Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 15:31 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 15:31 | SYDNEY

Serbia comes to the party, 13 years late


Fergus Hanson


22 July 2008 10:38

Great news for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, if a little late in the piece: Bosnian Serb wartime president Radovan Karadzic has finally been arrested in Serbia. After years (almost 13 to be exact) of dodging requests for his arrest, it seems Serbian authorities have at last come round to the idea that harbouring one of the world's most wanted war criminals isn't a good look (or very helpful in progressing entry to the EU). 

Serbia is still wrestling with its wartime past, as is evidenced by its ongoing love affair with another high profile accused, Vojislav Seselj, but Karadzic's arrest is an encouraging sign. It's a big win for the Tribunal's new Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, who replaced the feisty and indefatigable Carla del Ponte. And it is another feather in the cap for the EU, which has, via the lure of membership, been so successful in forcing the arrests of Yugoslav war criminals.

Karadzic's arrest, just as the Tribunal is supposed to be wrapping up its work, will push out its completion date and come with costs that many won't be happy about, but it would be near-impossible for the international community to walk away without Karadzic and Ratko Mladic being tried. With a bit of help arresting Mladic, the Tribunal will just about be there.