Legal landmark passed as Yugoslav war crimes tribunal's last trial gets under way
Goran Hadzic is seen in the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia( ICTY) during his initial appearance in The Hague, Netherlands on July 25, 2011. (AP /Jerry Lampen)
Published Wednesday, October 17, 2012 7:11AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 17, 2012 9:12PM EDT
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Twenty years after war in Croatia catapulted Goran Hadzic from warehouse worker to rebel Serb president, he is in the dock in the final trial at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal.
Hadzic's trial, in its second day Wednesday, underscores that international courts, often maligned for their failure to get suspects into custody, can bring to justice once-untouchable leaders accused of atrocities.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was the first war crimes court set up since the aftermath of World War II and helped lay the legal foundations for the permanent International Criminal Court.
While the ICC has only a handful of suspects in custody a decade after its establishment, Hadzic is defendant number 161 -- out of 161 indicted -- to go on trial at the Yugoslav tribunal.