Yugoslavia War Crimes Prosecutor Says She Expects Arrest of Karadzic Very Soon
Edith M. Lederer | United Nations | June 30
AP – The lead war crimes prosecutor for former Yugoslavia said she is confident that notorious Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who has eluded capture for 10 years, would be nabbed as early as Wednesday.
Jun 30, 2004
War Crimes Prosecutor Says She Expects Arrest of Bosnian Serb Wartime Leader Karadzic by Wednesday
By Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press Writer
UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The lead war crimes prosecutor for former Yugoslavia said she is confident that notorious Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who has eluded capture for 10 years, would be nabbed as early as Wednesday.
Carla del Ponte said Karadzic, who played a key role in the Balkan wars, was being pursued, but would go no further in explaining her optimism.
“Of course I have (information). But you all understand that I cannot tell it now publicly,” Del Ponte said Tuesday. “Let’s obtain the arrest of Karadzic and after we will speak about what we have done.”
Del Ponte was responding to a question about a report that she felt Karadzic would be handed over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, this month. When a reporter noted that June ends on Wednesday, she replied: “I’m still expecting (it), yes. But let’s see.”
Del Ponte, the lead United Nations war crimes prosecutor, spoke after appearing before the U.N. Security Council. She told diplomats it was unacceptable that Karadzic and his military chief, Gen. Ratko Mladic, were still fugitives nearly 10 years after the Dayton peace agreement was signed ending the war in Bosnia.
Karadzic was the leader of Bosnia’s Serbs during the ethnic war that claimed 200,000 lives and left 1.8 million people homeless.
Serbs opposed to Bosnia’s independence from Yugoslavia fought against Muslims and Croats who supported it. The Dayton accord divided Bosnia into two mini-states – the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serb republic.
Karadzic is accused of having masterminded Bosnia’s 1992-95 war with Slobodan Milosevic, who was then the leader of Yugoslavia and who’s accused of working to create a “greater Serbia.” Milosevic is currently being tried at The Hague for genocide.
Karadzic and Mladic were indicted in 1995 by the U.N. tribunal on charges of genocide for their alleged roles in atrocities that included the Bosnian Serb massacre of up to 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II.
“How long will it be tolerated that these leaders escape justice?” del Ponte asked.
She placed the blame squarely on Serbia and Montenegro and the Serb-controlled half of Bosnia known as Republika Srpska.
Del Ponte told the Security Council that since December, authorities in Serbia-Montenegro had provided “almost no cooperation” with the prosecutor’s office and the country “has become a safe haven for fugitives.”
At least 15 fugitives, including Mladic, “spend most of their time there,” she said.
“According to information recently obtained, fugitives that were believed to reside in Republika Srpska have moved across the border,” del Ponte said.
NATO-led peacekeepers deployed in Bosnia have a standing order to arrest Karadzic, but dozens of raids have been unsuccessful. Karadzic has a network of supporters and is believed to change his location several times a day.
But with this weekend’s presidential election in Serbia finally putting a pro-Western politician, reformist Boris Tadic, at the helm of the country, things may soon change in Serbia.
Serbia’s U.N. Ambassador Nebojsa Kaludjerovic told the Security Council that following Sunday’s elections the government will “honor its obligations” to the U.N. court “as soon as possible.”
Del Ponte welcomed the statement but said she wants results, noting that 20 people indicted by the tribunal are still fugitives along with two accused whose indictments and arrest warrants are sealed.
“Let’s stay optimistic,” del Ponte said afterward, “and let’s see that Karadzic and Mladic are arrested.”
This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBYEXC03WD.html
Go Back To The Story