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Photo of Goran Hadžić at US Department of State.
Goran Hadžić ( ; born 7 September, 1958, Vinkovcimarker, SFR Yugoslaviamarker), an ethnic Serbian politician from Croatiamarker, is a suspected war criminal and currently at large.

Prior to the Croatian War of Independence, Hadžić worked as a warehouseman. He became politically active in his youth as a member of the League of Communists. In the late 1980s, Hadžić joined the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and quickly rose through the ranks.

On June 25, 1991, a group of eastern Slavonianmarker Serbs organized a congress (Velika narodna skupština Slavonije Baranje i Zapadnog Srema) where they decided to constitute a "Serb Autonomous Oblast" (SAO) of the region, the SAO Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, and also to separate the region from the Republic of Croatia which was still part of Yugoslavia. Goran Hadžić was elected as a candidate to lead the entity's government.

Soon afterwards, this SAO joined with two others and formed the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK).
Hadžić in 1992


On February 26, 1992, the Assembly of the RSK replaced Milan Babić with Hadžić as the new Premier of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Babić was deposed because he argued against the Vance peace plan, unlike Milošević. Hadžić was reported to have boasted that he was "a messenger for Slobodan Milošević". He held the leadership position until December 1994.

In September 1993, when Croatia started Operation Medak pocket, Hadžić sent an urgent request to Belgrade for reinforcements, arms and equipment. The request was ignored by the Serbian officials, but around 4,000 paramilitaries under the command of "Arkan" (the "Serb Volunteer Guard") arrived, along with others, to bolster the army of RSK.

In February 1994, Hadžić's presidency ended when Milan Martic was elected President. In 1995, he threatened to have Eastern Slavonia secede from Krajina because of plans to unite Krajina with Republika Srpska.[304960]

After Operation Storm in August 1995, parts of RSK in eastern Slavonia remained outside the Croatian government's control. Between 1996 and 1997, Hadžić was President of the Srem-Baranja district, after which the region was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia under the provisions of the Erdut Agreement. Hadžić's subsequent whereabouts were unknown.

Hadžić 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 the Republic of Croatia between 1991 and 1993. His indictment specifically names the 1991 Vukovar massacremarker of 250 civilians, mostly Croats, from the Vukovar hospital - one of the first atrocities of the war.

In 2004, as he was about to be arrested, Hadžić disappeared from his home in Novi Sadmarker, Serbia. In 2005 Serbian media began reporting that he may be hiding in a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Irigmarker, Serbiamarker or in Bijela, Montenegromarker. He is also said to be hiding in Belarusmarker. There have been some calls for Hadžić's trial to be transferred to Croatia or Serbia, given his eventual apprehension.

References

  1. Goran Hadzic Still Evades Justice
  2. HHO President: Hadzic Should Be Tried in Croatia


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