War Crimes Hearings Convened Bosnian Serb To Stand Trial On Murder, Rape Charges
A Bosnian Serb accused of torturing and killing dozens of Muslims at a death camp three years ago appeared before a U.N. tribunal here Wednesday as the first defendant to face an international war crimes hearing since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II.
Dusan Tadic, the only one of 22 Serbs indicted for crimes against humanity who is now in legal custody, pleaded not guilty to a long list of charges including the murder, rape and beating of Muslim and Croat neighbors during the 1992 Serb campaign of “ethnic cleansing” to drive non-Serbs from Bosnia’s Prijedor region.
The hearing, presided over by Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald of the United States, lasted only 45 minutes.
Tadic was then remanded to one of 24 special cells built by the United Nations to house Balkan war criminals at nearby Schevenigen prison. His trial is expected to begin in June.
Tadic was arrested in Germany last year and flown by helicopter here two days ago from a Munich jail to stand trial before the U.N. tribunal investigating war crimes in Yugoslavia and its former republics.
The 11-judge panel was set up by the U.N. Security Council in May 1993 after its members refused to approve military force to reverse the forced eviction of 700,000 Muslims from their homes in Bosnia.
Tadic’s extradition Monday coincided with an announcement by Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, the chief U.N. prosecutor, that his team was launching judicial proceedings into the “criminal responsibility” of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and two close associates for genocide, torture and other war crimes.
Court officials said the investigations are moving fast and that indictments may be handed down by the end of the year.