It has been nearly one and half year since Radovan Karadzic was brought to justice after living more than a decade as fugitive, practicing alternative medicine in Serbian capital Belgrade. He disguised himself so well that no one ever imagined that he is one of the most wanted people on the face of earth. The icing on the cake is that he was living right next to a lady who works for Interpol and every day when she long in to her system she sees the images of three of the most wanted people on the face of earth Usama Bin Laden, Ratko Mladic and off course his next door neighbor Radovan Karadzic. He lived in Belgrade as Dr. Daragan Dabic. It is widely speculated that his friends in Serbian government helped him to disguise and provided him with passports and identifications. It is also noteworthy that Slobodan Milosevic was in power, when Radovan Karadzic disappeared.
So the trial is entering a very important point where the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is finally picking up some momentum about the trial of Radovan Karadzic. Right from the beginning Karadzic has made few brief appearances in court. He went on to boycott the opening of his trial last October, stating lack of time for the preparation of his defense against the 11 charges of Genocide, crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Convention during the Bosnian war. But the judges then appointed a London-based barrister Richard Harvey as Karadzic’s lawyer, and rejected Karadzic’s request for a further postponement until June.
The trial has experienced some very interesting times so far and it is very possible that the trial might shift from the essence of charges. As Karadzic has done so far is to delay the trial and with this tactic he might do the same as Slobodan Milosevic did in the past.
The former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic died in 2006, before even the trial against him could have ended. But it was quite obvious that he succeeded in using the trial into a political forum, avoiding the core accusations but wasting time against the interference of Western powers in the former Yugoslavia.
With a glowing example in front of him Radovan Karadzic is trying to do the same, his ridiculous two days defense was all but myth itself which makes one think is he really serious about what he is saying? Earlier he completely denied the Hague tribunal calling it a NATO court but his two defense made it clear that all he is doing is trying to save his skin and delay the court so the nature might take its toll and give him acquittal like his brother in arm had.
On the other hand Karadzic’s decision to come out and defend himself might have been caused by the appointment of Harvey, Karadzic might feared that if he continued to delay and deny the court Harvey might end up taking the lime light and he will sit and watch it like a plant in rain and sunshine, or at least that’s what he said.
It is not surprising to see Karadzic acting innocent, as Serbs have a history of feeling wrongly done. But it is quite contrary to the fact what happened on the ground. During the siege of Sarajevo, lasting for over 44 months, Karadzic was the man in charge in Pale, a village in the south wets of Sarajevo and the headquarter of Bosnian Serb forces. Watching from the mountaintops of Pale, Sarajevo was like a fishing bowl, and Bosnian-Serb forces were ready with their modern weaponry to go on for a kill. While Sarajevo was surrounding from all sides and Bosnian-Serb soldiers used to shoot civilians indiscriminately with machine guns, sniper rifles and mortars.
By looking at the footage or speaking to the press crops in Bosnia during those bloody days you can easily understand that these snipers and soldiers had a clear idea of what they are doing and even an a layman can understand that they are acting on clear instructions. But with weapons taken from Serb forces and the Bosnian-Serb command and control structure at the back of these sliders it is very easy to realize that Karadzic was the main man who gave the backing, justifications and instructions to these soldiers to go on for a blood bath.
What puzzles people like me is the fact that now Karadzic has got the time to speak out and tell this side of the story but for the whole three years there was not even one word from him talking about the so called atrocities he is alleging the Bosnians for faking the events to get foreign intervention. How could for three years people of Sarajevo suffered, surrounded by soldiers and facing sniper rifles and shell on daily basis and no one ever stood up for them and tried to stop it.
But in the presence of enough evidence to secure a conviction the court faces a mammoth task of coming up with a befitting conviction, which would act precedence for future leader who would try to turn their guns on civilians and try to divide e a country. But if the court falls into the hands of delaying tactics by Radovan Karadzic it would defiantly call into the question of tribunal’s ability to try anyone in the future.