Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the arrest of former Bosnian Serb leader and fugitive war crimes suspect Radovan Karadžić, who had evaded capture for over a decade after being indicted by the United Nations tribunal set up to try those responsible for atrocities committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.
Mr. Karadžić had been one of three remaining fugitives from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), along with Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladić and the ethnic Serb politician Goran Hadžić. He was detained in Serbia yesterday.
“The Secretary-General commends the Serbian authorities for this decisive step toward ending impunity for those indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia,” according to a statement issued yesterday by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.
“This is a historic moment for the victims, who have waited 13 years for Mr. Karadžić to be brought to justice,” it added.
The former President of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina faces charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, wilful killing, persecutions, deportation, inhumane acts and other crimes committed during the 1990s.
The statement noted that while yesterday’s arrest is “an important milestone, the work of the International Tribunal will not be complete until all fugitives have been arrested and tried.”
The arrest was also hailed by ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz who called it a “milestone in cooperation” with the tribunal.
“This is a very important day for the victims who have waited for this arrest for over a decade,” Mr. Brammertz said. “It is also an important day for international justice because it clearly demonstrates that nobody is beyond the reach of the law and that sooner or later all fugitives will be brought to justice.”
The date of Mr. Karadžić's transfer to the ICTY has yet to be decided.