Hague indictee could be extradited "in less than one week"

BELGRADE -- Hague Tribunal indictee Goran Hadžić could be extradited to that tribunal in less than a week, Belgrade-based lawyer Toma Fila told Tanjug.

The law stipulates that the identity of the arrested person shall be confirmed, then the indictment shall be presented to him, after which he shall be given an opportunity to lodge an appeal.

According to Fila, the appeal would only slow the extradition process, and Hadžić's transfer to The Hague is imminent.

By signing the international agreement, Serbia assumed the obligation to extradite any indictee as soon as the national authorities capture them. Since this is not a regular extradition, Serbian Justice Minister Snežana Malović will have to sign a document on Hadžić's extradition, so that he could be transferred to The Hague, Fila explained.

As of July 25, the Hague will be taking its regular summer recess, but it is possible to hold hearings even then.

Goran Hadžić was arrested Wednesday morning on Mt. Fruška Gora in northern Serbia, by members of the Serbian Security Information Agency (BIA).

The former political leader of Serbs in Croatia was on the run for seven years, and the Hague charged him with crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war.