The Trial Chamber has granted the defense’s request to allow Goran Hadzic to return to Serbia after a brief sojourn in The Hague. Hadzic was permitted to continue his treatment in Serbia and to recuperate from chemotherapy. The Trial Chamber notes that Hadzic must return to the detention unit to undergo a new medical examination when ordered to do so. The decision has not been enforced yet, pending the decision on the prosecution’s appeal

Goran Hadzic in the courtroomGoran Hadzic in the courtroom

The Trial Chamber led by the Belgian judge Delvoie allowed former president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina Goran Hadzic to resume his provisional release in order to be able to continue his treatment and recuperate in Serbia. In November 2014, Hadzic was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When it turned out that Hadzic’s tumor was inoperable, he started chemotherapy. Hadzic has not waived his right to attend the trial and the proceedings have been suspended for months now.

In line with the Appeals Chamber’s decision of 17 April 2015, Goran Hadzic was provisionally released. On 8 May 2015, Hadzic returned to The Hague for additional examinations. Now, the judges have granted the defense’s motion and allowed Hadzic to continue battling his illness and to recuperate from chemotherapy in Serbia. The defense asked the judges to extend the provisional release until August 2015. The Trial Chamber refused to set a firm date, opting instead to state that Hadzic will be ordered to return from Serbia in order to undergo further medical examinations and possibly to attend his trial if it continues.

In its motion seeking provisional release for Hadzic the defense noted that the accused had about six to eight months to live according to medical estimations. There is still however good chance that Hadzic’s life could be extended to a year and a half.

In its decision, the Trial Chamber lists in detail the strict conditions for provisional release. On the one hand, Hadzic’s poor health requires careful monitoring and regular reporting on his condition. On the other, since Hadzic was a fugitive from the Tribunal, the Republic of Serbia, as the host country, is expected to implement strict supervisory measures. In the decision, the judges recall that the accused did not surrender voluntarily. Another factor that makes Hadzic a flight risk is the fact that the trial is in an ‘advanced stage’.

Hadzic will remain in the Detention Unit for the time being since the decision has not been enforced yet, pending the decision on the prosecution’s appeal.

Goran Hadzic is charged with the gravest war crimes against civilians and prisoners of war in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem from 1991 to 1993.