BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbia's police on Friday searched the house of a Balkan war crimes fugitive who is sought by a U.N. tribunal for atrocities committed during the Croatian war.
The results of the several-hour search in the northern city of Novi Sad were not immediately disclosed. Witnesses at the scene and the local media said police appeared to leave the house with several bags, boxes, documents and power cables.
The dwelling belongs to former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic, who is wanted for alleged crimes against non-Serbs during the 1991-95 conflict in Croatia that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.
Government official Rasim Ljajic said police also searched a house of Hadzic's sister and the office of his brother in law, but Ljajic didn't say when that action occurred or where the buildings are located.
Hadzic is one of two war crimes suspects who remain at large in the region. The other one is the former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic who is wanted for genocide during 1992-95 bloodshed in Bosnia.
Serbia must arrest Mladic and Hadzic if it wants to move closer to European Union membership.
Belgrade has faced criticism in the past for its failure to capture the two. Hadzic was last seen and photographed in his Novi Sad house in 2004, reportedly shortly before fleeing. Mladic also had lived freely in Belgrade until several years ago.
The indictment against the 51-year-old Hadzic alleges that he was responsible of murder, torture, inhumane treatment, plunder and other war crimes against Croats during the war.
The war in Croatia erupted in 1991 when it declared independence from the former Yugoslavia triggering a Belgrade-backed rebellion by the Serb minority. Thousands were killed in the conflict.