HTML> Bosnia is Far Away Back to Bosnia and East Timor Home Page
This is from Bosnia Report

Why IFOR failed to arrest Karadz'ic'

Michael Williams

'The British government's abject unwillingness even to consider the possibility of arresting Dr Karadzic, an indicted war criminal, when 60,000 of the world's best armed and trained troops are currently in Bosnia, is not so much inexplicable as morally repellent. Their reasons for not endorsing a commando raid to capture Karadzic would not stand up to any searching scrutiny. The risks of re-igniting a war are slim. The Times has recently reported that the Bosnian Serb military commanders have suggested that they would not resist such a move.

That there would be some risk is without doubt. In a domestic jurisdiction, however, we would never accept the rationale that the police could not apprehend armed criminals for fear of risk to their own men. IFOR, the Nato-led peace implementation forces in Bosnia, have suffered fewer casualties in seven months than the New York police could expect to sustain in as many days. Too often in the wars that have engulfed Yugoslavia since 1991 the military advice rendered to the government has been timid and has exaggerated threats from the Serbs.

The real reason for the dismal reluctance of HMG to contemplate Dr Karadzic's arrest lies elsewhere. The British government and its military advisers have long believed that partition is the only answer in Bosnia, despite the appalling historic examples of Ireland, Cyprus, Palestine and India, and are plainly unwilling to support any course of action that would alienate the Serbs. Similar reasoning was behind the scarcely veiled "official" British outrage a few weeks ago when the OSCE, charged with organizing the September elections in Bosnia, threatened to ban Dr Karadzic's party, the SDS, unless the Pale psychiatrist withdrew completely from political life. In fact his [...] arrest would send a very clear message, while at the same time creating a political space in the Bosnian Serb republic where other more moderate voices could emerge.

The British government's stand also reflects its clear lack of enthusiasm for the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Such a position is extraordinarily short-sighted, for without justice there can be little hope of a lasting peace in Bosnia.'

Michael Williams
(Director of Information, UN Protection Force, former Yugoslavia, 1994-95),
The Sunday Times, 18 August 1996.