A soda with Karadzic

Just wanted to link to this post about meeting Radovan Karadzic in prison. The writer comes across as a bit naive — gosh, the ICTY cell block is dingy! Karadzic, a former politician turned New Age guru, comes across as charming and at ease with himself! — but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Key point for me: his claim that Karadzic won’t try to turn his trial into a circus as Seselj and Milosevic did. Color me skeptical on that one. We’ll see soon enough.

And then there were three

Unexpected good news from Serbia: police have picked up Stojan Zupljanin, one of the four remaining war crimes suspects still at large.

Zupljanin is a pretty good catch. He was a medium-big fish: a police administrator in Yugoslav times, he became head of all police in the Serb part of Bosnia. He was deeply involved in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Croats, and then a bit later he had administrative authority over the detention camps where hundreds died and thousands more were beaten, starved and tortured. (A copy of the ICTY indictment against him can be found here.) You could maybe call him the Ernst Kaltenbrunner of wartime Bosnia.

There was a € 250,000 Euro award for his arrest; it’s not clear who, if anyone, is collecting this. In fact, the circumstances of his arrest are still murky. He was picked up in Pancevo, a suburb of Belgrade — it’s just across the Danube to the north. Continue reading

Balkan War Criminals: First the good news…

The good news is, last week Serbia handed over a fellow named Zdravko Tolimir. Tolimir, a Bosnian Serb, was a top aide to wanted war criminal Ratko Mladic.

This is good news not only because Tolimir is a wrong’un — he’s under indictment on counts of genocide, extermination, murder, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation, and was the third most wanted suspect after the two headliners, Karadzic and Mladic — but also because both Serbia and the Bosnian Serb Republic cooperated in getting him and handing him over. For Serbia, that’s the first evidence of real cooperation with the Hague since 2005. For Bosnia… well, it’s the first time the Serb Republic’s police have helped catch a war criminal, ever.

It may be because Serbia has a new government; or because they’re hoping to re-start talks with the EU (stalled for over a year now, because of that same lack of cooperation); or because they’re hoping to score points as the Kosovo issue comes up in the UN this month. Whatever he reason, it’s very welcome.

If only that were all the war criminal news this week. Unfortunately not. Just a day before Tolimir was picked up, convicted war criminal Radovan Stankovic escaped from prison.

This is bad in a variety of ways. Continue reading

Crunch for Croatia

Hi folks, I am your guest blogger for the next two weeks. I hope you’ll allow me to be a little coy about my identity; but I do work in Brussels, in the general field of international politics.

I usually forget to check the European Parliament’s calendar of next week’s events on Friday afternoon, though really I should do it as a matter of routine, to plan ahead for the coming week. (And really they should have a direct link from the front page of their website, rather than three clicks away; but there’s not much point in wasting blogspace on stating the obvious about the crap design of the EU institutions’ websites.)

Along with the usual tedium of schedules for a conference in Cairo that nobody I know will go to, and such marvels as the European Parliament’s desperate attempt to make itself relevant to the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, there is one potentially very interesting meeting on the agenda.
Continue reading