Mladic Reunited with Karadzic: Arrested and Heading to the Hague

Ratko Mladic will be reunited with his old ally Karadzic. This time it will be at the ICTY, in the Hague.

Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are united again, just not in the way they had hoped. Today, Mladic, seen by many as the Bosnian Serb architect of death for his role in the Bosnian war, was arrested by Serb authorities. He is set to be transferred to The Hague in the next few days, presumably to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). (note: earlier reports incorrectly suggested he was already on his way to The Hague)

For many, this was a long time coming. As David Bosco rightly points out,

“Whatever the truth, the arrest is a long-delayed victory for Bosnian victims, for the international tribunal–and for the European Union, which has maintained pressure on the issue for years.”

It is no doubt a great day for the ICTY, whose work has been winding down as it prepares to close its operations in the next few years. Mladic’s arrest signals the completion of the ICTY’s trinity: Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic are the Balkan crises’ “big fish.” Indeed, it is remarkable that the ICTY will be able to say they had custody of every leading perpetrator of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Balkans. Regardless of the trials and tribulations that characterized Milosevic’s trial and which may stain the record in Karadzic’s trial, the ICTY will forever be able to say that those most responsible for atrocities in the Balkans were detained and brought to the Court.

The Balkan Trinity: after today, each will have been delivered to the ICTY.

We are in unprecedented times for international criminal justice. Hardly a day goes by without major news that pertain directly to the pursuit of international justice and accountability. The dream of the architects of international criminal law that justice would be established as the deep grammar of international politics has been increasingly realized. Think of the headlines in the past few months: the ICC in Ivory Coast, Libya, and perhaps Syria; a truth commission for Ivory Coast; Egypt and Tunisia both expressing interest in joining the ICC, etc. Historians will undoubtedly note that at the epicenter, indeed at the very heart, of international politics in 2011 was the pursuit of justice and accountability.

Of course, some important issues and questions remain. It is not a foregone conclusion that Mladic will actually sit in the dock at the ICTY. It is to be seen whether he is physically and mentally fit for trial. It is also unclear what the reaction among Serbian nationalists will be. Mladic was incredibly popular amongst his troops. Further, there is still a need to investigate how Mladic managed to hide all of these years and who, exactly, helped him evade the law. Regardless, this is an important, perhaps even watershed moment for international criminal justice.

While learning of Mladic’s arrest, I wished that Richard Holbrooke, one of the world’s finest and most skilled negotiators, was alive to see Mladic brought to the ICTY. Holbrooke passed away earlier this year.

Richard Holbrooke, left, negotiating peace with Slobodan Milosevic

Here’s a little passage from Holbrooke’s book To End A War where he describes his meeting with the Balkan trinity:

“We slept little as we flew to Belgrade on the night of September 12-13. As we prepared for the meetings, I raised a sensitive issue: What should we do if asked to meet the two indicted war criminals who led the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic? Should we meet with them at all, and, if so, how should we deal with them? It was one of those rare questions that combined political and tactical considerations with questions of morality…

…I felt deeply uncomfortable about the prospect of sitting down with indicted war criminals. But in the end I decided it was justifiable under these circumstances. In reaching this conclusion, I was deeply influenced by the stories of Raoul Wallenberg and Folke Bernadotte, two legendary Swedes who had negotiated, respectively, with Adolf  Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler in 1944-1945…

…We concluded that it was acceptable to meet with Karadzic and Mladic if it would help the negotiations…However, we would set certain conditions…I said each member of the team could decide whether to participate if either man showed up, and whether to shake hands with them…

…At about 5:00 P.M., Milosevic unveiled his big surprise. “Karadzic and Mladic are in another villa…Why don’t we ask them to join us so you can negotiate directly with them?…

…At that instant, however, I felt a jolt go through my body. It is not an exaggeration to say that I simply hated the two men for what they had done…

…I did not shake hands, although both Karadzic and Mladic tried to.”

Holbrooke would undoubtedly join us in celebrating the fact that Mladic’s victims now have the opportunity to see justice done.

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About Mark Kersten

Mark is a PhD student in International Relations at the London School of Economics. His work focuses on the nexus of international criminal justice and conflict resolution. Specifically, he is examining the effects of the ICC on peace processes and negotiations in northern Uganda and Libya.
This entry was posted in Balkans, Genocide, Human Rights, ICTY, Peace Negotiations, Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mladic Reunited with Karadzic: Arrested and Heading to the Hague

  1. Jill Starr says:

    What It’s Like to Chill Out With Whom the Rest of the World Considers As The Most Ruthless Men: Ratko Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Radovan Karadzic (+) Confessions of a Female War Crimes Investigator By Jill Louise Starr NJ USA

    https://sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite/what-it-s-like-to-chill-out-with-whom-the-rest-of-the-world-considers-as-the-most-ruthless-men-in-the-world-ratko-mladic-and-radovan-karadzic-confessions-of-a-female-war-crimes-investigator

    Retrospectively, it was all so simple, natural and matter of fact being on a boat restaurant in Belgrade, sitting with, laughing, drinking a two hundred bottle of wine and chatting about war and peace while Ratko Mladic held my hand. Mladic, a man considered the world’s most ruthless war criminal since Adolf Hitler, still at large and currently having a five million dollar bounty on his head for genocide by the international community. Yet there I was with my two best friends at the time, a former Serbian diplomat, his wife, and Ratko Mladic just chilling. There was no security, nothing you’d ordinarily expect in such circumstances. Referring to himself merely as, Sharko; this is the story of it all came about.
    International Relations Consultant & War Crimes Investigator
    – War
    – Peace
    – Preventive Diplomatic Strategies
    – International Law
    – Charitable Causes
    – International Business
    – International Political Economy
    – Human Rights – Politics
    – War Crimes Investigations
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    – Law Projects Center Funded Projects (YCICC) Internationally https://sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite

  2. Jill Starr says:

    Irrefutable Proof ICTY Is Corrupt Court/Irrefutable Proof the Hague Court Cannot Legitimately Prosecute Karadzic Case By Jill Starr

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lpcyusa/IrrefutableProofICTYIsCorruptCourtIrrefutabl#

    (The Documentary Secret United Nations ICC Meeting Papers Scanned Images)

    https://sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite/irrefutable-proof-icty-is-corrupt-court-irrefutable-proof-the-hague-court-cannot-legitimately-prosecute-karadzic-case

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKe-5LORsGs (My YouTube VIDEO)

    This legal technicality indicates the Hague must dismiss charges against Dr Karadzic and others awaiting trials in the Hague jail; like it or not.

    Unfortunately for the Signatures Of the Rome Statute United Nations member states instituting the ICC & ICTY housed at the Hague, insofar as the, Radovan Karadzic, as with the other Hague cases awaiting trial there, I personally witnessed these United Nations member states having a substantial conversations, and, openly speaking about trading judicial appointments and verdicts for financial funding when I attended the 2001 ICC Preparatory Meetings at the UN in Manhattan making the iCTY and ICC morally incapable trying Radovan Karazdic and others.

    I witnessed with my own eyes and ears when attending the 2001 Preparatory Meetings to establish an newly emergent International Criminal Court, the exact caliber of criminal corruption running so very deeply at the Hague, that it was a perfectly viable topic of legitimate conversation in those meetings I attended to debate trading verdicts AND judicial appointments, for monetary funding.

    Jilly wrote:*The rep from Spain became distraught and when her country’s proposal was not taken to well by the chair of the meeting , then Spain argued in a particularly loud and noticably strongly vocal manner, “Spain (my country) strongly believes if we contribute most financial support to the Hague’s highest court, that ought to give us and other countries feeding it financially MORE direct power over its decisions.”

    ((((((((((((((((((((((((( ((((((((((((((((((((((((( Instead of censoring the country representative from Spain for even bringing up this unjust, illegal and unfair judicial idea of bribery for international judicial verdicts and judicial appointments, all country representatives present in the meeting that day all treated the Spain proposition as a ”totally legitimate topic” discussed and debated it between each other for some time. I was quite shocked! The idea was “let’s discuss it.” “It’s a great topic to discuss.”

    Some countries agreed with Spain’s propositions while others did not. The point here is, bribery for judicial verdicts and judicial appointments was treated as a totally legitimate topic instead of an illegitimate topic which it is in the meeting that I attended in 2001 that day to establish the ground work for a newly emergent international criminal court.))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    In particular., since “Spain” was so overtly unafraid in bringing up this topic of trading financial funding the ICC for influence over its future judicial appointments and verdicts in front of every other UN member state present that day at the UN, “Spain” must have already known by previous experience the topic of bribery was “socially acceptable” for conversation that day. They must have previously spoke about bribing the ICTY and ICC before in meetings; this is my take an international sociological honor student.

    SPAIN’s diplomatic gesture of international justice insofar as, Serbia, in all of this is, disgusting morally!SPAIN HAS TAUGHT THE WORLD THE TRUE DEFINITION OF AN “INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT.”

    I represented the state interests’ of the Former Yugoslavia, in Diplomat Darko Trifunovic’s absence in those meetings and I am proud to undertake this effort on Serbia’s behalf.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/lpcyusa (My Political Satire Blog)
    International Relations Consultant & War Crimes Investigator
    – War
    – Peace
    – Preventive Diplomatic Strategies
    – International Law
    – Charitable Causes
    – International Business
    – International Political Economy
    – Human Rights – Politics
    – War Crimes Investigations
    – Anti-Terrorism
    – Law Projects Center Funded Projects (YCICC) Internationally https://sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite

  3. Tully says:

    Mark, good article. It is about time he’s arrested. However, you call him the “Serbian architect” of the war. That should be replaced with “Bosnian-Serbian architect” as, unless you believe in Greater Serbia, Bosnian-Serbs and Serbian Serbs are different people. This mistake is made often but it is like comparing a Palestinian to a Jordan and should not be done. A Bosnian-Serb, or Bosniak, is not the same as a Serb.

  4. Mark Kersten says:

    Thanks for the comment and correction, Tully – I’ve made the change.

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