Does Karadzic detention give Bashir cause for concern?
The extradition of former Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic on Wednesday to
face genocide charges in The Hague sends
a signal that the international community
means business in bringing fugitives to
Reinforcing the same message,
Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor
of the International Criminal Tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia, called again
for the arrest of Bosnian Serb wartime
commander Ratko Mladic. Like Karadzic,
Mladic is accused of genocide over the
43-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995
massacre of some 8,000 Muslims at
This ought to ring alarm bells for Sudan’s president, Omar
Hassan al-Bashir, who is also accused of war crimes. But world
leaders are also sending other signals which may ease any
concerns he has that he may soon be arrested.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC)
prosecutor, has charged Bashir with masterminding a campaign of
genocide in Darfur, killing 35,000 people and persecuting 2.5
million. But the U.N. Security Council is divided over his calls
for an arrest warrant against Bashir. Some countries hope the
ICC will halt any genocide indictment in the interests of peace,
fearing any attempt to arrest him could cause more bloodshed.
Dumisani Kumalo, South Africa’s ambassador to the United
Nations, made this clear on Tuesday as the U.N Security Council
prepared to consider a South African and Libyan proposal that it
call on the ICC’s judges to refrain from taking any action.
“We are not saying ‘stop doing it’ to the prosecutor of the
ICC,” the ambassador said.
“We are saying, give peace a chance, can you just give it a
year, let’s see UNAMID deployed,” Kumalo said, referring to the
U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
UNAMID’s mandate expires on Thursday and Britain has drafted
a resolution on extending the mandate until July 31, 2009. But
South Africa and Libya want to insert a paragraph calling for a
suspension of any ICC moves. Such moves suggest Bashir, who
denies the charges against him, is unlikely to be arrested any
If arrested, Bashir would follow prominent figures such as Karadzic,
late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, former Liberian President
Charles Taylor and Congolese former rebel warlord and vice-president
Jean-Pierre Bemba into the dock.
Taylor is accused by the U.N. -backed Special Court for Sierra
Leone of orchestrating rebel atrocities during Sierra Leone’s
1991-2002 conflict. Milosevic died in detention in 2006 before a
verdict was reached in his trial on genocide charges. Bemba is
accused by the ICC of leading Congolese rebels in a campaign
of rape and torture in the Central African Republic in 2002 and
The chances of Karadzic or Milosevic being arrested and
brought to trial initially seemed slim, but political changes in
Serbia — namely the appointment of a Western-leaning government
keen to join the European Union — helped secure his arrest.
Bashir’s arrest is more complicated as he is a sitting head
of state. It also appears to depend heavily on political will
and political change — but are there any signs of this? Should
Karadzic’s arrest and detention give Bashir any real cause for