Karadzic, the Serbian Butcher of Bosnia, Arrested

Karadzic, the Serbian Butcher of Bosnia, Arrested

by Mirza A. Beg

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the leader and one of the main architects of Serbian atrocities and genocide against the Bosnian Muslims and Catholic Croats is not only good news, but much needed victory for the cause of justice. He, as the civilian leader, along with Ratko Mladic, the military leader of the Serb forces, was the main culprit in the civil war in Bosnia from 1991 to 1996. They rained death and destruction on Sarajevo and directed the genocide in Bosnia that killed more than 200,000 Bosnians and Croats. They were indicted for their crimes against humanity by the international court of justice at The Hague and have eluded arrest for the last thirteen years.

As children, we are taught and fortunately we believe that evil does not pay and justice triumphs in the end. It is an uplifting message to imbibe. It gives us an ideal to aspire for, rooted in the purity of innocence. Perhaps that early implant of idealism is what keeps the world from spinning completely out of control and falling irredeemably into chaos.

Unfortunately, as adults we come face to face with the reality, leading to disillusionment. We sadly come to realize that tyrants, exploiters and killers are only occasionally brought to justice to face deserved punishment. Most tyrants not only thrive, but are even celebrated; especially when they are supported by a sectarian populace. If they live long enough and mellow with age, their sectarian good deeds help cover up their terrible crimes.

The best known extreme examples are Hitler who came to a well deserved ignominious end, but Stalin was celebrated until his natural death by his beleaguered countrymen. History is full of such pairs. In modern times many horrible killers and dictators retired and found refuge in other countries to live and die in isolated luxury. Tyranny by stronger countries on weaker countries is often celebrated in the hallowed name of patriotism and nationalism by the strong.

Occasionally when tyrants, killers and genocide perpetrators are caught and brought to the bar of slow grinding sporadic justice, a modicum of humanity is reclaimed, a few tears are wiped and it rekindles hope.

Often tyrants are replaced by other tyrants, or even unintended tyranny of war of hubris, such as the fate of Saddam Hussein. Many dictators and evil systems fall to leaders full of promise who adapt the same methods, once in power, as in the case of Idi Amin of Uganda and Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately most major countries have been guilty of selective violations of human rights of beleaguered minorities; there are many current examples of such ongoing conflicts.

After the unprecedented carnage of the WW II, the stunned world came to its senses to establish a world-wide organization, The United Nations (UN), to be a world assembly where a consensus could be reached, so that such carnage could be avoided for a better future.

Though the UN has been immensely successful through its many agencies in helping the poverty-stricken peoples of the word, unfortunately it has failed in its primary purpose of outlawing wars and carnage. The main impediments are the five major powers, the victors of the WW II; Great Britain, France, the United States, China and now Russia in place of the Soviet Union. They reserved for them-selves the power of veto, the right to individually kill any resolution in the Security Council, the executive arm for world peace in the UN. Thus many regional wars and even genocides have continued, in which either the powers them-selves were engaged or it involved their client states. 

The UN also created the International Court of Justice, headquartered at The Hague in the Netherlands, to be the impartial arm of justice for those who had no other recourse. The most powerful country, the United States refused to join it. Therefore, the International Court of Justice works only when the less powerful tyrants are defeated and caught.

Nevertheless, the arrest of Radovan Karadzic after thirteen years of eluding half-hearted attempts by the Serbian and the UN peace-keepers is a small victory for the ideals that we were raised on, and it keeps the flickering flame of justice alive.


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