Minister Baird Welcomes Arrest of Goran Hadžić

(No. 208 - July 21, 2011 - 10:50 a.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, today issued the following statement on the arrest by Serbian security forces of Goran Hadžić, the last remaining fugitive under indictment by the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY):

"We congratulate the Serbian government on this arrest, which comes on the heels of the arrest of Ratko Mladić. Like Mladić, Goran Hadžić stands accused of heinous crimes. Canada is pleased that he, too, will now be brought to justice.

"We hope that his transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for trial will happen at the earliest opportunity.

"We also hope this will help to bring some comfort and closure to those who suffered so deeply during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. This arrest promotes respect for international law and demonstrates Serbia’s commitment to its international responsibilities."

Goran Hadžić is under ICTY indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the forcible removal of thousands and the murder of hundreds of Croatians while political leader of the Croatian Serbs between 1991 and 1993.

The armed conflict in the Balkans in the 1990s was a major engagement for Canada. Over the years, more than 40,000 Canadian troops served in the Western Balkans to support Canada’s commitment to human rights, democracy and stability in the region. Minister Baird welcomed Hadžić’s arrest as an important contribution to these enduring goals.

Canada continues its own hunt for people who have committed war crimes and cooperates in international efforts to bring them to justice.

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