Karadzic arrest — a chance to move on

July 22, 2008

Radovan Karadzic - then and now  The capture of Radovan Karadzic
after 11 years on the run is likely
to improve Serbia’s chances of joining
the European Union and enhance the
new government’s credentials with EU
leaders. It also gives ordinary Serbs hope
of a better life, 17 years after the start of
the wars that preceded the break-up of
Yugoslavia.
    Karadzic wanted Serb areas of Bosnia to be linked to a greater
Serbia at a time when Slobodan Milosevic was fanning nationalism in
Serbia. When I first met him in November 1990, he was already
warning of civil war because of what he saw as a conspiracy against
Serbs in multi-ethnic Bosnia.
    He still has some die-hard supporters in Serbia but
otherwise there is little sympathy for the man facing genocide
charges
over the deaths of about 100,000 people in the siege of
Sarajevo and 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian town of
Srebrenica during the war.
    The U.S.-brokered Dayton peace agreement ended the war
without a clear winner, dividing the country into two
ethnic-based halves — the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serb
Republic, which have co-existed in an uneasy alliance since.
  Karadzic and Milosevic in undated photo

  Karadzic’s arrest sets the stage for a major trial at the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,
created 15 years ago to prosecute war crimes committed during
the 1992-95 Bosnia war. Milosevic, his former ally, went on
trial at the ICTY on genocide charges but died in 2003 before
the end of the trial.
    Avril McDonald, an associate lecturer at Groningen
University and a specialist on the tribunal’s proceedings, says
the Office of the Prosecutor will need to deliver a speedy and
efficient trial as the tribunal faces a deadline to wrap up
proceedings within the next couple of years. “The trial
doesn’t need to last more than a year,” McDonald said.
“They will try to get a conviction quickly.” 
    During Milosevic’s four-year trial, prosecutors called
nearly 300 witnesses and the annual budget at times ran to more
than $270 million. Milosevic chose to defend himself and used
the tribunal as a platform to advance his political views and
disrupt proceedings.
    Critics fear Karadzic could do the same. Costs will be high.
    But the arrest and trial offers many individuals a chance of
some closure on a bloody chapter in their personal lives. It
also represents an opportunity for Serbia to finally move on
after a violent period of recent history.
    “They can now begin to put the past behind them and move
forward towards Europe,” said Paddy Ashdown, who for almost four
years was peace overseer in Bosnia.

3 comments

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What are they really saying here?. The story starts out… “The capture of Radovan Karadzic after 11 years on the run is likely to improve Serbia’s chances of joining the European Union and enhance the new government’s credentials with EU
leaders.” Was it a requirement to join the union? Oh maybe the next sentence says it… “It also gives ordinary Serbs hope of a better life, 17 years after the start of the wars that preceded the break-up of Yugoslavia.”

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

Actually yes, the EU was unlikely to allow membership negotiations go forward as long as it did not have tangible evidence of full Serbian cooperation into the hunt for Balkan war criminals. There is even a precedent for this, as Croatia was originally slated to join in January 2007, but in 2006 the EU Commission gave a negative verdict as to Croatia’s cooperation with the International Tribunnal for Former Yugoslavia, as so Croatia remains out. Granted, problems with Bulgaria and Romania who have joined since make the EU weary of quickly accepting any new members from the West Balkans.

It’s true that the situation was evolving ever since the electoral victory of the moderates a few months back. The new coalition government officially signed a Stabilization and Accession Agreement with the EU only weeks ago, and now comes the news of Karadzic’s arrest. As far as EU-Serbia relations are concerned, this is a major obstacle off the road, though of course Ratko Mladic remains on the run.

I agree with you Jason that the more important aspect however is in a normalization of Serbian life and politics. The past has had a terrible grip on most of the Balkan countries and risks of a conflict re-igniting were always high while this remained the case.

Posted by Paul Vallet | Report as abusive

Another psychopathic piece of murdering excrement is brought to book.

He will be tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment where each day he will be reminded WHY he is incarcerated.

At least that is what I think is an appropriate punishment.

ANY country wishing to join the EU has to adopt the same human rights laws that we all have to abide by, as members.

Many new or aspiring member countries were dissapointed to discover that they could not import into the EU their own brand of human rights, often consisting of nothing much plus a dash of reprehensible human rights abuse.

All countries joining the EU will and must be assimilated as far as human rights are concerned.

Russia, for example, will never be allowed in until it dismantles and deconstructs it’s mafia and corruption infested system of government, and restores, full, the democratic machinery that Putin has so essentially destroyed.

Russia would, of course, have to adopt the EU human rights model before it could ever even dream of EU membership. It would also have to drop its ideas of EU domination and of using the EU as a vehicle for it’s own mafia-dominated agenda, which would include a wholesale attack on the EU human rights ethos and laws.

The world will one day adopt the EU model of human rights and it will happen much to the surprise of even the most seasoned cynics.

The days when leaders could be mad, bad and dangerous psychopathic murderers like Karadzic will one day be long gone.

We look forward to that day.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive