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David Miliband

Foreign Secretary

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Thursday 24 July, 2008

Karadzic: joy or relief?

I  have been reading  some of the testimonials from the relatives of victims of genocide in Bosnia.  There have been some expressions of joy but the pain has been stronger.  Genocide is rightly not a term used lightly - nor is Richard Holbrooke's phrase about Karadzic "the Osama  Bin Laden of the western Balkans", which has not provoked adverse comment - but when perhaps  200 000 are murdered and 2 million displaced in a small country it is right.  The reports have reminded people that Karadzic was a poet - and psychologist to the Red Star Belgrade football team.   His arrest sends an important signal at an important time.

115 people have been tried in the International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, with 56 convictions.  A small number are still on the run, including Ratko Mladic.  But the Serbian government have followed through on their election promise and deserve congratulation.  Serbs have voted twice in Presidential and parliamentary elections for European/western oriented governments.  They deserve congratulation too for resisting the blandishments of backward looking Serb nationalism.

And the Court has shown it does not go away.  This is important more generally.  It applies to the ICC - International Criminal Court - which has been pursuing those alleged to have been guilty of war crimes in Darfur.  The Sudanese government has so far refused to engage with the court, but I tried to make clear in my visit to Khartoum that the  Court would not go away if the government refused to engage.  The ruling National Congress Party in Sudan still has to decide what to do; I hope they get the message from  The Hague.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on Barack Obama's Berlin speech - some of his ideas about building bridges around the world not just between the USA and Europe tally quite closely with your own...

Posted by Louise on July 24, 2008 at 06:42 PM BST #

Yeah, 115 have been tried, most of them are Serbs. 59 have been aqcuitted, and virtually all of them are Bosnian muslims, Croats and Albanians. Izetbegovitch and Tudjman, Bosnian and Croatian presidents, whose hands were equally bloody, whose crimes were equally astounding and whose contribution to the civil war in former Yugoslavia was exatly the same as Karajic's was, had been honored by the West as leaders of their nations the same days Serbian leaders were counting days behind the bars in Hague. Right: let defeated cry and let victor celebrate. Serbs should be further humiliated; Albanians should continue drug trafficing and market affordable human kidneys et cetera. And justice for all. Very nice and very European.

Posted by Mik on July 25, 2008 at 09:36 AM BST #

Relief. He won't be punished anyway. He'll be able to live happily in his Hague "prison" while taking the mickey out of the judges. Anyway, I agree with Louise. I'd like to hear your thoughts on Senator Obama's speech in Berlin. 200,000 is a lot of people but I bet Tony Blair could still pull a pretty substantial crowd in the US.

Posted by Justin on July 25, 2008 at 10:26 AM BST #

Harvest Caradjic for organs - let him be responsible for all atrocities

Posted by carla dp on July 26, 2008 at 09:09 AM BST #

I find the usual double-standards expressed in this blog quite difficult to read. How long must the people of Britain and the world endure the double-standards of the New Labour government? Karadzic has been accused of war-crimes, but you would think that he had already been convicted and the trial will just be a show-trial. Yet, George Bush and Tony Blair will never go before a war-crimes trial. And because they will be immune from prosecution, nobody in the world is going to take seriously any talk of genocide from New labour, or ant British government.

Posted by Stu on July 26, 2008 at 11:28 AM BST #

Honestly, every time I post something I've done a word count on I get this message saying "Your comment was marked as spam and will not be displayed. * Comment has more than 1000 characters" It doesn't. I give up.

Posted by Owen on July 26, 2008 at 01:46 PM BST #

Well, at least my comment about my comments not being accepted has been accepted. Why isn't there a notice displayed anywhere saying something about a maximum of 1000 characters. Have you any idea how frustrating a process this is? No wonder there are so few comments.

Posted by Owen on July 26, 2008 at 01:48 PM BST #

Karadzic's arrest has aroused a mix of emotions, stirring up memories of awful things that can't be undone. Karadzic's trial won't deal with the legacy of genocide - Republika Srpska is still a safe haven for war criminals. 27 July is the anniversary of the fall of Zepa, the second Drina Valley enclave Karadzic eliminated in order to create his ethnically homogeneous mini-state. The RS authorities are still obstructing attempts to find the truth about Avdo Palic, the enclave's commander who was "disappeared" while negotiating with the Bosnian Serb Army High Command. There are hundreds of war criminals employed in positions of responsibility by Republika Srpska, protecting thousands more. It's time for a Dayton Review conference to examine the legitimacy of Republika Srpska's continued existence as a separate entity within Bosnia- Herzegovina.

Posted by Owen on July 26, 2008 at 02:08 PM BST #

I can't believe it that the message has got through. Thank you.

Posted by Owen on July 26, 2008 at 02:09 PM BST #

Building bridges is well and good...Its who keeps walking back and forth across them thats important,and who mans the checkpoints: Dear David, Sir You would have a better chance of applying to be Arsenal's leading striker , than expecting Sudan to 'get the message' Perhaps someday I can give you some feedback on behind the scenes African politics, and why you will continually see no extraditions or accountability off the African continent. Africa is not called the Dark Continent because of the color of skin...and the truths behind many things might astonish even you. btw-I hope you read your emails..most govts/govt officials dont. I sent you one regarding the following: Concept: The generation of unlimited , daily, clean electricity into the national power grid, in volumes that, with full implementation, will outstrip the combined output of wind and solar energy combined.

Posted by Nevi on July 26, 2008 at 05:26 PM BST #

Surely the issue of Kosovo has to be resolved before Serbia is allowed to join the European Community.

Posted by Peter Large on July 26, 2008 at 08:09 PM BST #

Genocide is ...200 000 are murdered and 2 million displaced ... Ukrainian GOLODOMOR is Genocide?

Posted by ivan ivanovv on July 27, 2008 at 03:55 AM BST #

Unbelievable! The British foreign office condemns Serbian war-criminals. What about the British war-criminals in our own backyard. Blair, Brown, and the rest of the clique, including Conservatives, who voted for an illegal war that has caused the deaths of over a million. Whilst Serbians, Croats and muslims were fighting over land, the Yanks and Brits were fighting over oil and profit. What is the more immoral?

Posted by Robert on July 27, 2008 at 11:40 AM BST #

Robert, As far as I recall, neither Tony Blair or Gordon Brown ordered thousands of people be massacred based on their race as Karadzic did. I was against the war in Iraq too but I think when people make ridiculous comparisons they undermine their own argument. Tony Blair is not a war criminal. He did what he thought was right based on the evidence he had at the time. The United Nations Security Council vetoed the Iraq war not for any moral interest but because the Russians and French had substantial amounts of cash tied up in Iraq. Now, I was against the war because it was wrong in it's conception but this does not mean fruitless comparisons can be made to justify arguments.

Posted by Justin on July 27, 2008 at 09:03 PM BST #

I see Dennis McShane is calling for the role of Douglas Hurd and Pauline Neville-Jones during the Milosevic era to be investigated. I always wondered how they justified travelling to Belgrade to advise Milosevic on the privatisation of Serbian Telecom and the topping up of his coffers/warchest. On the face of it, it was one of the more shaming moments in the history of British involvement in the Balkans during the 1990s.

Posted by Owen on July 28, 2008 at 03:15 PM BST #

Sir, I' surprised with the fact that you do not see the unilateral "justice" of what happens in de Vreedespaleis in The Hague. Let's look at Kosovo Albanians The trial of Ramus Haradinai then prime minister of Kosovo started in the Hague in April, 2007. Haradinai who in 1998 was one of the KLA commanders, was charged on 37 articles, 17 of which were crimes against humanity, and 20 - military crimes.. But the judges did not find evidence of the guilt of Ramus Haradinai and Idriz Baliai. It may be admitted that 7 million Euros that were raised for their defence played its part. According to the German “Berliner Zeitung”, the German intelligence regards Haradinai “the godfather of a mafia clan engaged in speculation of cigarettes, drugs, arms and trade in people.”

Posted by Nemesis on July 29, 2008 at 07:29 PM BST #

^^^ I agree completely with your last comment Justin!

Posted by Louise on July 29, 2008 at 08:04 PM BST #

Glad that you mentioned the Sudan, can you explain quite why we still pay over £130 million in aid to them and why you did nothing to help Gillian Gibbons out from that nation, not a single threat to remove said aid?...

Posted by paul on July 30, 2008 at 11:20 PM BST #

is there any chance of seeing george bush jr in the hague anytime soon?

Posted by christopher davis on July 31, 2008 at 01:50 AM BST #

The radicalisation of many young Muslims arose because of what happened in Bosnia and the fact that the white Christian 'west' allowed the genocide to occur because it was being perpertrated by white Christians and there was absolute moral equivocation about the place of white, not very practising Muslims at that, having a state in Europe. What happened in Bosnia made me sick to the stomach. The tenuousness of the Bosnian state, the fact it is in effect occupied, the fact that the Muslim majority do not have the rights to rule that apply to Christians with large Muslim minorities all grate still. When will Hurd, Dr. 'Death' Owen et al be held accountable for their role? What about Boutrous Butcher Ghali who was head of the UN at the time? What is the difference between this butcher and Saddam and why the difference in treatment and ultimate outcome? Like others here, sickened that our own 'war criminals' Blair, Brown, Straw etc are escaping scot free and there is a facade of self-righteousness that is absolutely gagging. British foreign policy emits the most awful pong.

Posted by sawsan on July 31, 2008 at 08:12 AM BST #

"our own 'war criminals' Blair, Brown, Straw etc are escaping scot free " none of these men deliberately targetted civilians. You shouldn't use the term so lightly,

Posted by boga on July 31, 2008 at 07:05 PM BST #

Your reference to Richard Holbrooke calling Karadzic the Osama bin Ladin of the Balkans is truly ironic. Western journalists have eyewitness accounts of Osama bin Ladin then an American protege visiting Bosnia. Only, he was a guest of Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic. So where does that put Karadzic, or Holbrooke, for that matter?

Posted by Mike on July 31, 2008 at 11:29 PM BST #

So Dave, any chance that you will actually reply to any comments here or indeed in any of the recent articles. The glorious leader can not be keeping you that busy I am sure?...

Posted by paul on August 04, 2008 at 07:44 PM BST #

What's the truth about James Luko's allegation that an imminent attempt by British forces in Bosnia to arrest Karadzic in 1997 was abandoned after consultation with London?

Posted by Owen on August 13, 2008 at 08:36 AM BST #

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