Jan/Feb, 2004 - The Washington Monthly

Where's Radovan?
Why can’t – or won’t – the West catch Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian war criminal connected with up to 200,000 deaths? He’s been on the run now for eight years. Russ investigates.

Versions of this article have appeared in The New Statesman (UK), NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands), Die Welt (Germany), Ha’aretz (Israel), Helsingin Sanomat (Finland), Morgenbladet (Norway), O Publico (Portugal), The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Humo (Belgium), Sunday Herald (Scotland), Die Presse (Austria), Straits Times (Singapore), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Information (Denmark), Facts (Switzerland), Korea Herald (South Korea) and El Mundo (Spain).

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WashingtonMonthly.Com June 30, 2004:

END OF THE LINE FOR KARADZIC?....How bad a person is Radovan Karadzic? Earlier this year, Russ Baker wrote in the Washington Monthly that he's a very bad man indeed:

One really shouldn't engage in atrocity one-upmanship, but it's arguable that compared with such more famous current and recent fugitives as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, Karadzic wins the odiousness sweepstakes. A remarkably public front man for genocide in the former Yugoslavia, the disarmingly avuncular Bosnian Serb leader dispensed lies to packed press conferences while his soldiers laid siege to Sarajevo (where he previously worked at the main hospital) and went village to village, locking families inside houses and setting them afire, bringing women to detention camps where they could be mass-raped. Along with his general and fellow fugitive Ratko Mladic, Karadzic is accused of responsibility for all manner of atrocity, most notably the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the U.N. safe area of Srebrenica, the single worst crime committed in Europe since World War II.

As Baker points out, Karadzic has been on the lam for nearly a decade, and during that time nobody, including the United States, has shown much interest in trying to track him down. Until now:

The West's top peace envoy punished Bosnia's Serbs Wednesday for failing to arrest top war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadzic, dismissing 60 senior officials in the most dramatic such move since the 1992-95 war.

Those removed by Paddy Ashdown included Parliament Speaker Dragan Kalinic, who heads the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) founded by Karadzic, Interior Minister Zoran Djeric as well as police officials, mayors and members of parliament.

...."In all, I am removing 60 people today, 11 will be removed indefinitely, 48 may return to public life once Radovan Karadzic is in The Hague," the veteran British diplomat said.

Stay tuned to see how this turns out. Hopefully it's an indication that the coalition is finally willing to turn the screws a bit to flush Karadzic out.

For more on the problems — both real and farcical — of capturing Karadzic, read Baker's entire piece. There's even a bit of French bashing for the conservatives in the crowd!

(Background: After Russ’s article appeared in the Washington Monthly, versions were published in top newspapers and magazines in more than 20 countries, many of them NATO members. All of this coverage preceded Ashdown’s decision to get tough with the Bosnian Serbs.)

Almost exactly a year and a half after this article was published in the Washington Monthly and more than 20 of the world's leading publications, most of them large newspapers in NATO member nations, Karadzic’s wife unexpectedly made a public call for her husband to surrender.

According to the New York Times, "NATO has stepped up its ....surveillance and search operations...in the last year and a half." Mrs. Karadzic says that these kinds of pressures have played a key role in her decision to ask her husband to turn himself in.