Vukovar in 1991 was the scene of a massacre for which Goran Hadzic is being held responsible. Almost 300 men perished after Serb forces took the Vukovar hospital despite a promise to evacuate it.
Instead they reneged on an agreement with the Red Cross, denied international observers access and smuggled prisoners in buses to a wooded area where many were beaten and the majority of male prisoners killed.
The massacre happened in Ovcara, close to Vukovar where the bodies were buried in a mass grave. Up to 4,000 prisoners were also held there in a temporary camp.
Among the reactions to Hadzic’s arrest is the hope he can give details of where some graves are and that justice will be served for those who were killed.
“I am very glad that he was arrested; it was about time. Let him say everything he knows and we will be happy if he tells us where the graves of our loved ones are,” said Manda Patko of the Vukovar Mothers’ Association
Ivan Lukic,a war veteran gave his reaction: “It is obvious that war veterans and prisoners of war from Vukovar welcome Hadzic’s arrest as he committed the most horrible war crime in Croatia. In our POW association we pay respect to our living and we owe truth to our dead when people like Hadzic will be put to justice.”
Along with the slaughter in Vukovar, Goran Hadzic is also being held responsible for the deportation of 20,000 from the town after it was captured.
One survivor summed up the feeling in Vukovar by saying Hadzic’s arrest is of greater importance for him than the detention of Ratko Mladic.