Goran Hadzic -- the last wanted war criminal from the Balkan Wars -- refused to enter a plea during his first appearance at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
On Monday, Hadzic was mostly silent at the opening of his trial, saying little more than his name. Presiding judge Judge O-Gon Kwon set the date for a second hearing one month from the original date. An automatic not-guilty plea will be entered on Hadzic's behalf if he doesn't make a plea by that point.
The trial may not stay permanently in the U.N. tribunal, however. Croatia has requested that Hadzic be moved from the international courts to be tried for war crimes committed in the Croatian town of Vukovar.
The Hague has charged Hadzic for a massacre in Vukovar in 1991, when his Serbian forces took 260 Croatian prisoners of war to a hospital and shot them to death. The Tribunal has said that it is taking the request into consideration, but will not comment until a decision has been made.
Croatia tried Hadzic for a number of war crimes in absentia, and he has been sentenced to at least 40 years in prison.
The 53-year-old led the Republic of Serbian Krajina during the conflict in Croatia between 1991 and 1995. The ICTY charged him with 14 war crimes related indictments in 2004, including murder, persecution and forcible deportation. Hadzic went into hiding as soon as the arrest warrant was issued.
Serbian police tracked down Hadzic last week by monitoring his finances, and he was apprehended when his aides tried to sell a Modigliani painting in a secluded forest. Hadzic is the last of 161 people arrested in connection with atrocities that occurred during the ethnic wars in the Balkans during the 1990s.
"Serbia with this has completed its most difficult chapter in cooperation with the ICTY and Serbia will continue to fulfill its international obligations," Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Radio Television Serbia last Wednesday.