were expelled from the RSK. Hadzic was elected RSK president in February 1992 and held the post until December 1993. Other members of the joint criminal enterprise include Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, RSK presidents Milan Babic and Milan Martic, Serbian MUP officials Radmilo Bogdanovic, Radovan Stojicic, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, the Serbian Customs Service chief Mihalj Kertes, JNA generals Veljko Kadijevic and Blagoje Adzic and paramilitary leaders Vojislav Seselj and Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan. The indictment describes closely Hadzic’s rise from the president of the local commune of Pacetin, in Vukovar, and a storeman in the VUPIK factory to an SDS official in Croatia, prime minister and president of the self-proclaimed and unrecognized Republic of Serbian Krajina.

Hadzic faces charges listed in 14 counts of the indictment. The first count alleges persecution of Croats on political, religious, racial or religious grounds through murder, arrest and torture of civilians, deportation, introduction of discriminatory measures and destruction of their property. In counts 2 to 4 of the indictment, Hadzic is charged with extermination and murder of hundreds of Croats. Among them are the 264 Croats executed at the Ovcara farm near Vukovar in November 1991. The annex to the indictment lists names of Croat and Hungarian civilians from Erdut, Dalj and other places in Eastern Slavonia who were killed by the armed forces of the SAO SBWS and paramilitary units from Serbia, primarily those under Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan.

In counts 5 to 9, Hadzic is charged with imprisonment, torture and cruel treatment of prisoners at several locations, like the Ovcara farm and Velepromet in Vukovar, several detention facilities in Erdut, Dalj and Borovo Selo and in five locations in Serbia, where Croatian detainees were brought to, such as the farms in Stajicevo and Begejci, the JNA barracks in Zrenjanin and military prisons in Sid and Sremska Mitrovica. Counts 10 and 11 describe the deportation and forcible transfer of non-Serbs implemented by launching military attacks on the villages to make the inhabitants flee and by expelling the remaining inhabitants after the Serb forces overran them. The indictment alleges that 47% Croats lived in the Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem according to the pre-war census, carried out in 1991. By 1993, almost all the Croats were forcibly removed, deported or killed. Finally, counts 12 to 14 in the indictment charge Hadzic with wanton destruction and looting of property belonging to non-Serb civilians in Dalj, Vukovar, Erdut, Lovas and other places in eastern Croatia.

The first indictment, issued in May 2004, charged Hadzic with crimes under Article 7(1) of the Tribunal’s Statute: individual responsibility for ‘planning, instigating, ordering, committing or aiding’ the war crimes. One day before Hadzic’s arrest in Serbia, the Trial Chamber issued a confidential decision granting the prosecution motion of 1 June 2011 in which it sought leave to amend the indictment with counts charging Hadzic under Article 7(3) with command responsibility for the crimes committed by his subordinates because he failed to take ‘necessary and reasonable measures’ to prevent their crimes. The Trial Chamber also allowed the prosecution to amend the indictment as regards Hadzic’s involvement in the joint criminal enterprise, the cooperation of forces under his control with Arkan’s Tigers unit and to add a number of new locations to the counts alleging persecution and wanton destruction.

Goran Hadzic stands accused of the same crimes as the RSK president Milan Babic and his successor in office, Milan Martic. The prosecution alleges that Hadzic’s crimes were committed in other locations: persecution, murder and other crimes were allegedly committed in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem. Babic and Martic were tried for crimes in towns and villages in Krajina: Bruska, Bacin, Skabrnja, Saborsko and others. Hadzic’s indictment mentions Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan about a dozen times. Martic’s indictment listed Arkan only once as a participant of the same joint criminal enterprise. Arkan is not mentioned at all in the indictment against Babic.

Milan Babic pleaded guilty to the crime of persecution of non-Serbs in Krajina and was sentenced to 13 years. He was in the middle of his testimony at the trial of Milan Martic in March 2003 when he committed suicide in the Tribunal’s Detention Unit. After a year-long trial in which he denied all allegations in the indictment, Milan Martic was sentenced to 35 years. Martic is currently serving his sentence in Estonia.