Magazine article New Internationalist

Moment of Truth for Balkan War Crimes Tribunal

Magazine article New Internationalist

Moment of Truth for Balkan War Crimes Tribunal

Article excerpt

NETHERLANDS/FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

It has had a chequered history. Now, the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) faces a pivotal moment. This December it will pronounce its long-awaited verdict on Bosnian Serb politician Radovan Karadzic, after one of the most eventful and complicated trials in recent times.

Karadzic stands accused of authorizing war crimes against non-Serbs during the 1992-96 Siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, in which over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed. He evaded the authorities until 2008 and, following his indictment, the Tribunal received countless accusations of third-party involvement, with credible sources claiming that a 1996 deal with peace negotiator Richard Holbrooke, offering protection to Karadziæ if he withdrew from public life, had been reversed.

This is just one of many accusations of misconduct which have plagued the ICTY. In 2012, the Tribunal's overall budget was reported to have increased by a factor of 500 since its inception in 1993. It has also been accused of bowing to political pressure, biding its time until key perpetrators have died, as allegedly seen in the case of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. …

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