Wednesday, 23 July 2008

How Karadzic thrived on appeasement

The welcome capture of the Bosnian Serb killer Radovan Karadzic is a victory for the international justice system and an encouraging sign - following this year's elections - that Serbia has opted for progress within Europe over irredentist nationalism. But it is also an opportunity to remind ourselves exactly why this self-styled poet and latter day 'alternative' therapist got away with it so long as he arranged the mass murder of up to 100,000 people. Nobody does this better than Ed Vulliamy in today's Guardian:

Karadzic was no fool; he spoke the diplomats' language, and, in return, Britain, France and the UN led the prevalent international policy of calculated refusal to stop him, thereby advancing his aims. The governments of Britain and France especially - as well as the United Nations leadership - saw in Karadzic not the war criminal they call him today, but a fellow politician with whom to do business. Karadzic dealt - directly or indirectly - with Lord Peter Carrington, Malcolm Rifkind, Lord David Owen, Cyrus Vance, Douglas Hurd and Dame Pauline Neville-Jones as an equal deserving full diplomatic protocol. A recent book by the lawyer Carole Hodge finds Karadzic, in return, praising Britain's "refined diplomacy". To the private hilarity of the Serbs, western diplomats accepted Karadzic's endless, empty guarantees and his posturing and fleeting "ceasefires". They agreed to turn back aid to the desperate safe areas" declared but betrayed by the UN. They connived in maps and "peace plans" that gave Karadzic everything he had won by violence and tolerated the siege of Sarajevo, which he is accused of personally overseeing.

No comments: