The fact that erstwhile Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is still a free man has made a mockery of the international community's promise to bring those responsible for the genocide in Bosnia to justice. Thankfully, this injustice may be about to come to an end.
The chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor for former Yugoslavia said she expects one of the most wanted figures from the Balkan wars, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, to be arrested Wednesday.
Carla del Ponte refused Tuesday to disclose the basis for her optimism that Karadzic, who has been in hiding for nearly a decade, will be taken into custody.
"I'm still thinking that somebody is looking for Karadzic very hard, and that he will be arrested very soon," she said. "Of course I have (information). But you all understand that I cannot tell it now publicly. Let's obtain the arrest of Karadzic and after we will speak about what we have done."
Del Ponte was responding to a question about a report that she felt Karadzic would be handed over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, this month. When a reporter noted that June ends on Wednesday, she replied: "I'm still expecting (it), yes. But let's see."
The chief prosecutor spoke to reporters after telling the U.N. Security Council it was unacceptable that Karadzic and his military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic were still fugitives nearly 10 years after the Dayton peace agreement was signed ending the war in Bosnia.
Karadzic was the leader of Bosnia's Serbs during the ethnic war that claimed 200,000 lives and left 1.8 million people homeless.
Nearly ten years later, and both Karadzic and Mladic are still fugitives from justice. It's not as if Karadzic has proven all that elusive. After all, it's not as if there are all that many places to hide in the Bosnian Serb Republic- especially for a man with Karadzic' tastes. What has left him a free man is a pronounced lack of resolve on the part of IFOR to take the steps necessary to capture Karadzic.
Mladic has proven to be a bit more elusive, simply because rumor has it that he spends a good deal of time in Serbia proper, which would certainly make him more difficult to apprehend. Even so, IFOR hasn't exactly busted their hump trying to find Mladic, either.
The apprehension of Karadzic would be a start. Forcing him to answer for the genocide he masterminded would give Bosnians something resembling justice. And it would be about damn time that he is called to account for his conduct.