Monday, 26 October 2009

Bosnia, back in the spotlight.

Today is supposed to mark the start of the trial of Radovan Karadzic, accused of 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Undoubtedly there will be twists and turns, Karadzic will be playing the International Criminal Court for all he is worth. He is unlikely to turn up, will refuse to recognise the courts jurisdiction, will claim he hasn't had enough time to prepare his defence and will be doing all in his power to discredit the court and drag the trial out indeterminably.

I will write a post at some point talking about the trial and how people feel about it here. It is, as you can imagine, a contentious issue. Some people passionately feel that the trial is needed; to establish what happened, to create a legally recognised truth that can't be twisted by every side to suit its own agendas. Others feel that it is important that those responsible for creating the events of the 1992-95 conflict are held to account, made to take responsibility for their actions. On the other hand there are some who would rather that the events of the war were placed firmly in the past, and who wonder if whether another trial highlighting Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo serves to keep Bosnia firmly orientated towards its conflict years, preventing them from looking towards the future. Of course there are also those who vehemently protest against the proceedings, claiming them to be unfair and illegitimate.

But the start of the trial, coming as it does as the various political Bosnian leaders are trying (or not trying so much) to establish how the country can move forward out of the political molasses pit that they seem to have found themselves in, will put Bosnia back onto the global news agenda. Whilst most people here think that the articles in The Telegraph and Time Magazine claiming that Bosnia is once again on the brink of war, to be an exaggeration of the situation and a strategic move by the internatinal community to put pressure upon the Bosnian politicians, there is definitely a sense that this is a crucial moment in post war Bosnia. Suddenly people who usually ignore the political shenanigans are talking about it. There are rumours about some people rearming themselves (but then again, there are always rumours about people rearming themselves).

These next couple of months will be interesting times for Bosnia. And now I am starting to understand why it is that the Chinese saying 'may you live in interesting times' is understood to be a curse.

9 comments:

Mwa said...

I suppose the Chinese are right. All of a sudden I'm rather grateful for our boring politics.

gaelikaa said...

May you and yours remain safe and well in Bosnia throughout these turbulent times!

Toni in Ithaca said...

We heard today that Karadzic refused to appear at his trial, and the trial was suspended. What a deal! Look forward to your notes about what Tuzlans are saying about it.

Iota said...

Keep us posted...

siobhan said...

It is interesting to read about it from someone with a bit of insight into how people feel there.

nappy valley girl said...

I also heard on the radio this morning that he didn't turn up for the trial - it certainly seems to make a mockery of this kind of justice. I hope that things stay relatively stable.....

Sparx said...

Good luck with it all - and that is DEFINITELY a curse. Keep us up to date, it's good to hear what it's like from the inside.

zooarchaeologist said...

I hope you all remain safe there, really interesting to read.
On other matters aparently you can use honey instead of golden syrup for cornflake cakes xx

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Mwa - I always find Belgium interesting as it is the country that people always point to as an example of how Bosnia might work in the future.

Gaelikka - I do hope it is all a storm in a teacup. Today I'm feeling more positive about it all and am pretty sure that it is.

Toni - this trial will run and run. There'll be ever such a lot of shenanigans.

Iota - will do. I do wonder if I write too much about the politics here. A Bosnian Serb war criminal was released yesterday and I sort of wanted to post something about that, but it is all just a bit depressing so thought better of the idea in the end.

Siobhan - I'm glad you find it interesting. I'll be posting more about it all in the future.

NVG - me too! Luckily Tuzla is a pretty stable place. If there is trouble it will be elsewhere in the country.

Sparx - it is such a curse.

ZA - Oo, thanks for the tip. I may try this later today! Presumably runny honey rather than the thick stuff...