By Bojana Barlovac
The former Croatian Serb leader who was arrested in the Fruska Gora hills of northern Serbia on Wednesday is currently in the detention unit of Belgrade’s special court for war crimes.
At a hearing in Belgrade he did not deny his identity received the Hague Tribunal indictment against him. He did not wish to enter a plea on the charges.
As a result, this could be one of the fastest extraditions to the Hague Tribunal, as Hadzic, his lawyer said, was not appealing the court’s decision on his extradition.
The next step is for Serbian Justice Minister Snezana Malovic to sign the document on his extradition.
Vladimir Vukcevic, Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecutor, said police arrested Hadzic near the village of Krusedol, in northern Serbia, after investigators followed the trail of a painting attributed to the Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani titled “Portrait of a Man.”
“The breakthrough was information that he [Hadzic] wanted to sell a stolen Modigliani painting as he was running out of money,” Vukcevic told reporters.
“Hadzic had a false identity card and was armed, but did not resist arest,” Vukcevic added.
Hadzic faces 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the forcible removal and murder of thousands of Croatian civilians from Croatia between 1991 and 1993.
His indictment specifically mentions the massacre of 250 civilians in Vukovar, most of whom were taken from the town’s hospital after Vukovar fell to Serbian and Yugoslav Army forces in 1991.
He has been in hiding since the Tribunal indicted him in June 2004.