After World WarⅡ, a multinational state consisting of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia was established as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, this complicated national structure ended up becoming the root of the Bosnian civil war after the post cold war period. In the name of protecting the Serbs, Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic formed an army and attacked Croats and Muslims. They carried out "ethnic cleansing" and took away lands from other ethnic groups to form exclusive Serb areas. As the situation became a threat to national security in Europe, the United Nations along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization tried to end the war by taking an active hand militarily and cutting off supplies to Serbia. On December 14th, 1995, the war was officially concluded with the Dayton Peace Accords. It caused 250,000 casualties.
*"Whole families were disappearing during the night. Sometimes we could see their bodies in the gardens, sometimes not even that. My husband was beaten up. Then they started torturing me. I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I was totally naked and covered in blood. I knew I had been raped," said Jasmina, one of hundreds of thousands of victims of the Bosnia War. "I will never be okay as long as the war criminals who tortured us are still free," she added.
Arrested after 13 years of hiding
Fortunately, on July 21st, 2008, Jasmina's wish was finally realized. Radovan Karadzic, the principal criminal of the Bosnian war, has been arrested in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, after 13 years of rendering himself invisible. Living as a fugitive, he put on spectacles, grew a beard and dyed his silver hair black for a disguise. He also used a fake name, Dr. Dragan David Dabic and worked at a private clinic in Belgrade. However, no matter how expertly disguised, he could not ultimately evade the law. Boris Tadic, the President of Serbia, announced that Karadzic was taken into custody by Serbian security guards and was transferred to Belgrade War Crime Court. After the investigation, he is expected to be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Hague, Netherlands.
The principal offender of ethic cleansing
From 1992 to 1995, as the Bosnian Serb political leader, Karadzic committed numerous crimes. Karadzic is to be prosecuted for 16 inhumane crimes such as massacre, rape, torture, detention, beating, and a violation of international law. According to the International Criminal Tribunal, Karadzic will be mainly accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes during the Bosnia-Hercegovina War. Most especially, he led the Srebrenica massacre, a so-called "ethnic cleansing," in which as many as 7,500 Muslims were killed, at the end of the civil war in 1995. He unlawfully evicted the civilians from their lands, forced them to migrate to other countries, and forcibly seized properties. Also, he wrongfully confined Bosnian Muslims and Croatian citizens including women, the aged, and children, and detained them by extending the detention period indefinitely, and without any legal protection. Women were repeatedly raped, regardless of their age. Moreover, he is suspected of being responsible for bombing attack in Sarajevo, and of using 284 soldiers of the UN Peace-Keeping Forces as human shields in May and June, 1996. Upon investigation, it turned out that he planned, instigated, ordered, and supported the crimes mentioned above, not only individually but also cooperatively with people like Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military commander who is still at large.
The assertion of Karadzic
*"People who showed their police badges pulled Karadzic along by force to somewhere and detained him. They covered his eyes and beat him several times. Their actions were totally illegal," said Sveta Vujacic, the lawyer of Karadzic. He asserted that the Serbia government has a responsibility for Karadzic's arrest which was done illegally. "The government did not tell the truth about the arrest process. They deceived to the public about who captured Karadzic and when he was taken into custody." According to his statement, Karadzic was seized on the 18th, not the 21st, and locked in a secret place for three days. About this matter, Prof. Oh Byung-sun (Dept. of Law) warned that there is a possibility that neglecting the adjective law would cause a delay in process. "Nonetheless, since the process had already been served on Karadzic, accusation and court procedure will continue without obstruction as far as there is no evidence which supports that any sort of trouble or physical violence attended the arrest, thereby infringing on impartial judgment and human rights, one of the international law standards," he clarified.
In addition, his counsel insisted that this arrest would not be valid due to a secret negotiation. In his first hearing, Karadzic stated that the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright and former US diplomat Richard Holbrooke offered him a deal which would allow him to avoid prosecution for war crimes on the conditions that he would disappear from both public life and politics. Now, the ICTY is investigating his statement. However, the world nations are very skeptical.
Reasons to punish Karadzic
There are still some Serbians who think of Karadzic as a war hero. They say that the West is trying to condemn Serbia by entrapping Karadzic as a terribly malicious person. However, there are enough justifiable reasons to support Karadzic's infliction. He slaughtered thousands of Muslims and Croatians. He had no obvious reasons other than differences in race, political perspective, and religion. "The major reason why Karadzic deserves to be punished is that he killed private citizens who are innocent. There is no way to justify his actions," said Prof. Lee Geun Wook (Dept. of International Politics). He added, "As the chief commander at the time, he should not have approved nor stated any of those inhumane crimes. It is a matter of course that the world makes him responsible." Moreover, there are precedents of sending international war criminals over to the court and punishing them. In the early 2000s, there was a similar case to this. Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia, was arrested and sent over to the ICTY. He was a comrade of Karadzic. He caused the Kosovo War which killed ten thousands of innocent people.
"Although it was impossible to punish him with the justifiable process due to his suicide during trial, it has a significance that he went on the trial," said Professor Oh. Even though we have not established an overall policy on war criminals yet, we can set it from now on. By dealing severely with Karadzic, international society's efforts to realize the justice of law will be actualized.
Significance and Effects on international society
If Karadzic appears in the ICTY, he is going to be the 44th war criminal who has been surrendered among Serbian War suspects including Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian President Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor in the ICTY remarked, *"His arrest gave some slight comfort to the victims and families of victims in Bosnia. It also proved that there still is an international justice left in the world by showing no one is beyond the reach of the law and that sooner or later all fugitives will be brought to justice."
For a long time, the European Union (EU) has pressed the Serbian government to extradite war criminals. The EU offered Serbia a deal which would allow Serbia to join the EU if they hand over war criminals. Quite coincidentally, Karadzic was arrested a day before the EU Ministerial Conference which was planned to make a decision on whether Serbia would be allowed to join the EU or not. *"Serbia's effort to arrest one of the most malicious war criminals in the world paved the way for the poor country in the Balkans to join in the EU. This will be a nice chance to build an improved relationship among the West, Europe and Serbia," said Olli Rehn, EU Enlargement commissioner. If Serbia can join in the EU, it will get many benefits and possibilities for developing itself. Due to the relaxed restrictions in customs, the export industry will be revitalized which will lead to the economic growth in Serbia. Also, democracy will be firmly established with the help of the EU, which strongly emphasizes the principle of democracy. For these reasons, joining the EU will affect Serbia in many positive ways. Therefore, it is obvious that this arrest is credited as the starting point for an advancing Serbia.
For the world's justice
His arrest is very suggestive to us, especially nowadays, with civil liberties and democracy becoming more and more generalized. With Slobodan Milosevic and Karadzic arrested, before long, Ratko Mladic, the last fugitive of three Bosnia War criminals, will be caught. Judging war criminals who have committed uncountable cruel acts is very important and essential for realizing a just society in the world.
* These interviews are extracted from CNN and Reuters.
By Cho Hyun-a email@example.com (Reporter of The S.H.)