Friday, 12 June 2009

Bosnian news

Well, blow me down with a feather. There I am complaining that Bosnia never makes the news in the UK and when I listen to the news on Radio 4 last night (you have to love radio over the internet, the inside of our house sounds just as it did before we left the English shores) the second story was about Bosnia. It seems that the head of the Bosnian Serb army during the conflict here, Ratko Mladic, has been caught on video apparently as recently as last year and this video was aired on Bosnian TV on Wednesday night. Mladic was indicted on various war crimes and genocide charges and has been on the run for the last decade (reportedly in Serbia and rumoured to have been protected by the Serb state until recently).

This being the Balkans, nothing is as straightforward as it first seems. The timing of the release of the video coincides with two things. First the Bosnian Serbs had a June 11th deadline of complying with international community ultimatums which they then proceeded to ignore (more on this from my post earlier this week) and I don't find the release of a video of one of their previous leaders suggesting that the international community are getting closer to finding him entirely coincidental. Second, many believe that it is to put pressure on the country Serbia who are, with the election of a more Western inclined Prime Minister, to shortly have discussions about their route to EU membership. The apprehension of Radovan Karadzic in Belgrade last year by the Serbs (complete with beard, top knot and new career as an alternative medicine practitioner) was probably orchestrated with one eye on their EU credentials.

Either way there is nothing that the Bosnians love more than a good conspiracy theory and everyone is talking about it. Whether they will catch him and whether the war crimes tribunals in The Hague will deliver effective justice is a totally different story


Kat said...

I saw this on the news last night and immediately thought of you! Lets hope they get this guys caught!

gaelikaa said...

This is an interesting blog - but tell me, how do you manage the language? Serbo-Croation isn't it?

WeDoAdventure said...

Great minds...and all that! However, what I really wanted to blog about yesterday was having a fantastic Mexican platter at Hotel in Makarska, Croatia, but decided a big international news story should probably take precedence!

Shunj said...

Interestingly enough that same ‘pro Western’ oriented Prime Minister (a Bosnian, from Sarajevo, by birth) was the Minister of Defense (Homeland Security) at the time most of the video footage shown on TV two days ago was taken. Now, the most wanted war criminal in Europe was (is) protected by the army, living in the capitol, and was (is) on their payroll, and the man in the charge of all of that had no clue about it. Call me a conspiracist, but the whole story is very fishy to me.
There is something morbid in observing Mladić (in this homemade video) as a loving grandfather, holding a grandchild in his arms, and prattling to the same, when you know he’s the same man who ordered bombing of the children hospital in Sarajevo. I’ll never be able to understand that.

About Karadžić, while he was Europe’s most wanted criminal he held public lectures in Belgrade (and other cities) and he published books as well during the same time period. I read some of his poetry (he likes to fancy himself as a poet), and … there is something about untalented artists turning politicians.

Hope you don’t mind inputs from the local investigative journalism.

By the way, last night in Sarajevo the British Ambassador Michael Tatham organized the celebration of the Queen’s birthday at his residence. You can see the pictures on the link bellow.

Anonymous said...

I don't like admitting ignorance under any circumstances but I really don't know much about Bosnia. I do know enough about the genocide to want this man caught.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Kat - that is what we like! Brits In Bosnia, raising awareness of the region one blogger at a time. We shall see whether they catch him - it will be an interesting time to be here if they do.

Gaelikaa - Thanks for stopping by. It is Serbo Croat although it is now called Bosnian. Essentially the same language. We try, but struggle. The kids are better.

WDA - Saw you'd posted about this too. And you are eating Mexican food! very jealous...

Shunj - Love inputs from people who actually know what they are talking about rather than me who is trying to work it out. And I totally agree with you, there is something very fishy about the whole thing. As for the British Ambassadors party, we thought about coming but in the end couldn't face the drive with the kids. Next year maybe? Please keep commenting, I love to hear from Bosnians.

Insider 53 - thanks for stopping by. I've got some links on the side for sites with more info about Bosnia if you are interested. But, I agree, it would be great to see the remaining criminals caught and held to account for their actions.

SandyCalico said...

Award for you at mine :-)

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