by Emir SULJAGIC
Created as a program for integration of the former Warsaw pact armies in the NATO, this association hides the essence of the problem. The problem, however, lies not in Radovan Karadzic or the Partnership for Peace, but in the court at The Hague.
Although his avoidance of arrest is undoubtedly the greatest problem of Bosnian-Hercegovinian society, the fact remains that during the post-war period the arrest of alleged war criminals was not treated as a sine qua non for progress on other fronts. Bosnia-Hercegovina thus became a member of the Council of Europe, while the international community remained on friendly terms with some of Karadzic's closest wartime collaborators. The UN police mission has meanwhile ensured the survival of a police and security apparatus under his effective control, while the black market economy has remained under the control of a small circle with him at its centre.
Tentacles of Bosnian cancer: If as Paddy Ashdown maintains Karadzic is a cancer destroying this society, then one of its tentacles [sic] is Dragan Kalinic, president of the Srpska National Assembly, while Dragan Cavic, president of Srpska, is another. Who is responsible for these people's continued legitimacy? At the time when Radovan Karadzic withdrew from public life, he was already charged with genocide; but neither Richard Holbrooke nor Karl Bildt (high representative at the time) found anything wrong with negotiating with him terms of his retirement that would include his de facto immunity.
Yet it seems that this year things are beginning to change. Thus Jaap de Hoop Sheffer, the NATO general secretary, gave the Bosnian government an absurdly short yet urgent period of five weeks to arrest Radovan Karadzic. The timescale, intended to illustrate the importance of the problem, in fact revealed a basic paradox: the Bosnian government, which has no proper police or intelligence apparatus, is supposed to close a chapter by solving a problem that the international community itself created but that it subsequently found itself unable to deal with.
The difference in regard to earlier years is that the Hague tribunal has outlived its political usefulness, and if not wound up by the end of this year would again become a problem, just as it was a problem in the early years of its existence. Unless Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are arrested (but what about the thirteen other Bosnian Serbs on Tribunal arrest warrants?), the Tribunal will not be able to close its doors by the set deadline. This means that it will not be able to halt its investigations as announced.
International obligation of entities: Another change in relation to previous years is that, for the first time since the end of the war, the Bosnian Serb government now sees a direct link between the survival of Srpska on the one hand and Karadzic's arrest on the other. Dragan Cavic, the most pragmatic of the smaller entity's politicians, warned last week that Srpska was bound to respect its international obligations. Srpska, which even according to the Dayton Agreement has no international obligations, does in fact have one - called Radovan Karadzic.
Cavic's presentation of Srpska: Awareness that Srpska is more valuable than Karadzic, and the police apparatus under Cavic's control, are two factors in the equation that could lead to his arrest. At her last visit to Banja Luka, chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who had hitherto not spared Srpska, said for the first time that she appreciated the political will that now existed to arrest Karadzic. Acting in line with her new strategy of ending the Tribunal's work, she brought with her not a stick but a carrot. Her statement is rather pathetic, given that the only proof of the Srpska's political will to date has been the arrest of Novica Lukic, an innocent man.
Over the past years the Srpska government has tried to secure both Radovan Karadzic and his legacy called the Republic of Srpska. But faced with a choice between the two, it has no choice. Under genuine pressure from the West, Karadzic has ceased to be the legitimizing symbol of the product of his labors. With him in prison, Srpska will be seen abroad in the manner in which Dragan Cavic likes to present it: as the more stable part of Bosnia-Hercegovina, fuelled by the myth that its creator was eventually forced to sacrifice himself so that it might live!