Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Eleven years after Srebrenica – Karadžić and Mladić still at large

On July 11, 2006, the international community commemorated the eleventh anniversary of the massacre of as many as 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in the small town of Srebrenica. The massacre— which the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) characterized as an act of genocide in Prosecutor v. Krstic—was carried out by a combination of irregular Serbian and Bosnian Serb forces led by ICTY indictee Ratko Mladic. The Srebrenica massacre marked the worst single massacre on the European continent since World War II.

Justice for the victims of the Srebrenica massacre is long overdue. Of the hundreds involved in carrying out the killings, the ICTY has sentenced only six people to date. The alleged masterminds of the massacre—Mladic, and Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadžić are still at large. There are may rumours around why international community still has not managed to arrest the two war criminals, Karadžić and Mladić. One of them is that Karadžić signed at the time of Dayton agreement another clandestine agreement with US government that he will not be arrested if he gives up his functions as a leader of Bosnian Serbs. Events in last decade confirm that speculations since the UN and EU forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina have not showed any great effort in capturing Karadžić. Only twice a year SFOR forces stage a show for foreign TV crews at Pale, headquarters of Serbian part of BiH.

The denial of the Srebrenica massacre has continued in Serbia. Under the pressure of visual records displaying the perpetrators from Serbia and the victims from Srebrenica, the public in Serbia went silent and demonstrated its capacity for compassion and solidarity for victims of the other side.

At the same time, the truth about the events in Srebrenica has become impossible to deny, even in the RS. Acting under pressure from the Office of the High Representative, in December 2003 the RS National Assembly established the "Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between the 10th and 19th of July, 1995." The Commission's final report prompted unprecedented official apologies from RS authorities. More recently, horrifying video evidence related to the massacre was introduced at the Milosevic trial in The Hague, and later televised in Serbia. Nevertheless, the truth has yet to be broadly accepted by a significant part of the Serbian public.

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