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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08SARAJEVO1180 2008-07-23 07:47:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sarajevo
Cable title:  

BOSNIA - REACTIONS TO ARREST OF ICTY FUGITIVE

Tags:   PREL PGOV KAWC KJUS BK SR 
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PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVJ #1180/01 2050747
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 230747Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8672
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUFOAOA/USNIC SARAJEVO BK PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SARAJEVO 001180 

SIPDIS

EUR (DICARLO), EUR/SCE (HOH, FOOKS, STINCHCOMB), S/WCI
(WILLIAMSON, LAVINE, VIBUL), INR (MORIN); NSC FOR BRAUN;
OSD FOR BEIN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/23/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV KAWC KJUS BK SR
SUBJECT: BOSNIA - REACTIONS TO ARREST OF ICTY FUGITIVE
RADOVAN KARADZIC

Classified By: Michael J. Murphy for Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)



1. (C) SUMMARY: The arrest of Radovan Karadzic is a critical
milestone in the quest for justice for the victims of war
crimes committed in Bosnia. It could also constitute an
important step on the road to reconciliation in the country
depending, in part, on how the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) handles Karadzic's
prosecution. While officially welcomed by all parties in
Bosnia, Karadzic's arrest has highlighted persistent ethnic
and political fault lines in the country. Republika Srspska
(RS) Milorad Dodik stressed that the RS was not a "Karadzic
creation" and noted that former Bosniak war time President
Alija Izetbegovic should have been tried for his actions
during the 1992-1995 war, and implied that Bosniak member of
the Tri-Presidency Haris Silajdzic might have been guilty of
war crimes as well. Silajdzic said that, though Karadzic had
been arrested and Slobodan Milosevic was dead, "their project
in BiH continues to live" (a reference to the existence of
the RS). Sulejman Tihic, President of the Bosniak Party for
Democratic Action (SDA), predicted that information disclosed
during Karadzic's trial will enable a reexamination of the
legitimacy of the RS. Over the longer-term, justice and
reconciliation in Bosnia will require more than the arrest
and prosecution of ICTY indictees Karadzic and Mladic. It
will require adoption of a comprehensive plan for addressing
Bosnia's war crimes legacy, and more importantly, it will
require political leaders from all ethnic groups to honestly
address the past and to actively help heal the wounds from
the war. Unfortunately, political leaders' reactions to
Karadzic's arrest suggest that they will continue to pursue
the same unconstructive agendas that they have pursued for
the last two years. END SUMMARY

Karadzic's Arrest Dominates the News


--------------------------





2. (U) As expected, the July 21 arrest in Belgrade of ICTY
fugitive Radovan Karadzic has generated rapid and widespread
reactions among Bosnian political leaders and the media.
Although the news broke shortly after midnight, media
outlets, including those in the Republika Srpska (RS),
delayed press deadlines in order to obtain reactions from
leading politicians representing all ethnic groups.
Immediately after the arrest, Republika Srpska Police Chief
Uros Pena released a public statement saying that the RS
Police had played no role in the Karadzic arrest. The
statement also noted that the RS Ministry of Interior would
increase security at key government and cultural facilities
as a precautionary measure. (Note: We have not received
reports of disturbances related to Karadzic's arrest during
the day (June 22). End Note)

Dodik: Karadzic is Individual, Bosniaks Guilty of Crimes


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik was restrained in
his initial reaction to the arrest, echoing positions
consistent with past RS statements on ICTY issues. During a
press conference to discuss the Karadzic arrest, Dodik was
less restrained. He reiterated RS support for Serbia's
actions and prosecution of all ICTY indictees, and
congratulated Serbia for advancing the country's EU
integration efforts through the arrest. However, Dodik cited
Karadzic's detention in Serbia as proof that the RS had been
unjustifiably accused of failure to cooperate with the ICTY
and had done everything in its power to comply with its ICTY
obligations. Dodik said the arrest of ICTY indictees should
be treated as a simple legal obligation and cautioned
Sarajevo politicians to refrain from "misusing the euphoria"
created by the arrest. Dodik cautioned that the ensuing
trial should focus on the crimes committed by Karadzic, who
bears responsibility for his actions alone, and not be used
to try the RS or Bosnian Serbs. He stated that Karadzic did
not create the RS, the RS people did, and warned that guilt
cannot be collective. Dodik also noted that former Bosniak
war time President Alija Izetbegovic should have been tried
for his actions during the 1992-1995 war, and asserted that
Silajdzic "should answer" for his activities during the war.

SDS and Dodik Exchange Barbs


--------------------------



SARAJEVO 00001180 002 OF 002





4. (SBU) The Karadzic arrest precipitated an exchange of
political barbs among Dodik's Alliance of Independent Social
Democrats (SNSD) and the Serb Democratic Party (SDS),
Karadzic's party. At the continuation of a regular session
of the Republika Srpska National Assembly (RSNA) this morning
(June 22), the SDS caucus attempted to add a discussion of
Karadzic's arrest to the RSNA agenda, presumably to criticize
it and/or to attack ICTY and Bosnian courts for an anti-Serb
bias. RSNA Speaker Igor Radojcic, a member of Dodik's SNSD,
refused the SDS request for adding the Karadzic arrest to the
regular agenda, and instead adjourned the RSNA for summer
recess. SDS responded by announcing plans to initiate the
procedures for a special session of the RSNA to force the
decision to take place. In his press conference, Dodik
accused SDS of attempting to "dramatize the situation."


The Bosniaks: Challenging the RS's Legitimacy


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Bosniak political leaders focused on the arrest as
an opportunity to reexamine the historical legacy of the war
and the structures of post-Dayton Bosnia. Bosniak member of
the Tri-Presidency, Haris Siljadzic, stated that, although
Karadzic has been arrested and Slobodan Milosevic was dead,
"their projects in BiH continue to live." Silajdzic also
lectured that "the entire international community has an
obligation to erase the consequences of genocide in Bosnia,
and not only to arrest Karadzic and Ratko Mladic." Party for
Democratic Action (SDA) President Sulejman Tihic predicted
that information that will be disclosed in Karadzic's trial
will answer questions about the character of the 1992-1995
war in Bosnia, including actions by Karadzic, such as the
creation of the RS. He also attacked the RS for failing to
arrest anyone for the genocide in Srebrenica, and warned that
the RS could not "subsist" because it was Karadzic's and
Mladic's creation. Reis Ceric, the head of Bosnia's Islamic
community, stated that Karadzic's arrest represented the
victory of truth, justice, and peace in Bosnia, but expressed
sadness that Ratko Mladic remains at large.

Comment: What Does it Mean for Bosnia


--------------------------





6. (C) The arrest of Radovan Karadzic is a critical
milestone in the quest for justice for the victims of war
crimes committed in Bosnia. It could also constitute an
important step on the road to reconciliation in the country.
Bosniaks will scrutinize ICTY's handling of the Karadzic case
through the lens of the failed Milosevic prosecution.
Another ICTY failure to convict - in a timely fashion - one
of the key architects of the genocide and ethnic cleansing
that took place here would profoundly upset Bosniaks and
complicate our efforts to focus them and their political
leadership on the future. Karadzic's trial should also
expose the Serbs to some uncomfortable truths about the RS's
past, and honestly addressing that past is something the RS
leadership must do in order to help heal the country's
wounds. Much more is required for justice and reconciliation
in Bosnia than Karadzic's arrest, however.



7. (C) To begin with, Bosniaks will - justifiably -
continue to demand the arrest and prosecution of ICTY
indictee Ratko Mladic. The country must also adopt and
implement a strategy for effectively addressing those aspects
of the country's war crimes legacy that ICTY will not
address. This is why the National War Crimes Strategy that
is currently being drafted is so important. The country's
political leaders also have a responsibility to support the
institutions, which will be charged with its implementation.
Finally, political leaders will have to constructively
address the past and to focus their energies on building the
peaceful and prosperous future that is essential to lasting
reconciliation in Bosnia. This will require a sea change in
Bosnian politics, something that Silajdzic's comment --
Karadzic's project is alive and well -- and Dodik's
suggestion that Silajdzic must be held accountable for his
war time actions, makes clear is exceedingly unlikely.
ENGLISH