Monday, November 21, 2005

Why Milosevic's Closest Allies Aren't In The Dock With Him

I've been following this story with personal interest for years -- I could never figure out why it got in my head, outside of wanting to see justice done to war criminals. I wasn't aware that Radovan Karadzic, the political head of the Bosnian Serbs during the war and a seriously heinous man, was a sitting duck for years until he went missing just when the political will to arrest him miraculously appeared in Washington. (France doesn't come off looking very good either, I must say.) Ratko Mladic, the worst of the period's military generals, has also been in hiding and probably has a network of safe houses a thousand miles wide at this point. Every so often I check the international headlines to see if either of them have been nabbed. Nope. Never.

A bit of perspective: the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, or ICTY, has done a lot of good work over the years, fairly prosecuting hundreds of detainees of all political and ethnic stripes. (Even a few Kosovar Albanian separatists are being tried now for running the Llapushnik camp.) I mentioned, back in the first halcyon days of Lapplander, that Milosevic's trial was dragging on, and it still is, but it's better to be too thorough than too hasty in matters of international justice. And the guys tracking down the "accused at large," as the UN calls them, have had some high-profile successes recently. But the failure to catch Karadzic and Mladic, the bin Laden and al-Zawahri of Balkan fugitives, has been a continuously puzzling embarrassment.


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