Karadzic’s first appearance at The Hague – will his trial be fair?
Radovan Karadzic has finally appeared in public without his disguise for the first time in more than a decade. The former Bosnian Serb leader looked gaunt after 11 years on the run as he stood before a judge at a United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Some media commentators said he was a shadow of his former self but there were still signs of defiance from the man who defied the West for so long during the 1992-95 Bosnia war. Some said his performance brought back memories of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader who died in detention in 2006 before his trial at The Hague ended.
Karadzic says it is unimaginable that he could get a fair trial because the world’s media have already branded him a war criminal.
Here’s what some of the world’s media are saying about him and his trial.
The Paris-based International Herald Tribune said Karadzic “seemed a shadow of the flamboyant ideologue who incited Bosnian Serbs to follow him into an ethnic war that turned into genocide.” It quoted specialists who say that prosecuting the case against Karadzic will be simpler than the case against Milosevic.
The Washington Post said Karadzic was purse-lipped and defiant. “In remarks cut short by the judge, the former Bosnian Serb leader suggested he would attempt to expose alleged double-dealing by the West, particularly the United States, in the wake of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. That could presage the kind of political grandstanding that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who also represented himself, used to sidetrack his prosecution before he died in his cell at the tribunal’s detention center in 2006.”
The Financial Times in London said that unlike Milosevic, Karadzic had not sought to question the court’s legitimacy but tried to score procedural points. The Independent newspaper in London said justice must be quick but “the most difficult dilemma is how to give a fair trial to a man who wants to be tried unfairly.”
The Sydney Morning Herald and the Gulf Daily News highlighted Karadzic’s allegations a deal was offered by the United States. The Chinese news agency Xinhua highlighted the fact that Karadzic was gravely concerned about his life because he said the United States might be seeking to “liquidate” him.
An article in the Gulf Daily News also noted: “Mothers of those killed in the Srebrenica massacre sat around a television set in their small Sarajevo office and charged that Karadzic was given rights that their husbands and sons were denied.”
The Arab News contained an article portraying Karadzic as a “showman who always sought the limelight”.
What did you think of Karadzic’s appearance and what do you expect of his trial? Will it be fair?