Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another war criminal bites the dust

It is always a pleasure to hear that war criminals are brought to justice to get what they deserve. No matter how old or how healthy they are, it would just not be fair to let this people live a peaceful life while we know that they were responsible for the torture and assassination of hundreds, or maybe thousands, of people. The time for them comes: just as happened to criminals like Slobodan Milosevic, who was brought to justice in 2001; or Nuon Chea in Cambodia, who was arrested at age 82; the time to face the law has come to Radovan Karadzic.

Well, this guy was nicknamed "the butcher of Sarajevo" for good reasons. During the Bosnian war, the Serb-Bosnian army under Ratko Mladic's command (who received orders directly from Karadzic) carried out operations like the infamous massacre of Srebrenica, where about 8,000 people (mostly Muslim Bosnians, or Bosniaks) were systematically killed, in a genocide that is thought to be the worst in Europe since the end of World War II. Another incident directly linked to Karadzic is the siege of Sarajevo during 1992-1996, during which an estimated of 12,000 people (mostly civilians) were killed and many others wounded.

There are many other charges against Karadzic, such as taking hostages and crimes against humanity. Since 1995, he had been a fugitive of the International Court of The Hague, and just yesterday he was finally arrested in Belgrade. Unsurprisingly, the current look of Mr. Karadzic is radically different from how he used to look: A long, white beard, a hat, thick glasses and a ponytail substituted the messy hairstyle and expensive suits that he used to wear during the Bosnian war.

It is now a matter of time until we know what sentences will be laid upon him. No matter how severe they will be, it won't repair the lives of those who were killed or lost loved ones under Karadzic's orders. But at least it will be better than not having done anything about the case at all.

Photo by AP


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