Global Independent Analytics
Radostina Schivatcheva
Radostina Schivatcheva

Location: Bulgaria

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

Radovan Karadzic and the ‘triumph’ of international justice

Rather than being an impartial source of justice and fairness, international law and the administration of justice has become a political battlefield.

40 years in prison - the firm, but fair hand of international justice has just delivered a prison term sentence to a convicted war criminal. Those hopefuls, those who may think that the international public will finally get to witness the proper punishment of war-mongers, such as Tony Blair, are sorely mistaken. Blair has added Serbia to the list of countries he is paid to advise, despite his role as the chief proponent of the bombing of Belgrade in 1999. It is Radovan Karadzic, the former leader of the Bosnian Serbs, who has just been sentenced. Has not justice finally triumphed?

Radovan Karadzic, war criminal and Richard Holbrooke, American diplomat

Radovan Karadzic, served as the President of Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic within modern day Bosnia-Herzegovina) during the Bosnian War. In 1996 Karadzic lost power and went into 11 years of hiding, living under the disguise of a New Age healer. Karadzic was accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of personal responsibility for numerous war crimes committed against non-Serbs, in his roles as Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb armed forces and President of the National Security Council of the Republika Srpska.

Karadzic was eventually arrested in Belgrade and then transferred to the Hague into ICTY custody on the 30th of July, 2008. Almost 8 years later, on the 24th of March 2016, Karadzic was found guilty of 10 of 11 counts of crime including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment. The sentence is the largest given by the ICTY in its history. This is, in practice, a life-sentence.

During Karadzic’s time of hiding, the United States’ government offered a $5 million reward for information about him. At the Hague Karadzic made frequent statements in court arguing that back in 1996, when he gave up power, he was promised by Richard Holbrooke, one of America's most senior diplomats, that he would not be criminally prosecuted as part of a wider peace deal. At one point Karadzic even appealed to the United Nations Security Council, claiming that he had the testimonial support of 18 witnesses of the deal.

At the time Holbrooke was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs. Holbrooke, who has since then played a key role in negotiating president Barack Obama's exit strategy from Afghanistan, has denied strenuously, including in written form, any alleged agreement with Mr Karadzic. The United States State Department insisted that no agreement was ever made to provide Radovan Karadzic with immunity from prosecution. "Neither Ambassador Holbrooke nor any United States official was in a position to offer Dr. Karadzic such immunity, and no such offer was made", a press release issued by the State Department stated.

Deal or No Deal?

Who could doubt the words of a senior American diplomat and of the US State Department? However, as reported by the New York Times (NYT), a historical study of the Yugoslav wars published by Purdue University in Indiana has done just that. NYT states:
 

Charles W. Ingrao, the study’s main editor, said that three senior State Department officials, one of them retired, and several other people with knowledge of Mr. Holbrooke’s activities told him that Mr. Holbrooke assured Mr. Karadzic in July 1996 that he would not be pursued by the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague if he left politics.

 

NYT reveals further details of the alleged ‘deal’:
 

The former State Department official said he was told of the offer by people who were close to Mr. Holbrooke’s team at the time. The ... source said that Mr. Holbrooke personally and emphatically told him about the deal on two occasions. ... one of them put it, “Holbrooke did the right thing and got the job done”.

 

The study has since then been published in the book Confronting the Yugoslav Controversies: A Scholars' Initiative (2012). In the book we read:

Holbrooke and other U.S. officials have consistently claimed that there was no quid pro quo; by contrast, Karadzic has insisted since his July 2008 arrest that he was promised immunity from prosecution in exchange for his withdrawal. What we know from three senior State Department officials with intimate knowledge of Holbrooke’s activities is that the ambassador explicitly assured Karadzic that he would not be arrested, a concession that is common knowledge among several others at the State Department who have heretofore remained silent (Clemencic 2012: 189) [1].

The court tried to pursue the trail of the Karadzic- Holbrooke ‘deal’ by sending an official inquiry, but in the end the matter was dropped. So, this is how this story ends: Karadzic is in prison, justly for his crimes. Holbrooke, blameless and innocent, died since then and cannot comment. And Tony Blair, will now advise the Serbian government in exchange of a handsome fee.

Justice, for whom?

Rather than being an impartial source of justice and fairness, international law and the administration of justice has become a political battlefield. While sentencing a war criminal, the court has closed eyes on the diabolical dealings of some prominent US and other officials. Those who mourn the fratricidal war, which took place 17 years ago in former Yugoslavia, cannot accept that justice to the victims will be served by unjust deals and outright lies. Even with Karadzic behind bars, the failure of the international community to deal fairly with the aftermath of Yugoslavia’s dissolution has ensured that the tragic events of 1999 will continue to be an open wound.

Source: Clemencic, Matjaz (2012) The International Community and the FRY/Belligerents, 1989-1997, In Confronting the Yugoslav Controversies: A Scholars' Initiative, Ingrao, Charles; Emmert, Thomas (eds.), West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, pp. 155-201.

Related ARTICLES

Will Austria vote for Freedom?

Will Austria vote for Freedom?

Austria’s Freedom party (FPÖ) won a rather predictable, but still powerful victory in the first round of the country’s presidential election.

23 May 2016

by Normunds Grostins

Obama Touches a British Gentle Nerve in London

Obama Touches a British Gentle Nerve in London

If UK citizens vote to leave the EU, Obama warned, they would be pushed “to the back of the queue” for trade deals with the United States

27 April 2016

by Danielle Ryan

Shall we wait for terror to reach us or shall we take action?

Shall we wait for terror to reach us or shall we take action?

Recent terrorist acts in Brussels, and the preceding ones in Paris have reminded us of a simple truth.

19 April 2016

by Valerijus Simulik

POPULAR ARTICLES

Not Found

OPINION

Vladimir Golstein

Vladimir Golstein

The Danderous Acceptance of Donald Trump

James N. Green

James N. Green

Politics in Brazil: Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Barbara H. Peterson

Barbara H. Peterson

Health officials confirm spread of Zika virus through sexual contact in Texas, first in US

Danny Haiphong

Danny Haiphong

WHY IS OTTO(SUPER)MAN ERDOGAN LOSING HIS CHARISMA?

Miray Aslan

Miray Aslan

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Navid Nasr

Navid Nasr

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Writers

chief editor

Joshua Tartakovsky

Analysis should serve as a method to better understand our world, not to obscure it.

Materials: 42

Specialization: Israel and the Middle East, US politics

Materials: 7

Specialization: Balkans, NATO and EU policies, Strategic communications

Materials: 3

Specialization: Foreign politics, Immigration, Human rights.

Materials: 2

Specialization: Political Science, Social Anthropology

Materials: 3

Specialization: Eastern Europe

Materials: 14

Specialization: Industrial Safety, Corporations

Materials: 12

Specialization: Eastern Europe, Labor movement

Materials: 3

Specialization: American history, way of life, and principles

Danielle Ryan

Ireland

Materials: 10

Specialization: US foreign policy, US-Russia relations and media bias

Materials: 20

Specialization: War, Racism, Capitalist exploitation, Civil rights

Materials: 8

Specialization: Modern Japanese History, Modern Chinese History, Military History, History of Counterinsurgency, History of Disobedience, Dynamics of Atrocities in Wartime

Dovid Katz

Lithuania

Materials: 3

Specialization: Holocaust Revisionism and Geopolitics; East European Far Right & Human Rights; Yiddish Studies & Litvak Culture

Materials: 20

Specialization: History, Catalunya, Spain, Geopolitics, Nationalism in Europe, Islamization, Immigration

Materials: 5

Materials: 3

Specialization: migration, international relations

Materials: 1

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy and strategies, BRICS/SCO

Materials: 19

Specialization: Balkans, Yugoslavia

Materials: 10

Specialization: Jihadist Groups, Islamic Terrorism, Global Security

Materials: 4

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 4

Specialization: Media and government relations

Materials: 2

Specialization: Latin America, Brazil

Jay Watts

Canada

Materials: 2

Specialization: History, Marxism-Leninism, Imperialism, Anti-imperialism.

Materials: 2

Specialization: International Relations, Sociology, Geostrategy

Materials: 1

Specialization: civil rights

Lionel Baland

Belgium

Materials: 22

Specialization: Euroscepticism, Patriotic parties of Europe

Maram Susli

Australia

Materials: 3

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights, Racism, US politics

Materials: 1

Specialization: geopolitics, economics

Max J. Schindler

Palestine-Israel

Materials: 9

Specialization: Politics

Miray Aslan

Turkey

Materials: 12

Specialization: Media, Politics

Materials: 5

Specialization: Politics, International relations

Navid Nasr

Croatia

Materials: 13

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Materials: 9

Specialization: Development of European Union, Non-governmental organizations, Politics and economics in Baltic States

Materials: 9

Specialization: Greece, Crisis of the US hegemony; Israel / Occupied Palestine, Oppression of Black people in the US

Materials: 4

Specialization: geopolitics, Russia, USSR

Pedro Marin

Brazil

Materials: 17

Specialization: Latin America, Ukraine, North Korea

Materials: 13

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

Materials: 8

Specialization: Politics

Materials: 16

Specialization: Counterterrorist Finance

Seyit Aldogan

Greece

Materials: 3

Specialization: ISIS, Middle East, Globalization, Migrant crisis

Materials: 1

Specialization: Head of "Srebrenica Historical Project"

Materials: 3

Specialization: Economy, Social politics

Stevan Gajic

Serbia

Materials: 1

Specialization: Full time researcher at the Institute for European Studies

Materials: 5

Specialization: Geopolitics, Geoeconomics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights

Tobias Nase

Germany

Materials: 8

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy, Ukraine

Valerijus Simulik

Lithuania

Materials: 2

Specialization: Politics and economics in Baltic States, education and science, non - governmental organizations, globalization and EU

Van Gelis

Greece

Materials: 17

Specialization: Middle East

Materials: 1

Specialization: Kosovo, Serbia, Belgrad bombing

Materials: 5

Specialization: international relations, Russia

toTop