Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mladic and Karadzic Arrest Story

As of yet, we have not seen Radko Mladic turning up in The Hague. But I still stick to the basic analysis of the situation that I did here a week or two ago.

That's in all probability how things still are.

Awaiting further development, some history of the issue never hurts.

Ambassador Bill Montgomery was Special Representative of the President of the United States for peace implementation in Bosnia in the years immediately after the war. We worked together intensely on all sorts of issues.

Later, he served as US Ambassador in first Zagreb and then Belgrade. Today, he has retired from the US diplomatic service, but writes a regular column that appears in some of the main newspapers of the region.

In his latest column, he goes into some of the history of why Mladic and Karadzic are not yet in The Hague. He knows what he is talking about:

"I remember very well in 1996 and early 1997, when Western military strength in Bosnia was at the height of its power, the senior officials of the uniformed and civilian sides of the United States Department of Defense absolutely refused to have anything to do with the apprehension of war criminals in Bosnia."

"At that time, Karadzic drove freely through military checkpoints on the way to political rallies. Ratko Mladic gave interviews while skiing on Jahorina. Even when our attitude towards this process began to change, there was continued resistance from at least one prominent NATO country with direct military responsibility in Bosnia for areas where it would be most likely to find Karadzic in particular. If we would have done what was necessary in the immediate post-Dayton period, it would have eliminated a lot of heartache and moved the whole process along significantly faster."

I can certainly confirm that story, although the statement that Karadizic drove freely through military checkpoints is somewhat of an exaggeration. He was not a courageous man.

There was however a truly massive reluctance throughout the NATO chain of command - the senior commanders on all levels of relevance being American - to address the issue.

Simply speaking, they had no intention whatsoever to do anything to arrest either of them.

That's the history.

Now we are pressing the countries of the region to do what we couldn't do when it was relatively easy.

There isn't always fairness in history. Posted by Picasa