Monday, August 14, 2006

Article: Del Ponte interview or the search for Mladic part 708

Yakima Gulag has posted this interview with Carla Del Ponte a few days ago on her blog. Most of what the interview reveals isn't too earth shattering: she doesn't like war criminals, etc.

But I found this quote to be very interesting to say the least:

So is the government in Belgrade hiding him, or are they just incompetent?
Neither. I identified three times between the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 that Serbia could have arrested him and instead they sent him a message asking him to voluntarily surrender. They don't want to arrest him because they feel it could be politically damaging

I don't mean to sound (too) glib; but does anyone but me think that this tactic might be slightly counterproductive?
Mladic has been on the run for 10 years plus; and there has never been any indication (as far as I am aware) that he has planned to turn himself in.
Plus, Mladic isn't an idiot, one would assume that when Mladic receives a phone call asking him to surrender; he's probably going to switch safe houses or employ another tactic to avoid detection.

Secondly, exactly why does the Serbian government feel the need to ask Mladic to surrender in the first place?
The answer Del Ponte gives is because they feel that arresting him could be politically damaging.
By "politically damaging" does she mean that arresting Mladic could lead to massive civil strife and anarchy in the streets in Belgrade?
I know that Mladic still has sizeable support in Serbia; but somehow I doubt the streets of Belgrade will be turned into scene from "Apocalypse Now" if Mladic is apprehended.
Or, does "politically damaging" merely mean that the government is afraid of what damaging effects arresting the General will have on their re-election prospects?

Anyway, one can only hope that the powers that be will stop treating Mladic with kids gloves or as if he is simply being charged with not obeying a traffic law.


Owen said...

"You are renowned for having a temper. What makes you angry?" "Injustice. Not criminal injustice — global injustice."

Great woman - power to her ire!

Yakima_Gulag said...

I don't think the streets of Belgrade would turn into a scene from 'Apocalypse Now' if Mladic were arrested. I am not even sure it would damage anyone's election prospects.

Bg anon said...

Must admit its something of a mystery to me too - why he hasnt been arrested.

The general public here have been 'ready' for the arrest of Mladic since 2002 or so. An arrest before then would have triggered some protests.

Its odd, I opposed the hard line tactics adopted during the state of emergency after Djindjic was murdered but if the then ruling Democratic Party had cynically called a snap election (and won a landslide) its entirely possible they could have arrested Mladic then.

Its extremely difficult, even with the best of intentions, to know who to support when you are also a strong supporter of human rights, democratic standards and so on.

Do you undermine human rights and democracy in order to further it? Is it possible to do so? I have doubts.
If you dont are you complicit with the nationalists, condoning the painfully slow progress in many areas including the arrest of suspected war criminals?