Berserkistan Navigator Tribunal Issues Arrest Warrants for Karadzic, Mladic

By Kurt Schork

Mladic, Karadzic SARAJEVO, July 11 (Reuters) - THE HAGUE, July 11 (Reuters) - The U.N. criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia on Thursday issued international arrest warrants against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic on charges of genocide and war crimes.

The warrants mean the two men can be arrested anywhere, reinforcing existing local warrants and making them international fugitives from justice.

Mediators in Bosnia and world governments welcomed international arrest warrants issued on Thursday for the two most wanted men in the former Yugoslav republic. The U.N. criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia issued the warrants for Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his army commander General Ratko Mladic on charges of genocide and war crimes.

The warrants mean the two Bosnian Serb leaders can be arrested anywhere, effectively forcing them to stay inside Serb-controlled territory which the tribunal described as "an open air prison." The international community's civilian negotiator for Bosnia, Carl Bildt, called for prompt action to aprehend them.

"We welcome the issuance of these warrants and we support the tribunal. We hope that the warrants are now translated promptly into actions," Bildt told Reuterss. Germany's Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said the warrants were overdue, adding: "Karadzic and Mladic must know: No one accused of war crimes will escape justice. The international arrest warrants issued today show that the community of nations is not ready to cast a cloak of forgetting over the return of genocide to Europe." But the authority in the best position to execute the warrants was also patently reluctant to do so.

The NATO-led peacekeeping force (IFOR) in Bosnia has consistently said it will not agressively pursue either Karadzic or Mladic, but will aprehend them if it happens to encounter them in the course of its duties. IFOR commanders leading heavily-armed 60,000 troops are reluctant to risk casualties in trying to snatch the strongly guarded Bosnian Serb leaders from territory where they are highly popular.

IFOR commanders are reluctant to risk the casualties that are likely to result from any attempt to snatch the heavily guarded and popular leaders. But the arrest warrents are likely to renew pressure on the peace keepers to change their strategy. NATO spokesman Colonel Max Mariner said they welcomed the decision "as any law-abiding organisation would. "That's another screw turned and we see it as positive. The long walk to the Hague just got a little shorter and a little quicker."

Hasan Muratovic Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic also welcomed the warrants, although he complained about the international community's inability to remove the pair from positions of power. Speaking to journalists in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik where he met the U.S. Commerce Secretary Micky Kantor, Muratovic said the arrests should have been made long ago. "Karadzic was indicted after years of atrocities and war crimes.

Unfortunately he is still there, he is the leader of the party and is in fact influencing the whole political life," he said. "If it wasn't so sad and tragic, the international community's attempts to eliminate him from political life would be a circus." Muratovic insisted that the world had the means to arrest both men through the 60,000-strong NATO-led peace keeping force (IFOR). The world community's civilian negotiator to Bosnia on Thursday called for "prompt action" to execute international arrest warrants issued for Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic. "We welcome the issuance of these warrants and we support the tribunal. We hope that the warrants are now translated promptly into actions," the international community's High Representative Carl Bildt told Reuterss.

The tribunal issued the warrants exactly a year after Bosnian Serb forces stormed the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and committed what is now widely regarded as the worst war atrocity in Europe since World War II. U.N. war crimes investigators unearthing the first of many suspected mass graves around the town believe between 3,000 and 8,000 Muslim corpses were buried in shallow tombs -- victims of alleged massacres by the conquering Serb troops. Srebrenica is now occupied by Serbs who fled from other parts of Bosnia and who revere Karadzic and Mladic as "liberators" who led them in the fight to reclaim what they view as rightfull Serb territory.

Judge Urges Probe of Karadzic,
Mladic Ties to Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic

Meantime, a U.N. judge urged war crimes prosecutors on Thursday to investigate links between indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Claude Jorda, issuing international arrest warrants against the two Bosnian Serb leaders for genocide, encouraged U.N. tribunal prosecutors to look further up the chain of command.

"The chamber, in thus determining the type of responsibility incurred by the accused, namely governmental or military command responsibility, can but encourage the prosecutor's office to investigate the decision-making responsibility that descends from higher echelons." A tribunal spokesman, explaining Jorda's remarks, added: "The judges have detailed, quite extensively, all kinds of possible links between the SDS (Karadzic-led Serbian Democratic Party) and Serbia."

"The decision makes it clear there were links between Srpska (Bosnian Serb republic) and Serbia," he said.

Jorda roundly criticised Belgrade for failing to comply with earlier tribunal warrants demanding the arrest and surrender of the two Bosnian Serb leaders. "As the guarantor of the Bosnian Serb Republic, the FRY is responsible for that entity's failure to honour its obligations," Jorda said.

Earlier Bosnia's ambassador to the U.N. Muhamed Sacirbey, welcoming a separate ruling by the U.N's World Court to take jurisdiction over Bosnia's 1993 genocide suit against rump Yugoslavia, said Belgrade was responsible for the war. "Yes, Karadzic and Mladic and many others are responsible (for genocide), but who instigated this war, who planned it, who executed it is a question also for the Belgrade authorities, they must face their state responsibilities," he told reporters.

Bosnia's suit accuses Serbia of playing an active part in the 3˝-year war and of breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention by arming and supporting separatist Serbs in Bosnia. Yugoslavia objected, saying Belgrade played no part in the war and arguing that Bosnia had seceded illegally from Yugoslavia and its government did not represent all of the people.

To learn more...
Berserkistan, July 10 · Tribiunal Prosecutes Karadzic, Mladic in Mock Trial
Berserkistan, July 7 · Karadzic, Mladic Know they are Hunted Men
Berserkistan, July 5 · Karadzic’s Lawyers Say He Wants a Fair Trial
Berserkistan, July 2 · Karadzic Practices Psychiatry in Politics
Berserkistan Manhunt! How Much Can NATO Do to Capture Mladic, Karadzic?

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