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Serbia: African Bloggers’ Reactions to Karadžić's Arrest

After news broke on Monday night that former Bosnian Serb leader and one of the world’s most wanted persons Radovan Karadžić had been arrested, astonished bloggers in the Balkans and all around the world started reacting to the story. And because of the recent request by the International Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to indict Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, some bloggers have been making comparisons between the two cases.

For instance Greater Surbiton, a blog focusing on the Balkans, commented:

The Bashir indictment is to be celebrated, because whether or not it results in the tyrant ever facing justice, it represents a nail in his political coffin; a push sending him further along the road already trodden by Milosevic and Karadzic. His international isolation will increase; what is left of his legitimacy will decrease; it will be more difficult for other states to collaborate with him; and if he survives his eventual overthrow, the successor regime will have to collaborate with the ICC in bringing him to trial, which will be a catalyst to its own democratic reform – just as enforced collaboration with the ICTY catalysed democratic reform in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia.

Similarly, bloggers from Africa have been drawing parallels between Karadžić's indictment and arrest, and the potential coming ones for African dictators such as Omar al-Bashir in Sudan or Rober Mugabe in Zimbabwe (coincidentally, Sokwanele informs that yesterday Enough and Impunity Watch released a paper on the “Legal options available in holding accountable President Robert Mugabe for possible international crimes”).

Faustine Barraza, a blogger from Tanzania, commented:

It now appears that Karadzic will have his day in court […]
It is a good lessons to African dictators that the World is watching and that one day, they might be called to account for what they did. I hope Al-Bashir and Mugabe are paying attention.

Musengeshi Katata of the blog focusing on the DR Congo Forum Réalisance [Fr] also warns other dictators:

Il n'y a pas meilleur avertissement pour Omar el Béchir, le prochain candidat de la Cour Internationale de Justice. Ainsi qu'à tous ceux qui croient qu'ils peuvent, sans tenir compte de nos valeurs, de notre éthique et morale humaine, nous servir impunément leurs bassesses quelques soient les fonctions qu'ils exercent, leur nationalité, leur confession, la couleur de leur peau. And justice for all.

There is no better warning for Omar al-Bashir, the next candidate for the International Criminal Court. As well as for all those that believe they can, without taking into consideration our human values, ethics and morality, impose their vileness with impunity no matter their position, their nationality, their religion, their skin color. And justice for all.

Black River Eagle from the blog Jewels in the Jungle on African issues, participating in the debate at the portal African Loft, wondered:

Let’s see if Serbia extradites this European war criminal to Den Haag (The Hague) or demand that he be tried in their own national courts. This could have a negative impact on the pending indictment and trial of Omar al-Bashir at the ICC if the Serbs insist on doing the latter.
[…]
Because he is a Muslim, a serving head-of-state of an African country he should escape international justice? In the name of peace for Darfur and a negotiated political settlement that will hold up over time? Give me break. Karadzic specialized in the slaughter and mass rape of thousands of Muslims in the heart of Europe, and the sucker is going down I guarantee you.

A few other Africans have given their opinion regarding Karadžić's arrest on the BBC World Have your say blog, on yesterday's post about his arrest. Below is a selection of them.

Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel, a Rwandan in Cameroon:

As a victim of Rwandan genocide the arrest of Radovan Karadzic is not enough at all, this man is supposed to tried quickly and pay for suffer and misery he caused. His arrest can only help to heal the wounds if he is treated exactly the same as his victims. For me I will have peace of mind when all perpetrators of Rwandan genocide are hanged.

Kelvin Kamayoyo:

The issue of sitting presidents hidding in the principle of sovereignity must not be their defence and lead to prolonged suffering of the innocent citizens as in the case of Zimbabwe, Sudan-Darfur. Omar al Bashir must be indicted as soon as possible and spped up the trials of the alleged cases before him as doing so it will enable to hasten the quenching of the civil war in Darfur.

George Wills Bangirana:

This is very interesting news for all citizens of the world but more so for us in Africa who live the brutality of our leaders past and present.
It beats my understanding how these once “mighty” people who hold political office unleash all kinds of mayhem on the very people they are supposed to protect without as much as a flinch and then when their turn in the cooler comes up, they live like rats-Saddam Style- or cry out to the very people they were brutalising for mercy and help. it only confirms one thing that No condition in the world is permanent and leaders better beware. Your turn may be not very far away.

Julie Kampala:

Though the arrest of Karadzic will not ressurect the dead that he killed. It will deter other dictators or dictatorships like Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Bashir of Sudan and the Burman government.

17 comments

  • jhg

    Add George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to the list.

  • Sinisa Boljanovic

    Elia wrote:
    “After news broke on Monday night that former Bosnian Serb leader and one of the world’s most wanted war criminals Radovan Karadžić…”

    Elia,
    I think you did not intend to make a mistake but you wrote that Radovan Karadzic is a war criminal.
    It is true he is suspected by the International court for war crimes but he is not sentenced yet.
    Please, don’t get me wrong. Simply, this is a fact.

  • Sinisa, thanks for noticing. I was not trying to sentence him yet, I had just copied the wording of the article I link to in the first sentence, so it was an unintended mistake (I just changed it).

    And actually this is a key point, since now the ICTY will have to give a fair trial to Karadzic and show the world its credibility as a tribunal.

  • Amer

    “Let’s see if Serbia extradites this European war criminal to Den Haag (The Hague) or demand that he be tried in their own national courts.”

    Serbia has no basis to demand that he be tried in its courts – Karadzic is not a Serbian national and the crimes he’s accused of were committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, not Serbia.

  • I’ve replaced ‘one of the world’s most wanted war criminals’ for ‘one of the world’s most wanted fugitives’ in my piece. Thank you for pointing this out.

  • Bozic, BlackGeorge

    Dear Amer,

    regarding:
    “Serbia has no basis to demand that he be tried in its courts – Karadzic is not a Serbian national and the crimes he’s accused of were committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, not Serbia.”

    All Serbs from all areas of the former Yugoslavia are Serbian nationals.
    He was born in what is now Montenegro. He is technically a “Montenegrin Serb” if you will.. Serbs for many, many, centuries have been the majority ethnic population in many of these newly created “Country’s”
    And now they have been ethnically cleasned out of these new governments.

    The newly “Western” sell-out Serbian government does not want Karadzic or Mladic to be tried in Serbia because they are willing to do anything just to be economic slaves to the European Union. Just because they think that “Life will be better” – Whatever…

    And yes, to the original poster thank you for clarifying that he is a wanted man allegedly accused of war crimes?
    Just like Milosevic he will be thrown in a Kangaroo court that will just go through the motions to make the World believe that they will give a fair trial but it is just a mockery of the justice system. It will be just a SHOW. The International Tribunal for Yugoslavia is fraud and has no basis be in existance.

  • BRE

    Thanks Elia for the hat tip and welcome back. You are back from the Congo aren’t you? It’s late afternoon here in Europe and the big fear is that Radovan Karadzic’s attorney will enter a move that will delay or postpone his extradition to The Hague. This is going to be a complicated and very drawnout process before this bad guy gets his 1000 days in court.

  • Owen

    Karadzic may go on trial, but the legacy of genocide remains in place in Republika Srpska. That was what all the bloodshed was about, carving a strategic ethnically homogenised artficial entity out of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    Like all the other big fish like Charles Taylor and Omar al-Bashir, Karadzic had lots of little fish eager to do his dirty work. Thanks to the Dayton Agreement those little fish hold positions of responsibility in Republika Srpska from which they are able to protect thousands of their fellow rapists and murderers from justice while denying the expulsees their right to return home.

    In the interests of its own legitimacy the international legal system has to give Karadzic a fair trial. Republika Srpska is owed no fair trial, its continued existence has no justification.

  • Kru

    Owen, you don’t know what you are talking about.
    Why is it when 2000 Serbs go missing and the village is mortared and firebombed it goes unnoticed? That’s where the action started chief. CNN broke the story initially — and then promptly pulled it at the behest of the CIA, DoD, DAD, and the White House. Ms Amanpour was more than happy to then put her spin on it.

    Maybe you should check your files about the events leading up to the Bosnian conflict.

    So, if someone kills Serbs it’s okay. But God forbid if an American or Brit dies!? Please.. get a life.

    Let’s face it — killing of any kind is wrong and sinful. However, when you have been subjected to Ottoman, Nazi and Ustasi brutality in your past — you don’t want to let History repeat itself.

    So, when your people go missing or turn up hurt and/or dead — you act and react.

    Hey, the West got what it wanted — a smaller and more manageable Balkans. But yet, all of the people in the Balkans are slowly rising like a Phoenix out of the ashes — stronger and more resilient than before. That’s the nature of the Balkans and all of the ethnicities there — regardless of religion.

    They are usually some of the brightest minds and bravest warriors — whether it’s right or wrong.

    You left out 2 of the biggest drug/arms dealers and proliferators of genocide — the US and UK leaders. Read your history. They have there little helpers too — everyone likes money thrown their way.

  • Owen

    No, Kru, it’s not OK when Serbs are killed. Certainly there were many innocent Serbs were killed during the Bosnian war. What is not OK is the cynical exploitation of the deaths of the Serbs who lost their lives to pretend that this was an equal carnage. At the end of the day perhaps you might always come back to that telling figure that 85% of civilian victims were Bosniaks. That figure doesn’t deny the deaths of Serbs, Croats and others. But it does give you an indication of the pattern of violence.

    You don’t specify the name of the village where you want to remind me that 2000 Serbs went missing and the village was mortared and firebombed. I’m not aware of any such incident. Presumably in this context you’re repeating the discredited fraud of Milivoje Ivanisevic and his account of Serb deaths around Srebrenica.

    Ivanisevic inflated the number of Serb deaths around Srebrenica by a factor of ten, and he avoided noting out that most of the dead were Serb soldiers, presumably killed in conflict, the deaths of Serb civilians tended to occur in break-out raids by the starving inhabitants of the besieged enclave and that finally the existence of conflict around the enclave and the plight of its inhabitants was due to the savage campaign of ethnic cleansing of the area carried out by Serb forces in spring 1992.

    It’s not OK to overlook the deaths of any of the dead, Serb or otherwise. But it’s not OK to go shroud-waving, me-tooing and trivialising the suffering of others in order to avoid coming to terms with the shame of what was done in the name of Serbs.

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