This is the final defendant in the ICTY was released after the arrest last May, the former commander Ratko Mladic Bosnian Serb military. This was the last of the international fugitives wanted for war crimes in former Yugoslavia, as a further step towards integration into European structures Serbia.
Hadzic’s arrest is “an important new step for Serbia to realize its European perspective and is equally crucial for international justice”, they said in a statement the presidents of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the EC, José Manuel DuraoBarroso and EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton.
The arrest of Hadzic, former leader Serbo-Croat, “sends a positive signal” to the EU, Serbia’s neighbors and especially the Serbian rule of law itself, they added. “The Serbian nation is in the process of confronting the past and turn the page toward a better future in Europe”, stressed community leaders.
Barroso called Ashton and Hadzic be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY in The Hague), which is the last defendant who was still at large after the arrest last May of Ratko Mladic, Bosnian Serb military leader during the Bosnian war (1992-95).
“End of a painful chapter”
For his part, Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, found that, after the capture and send to The Hague of Mladic, Hadzic’s arrest “will close the painful chapter in recent European history.”
Rasmussen congratulated the Serbian authorities to fulfill their international obligations and said the country’s future lies in “constructive cooperation with its neighbors and the Euro-Atlantic family.”
NATO remains committed to supporting the entire Western Balkans on their way towards integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.