161 down, none to go. The calling to account of suspected war criminals after the tragedy of Yugoslavia has been perhaps the most successful operation of its kind in history.
Last month’s arrest of Goran Hadžíc, the leader of Croatia’s Serb minority during the conflict, meant that not one of the 161 people wanted for trial was still at large. Hadzic, a former warehouse worker, is alleged to have played a leading role in the destruction of the town of Vukovar in 1991, during which at least 264 people were tortured and killed.
He has already appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia which was set up back in 1993, joining Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. Ten of the people indicted by the court died before they could be brought to justice, while Slobodan Milosevic died during his trial.
A crucial factor in the successful pursuit of the suspected war criminals has been the wish of the nations of the former Yugoslavia to join the EU, which has enabled international pressure to be brought to bear on their governments, even though many local people deny that any war crimes were committed.