Europe Hails Karadzic Arrest in Belgrade
By Sonja Pace London
22 July 2008
European politicians have welcomed the arrest of former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who is wanted for war crimes committed in Bosnia during the 1990’s. VOA’s Sonja Pace reports from London Karadzic is expected to be extradited to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague. After being on the run for more than a decade, Radovan Karadzic was arrested by Serb security forces and is in custody in Belgrade.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the arrest shows the Serbian government’s readiness to move closer to the European Union.
“We have always believed that Serbia has a place in the European family and a place in the European family depends on economics, it depends on culture, it depends on politics, but it also depends on the European values of justice and human rights,” he said.
There has been increasing pressure on Belgrade from the European Union and the United States to track down accused war criminals. Karadzic and his one-time military commander Ratko Mladic topped the list. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also welcomed the arrest and said it shows the new government in Belgrade is cooperating.
Bosnian Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic in an April 1996 file photo during and on the right, Karadzic in an undated photo released by Belgrade’s “Healthy Life” magazineFormer British foreign secretary and Balkans peace negotiator David Owen says the EU approach of supporting democratic forces in Serbia by opening a dialogue with Belgrade on possible EU membership has borne fruit.
“I think the political judgment was you had to show more warmth and more recognition of the problems they face if you were going to get results and they have now got results,” said Owen. Owen was interviewed on British radio. He said that while Belgrade has taken an important step in arresting Karadzic, it faces an even more daunting task of tracking down and arresting Mladic.
Speaking for the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, prosecution spokeswoman Olga Kavran said the arrest of Karadzic should serve as a warning to others.
“It clearly demonstrates that nobody is beyond the reach of the law, and that sooner or later all fugitives will be brought to justice,” she said.Karadzic remains in custody in Belgrade as legal requirements are fulfilled to allow his transfer to the U.N. tribunal.Source: Voice of America
Not surprisingly, Communist Party of the Russian Federation Chairman Gennady Zyuganov has condemned Karadzic’s arrest, comparing the Bosnian Serb leader’s “plight” to that of deceased communist dictator Slobodan Milosevic, another “victim” of Western imperialism. Zyuganov also has choice words for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, describing the United Nations tribunal as a “punitive body, which is carrying out reprisal against the Serbs.”
The Russian Communist Party categorically condemns the actions taken by the Serb authorities, which, giving in to the blackmail of the West, intend to extradite Karadzic to the biased court in The Hague. A number of Western countries have used all forms of political, economic and media pressure on the Serb authorities on this matter [and] the pro-Western government of Serbia has taken this unseemly step. The possible extradition of Karadzic to the ICTY is a desecration of the idea of international justice.
The Hague tribunal has turned into a punitive body, which is carrying out reprisal against the Serbs. This is confirmed by the death of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic in a ICTY prison, and also the deaths of two other Serb leaders, who died in ICTY prisons or during arrests. The same is indicated by the years-long imprisonment of Vojislav Sheshel in an ICTY prison. Karadzic’s arrest is especially outrageous with the background of the rulings issued in the cases involving Croatian and Albanian criminals responsible for the gruesome killings of civilians, ethnic cleansing, and the destruction of Yugoslavia, who have been cleared by the ICTY.
The ICTY is to stop its operation before the end of this year under a decision made by the UN Security Council. This leads us to believe that Karadzic’s arrest is aimed at creating a pretext for the resumption of the operation of this illegitimate body, which costs up a quarter of a billion dollars each year to maintain.
It is clear from Zyuganov’s comments that Karadzic played an important role in the wider Soviet strategic deception, designed to propagate the falsehood that world communism in general and Yugoslav communism in particular is dead. The Soviet communist leader’s comments are also disengenuous because the UN is a communist project while Serbia’s new “pro”-Western government is comprised in part by Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia, which was formerly known as the League of Communists of Serbia.