about icg 
  Latin America 
  Middle East 
  by region 
  by date 
  by keyword 
  media releases 
  articles/op. eds 
  media contacts 
contact us 
donate to icg 

 home  programs  europe  balkans  bosnia and herzegovina
  War Criminals at large in Republika Srpska: ICG calls for ban on Karadzic Party in upcoming Bosnian elections

Sarajevo/Brussels, 2 November 2000: The International Crisis Group (ICG) releases today a new report which exposes the extent to which alleged war criminals remain a powerful and influential force in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska, and calls for the banning of Radovan Karadzic’s Serbian Democratic Party from the 11 November general elections.

This report names 75 individuals in eighteen Republika Srpska municipalities and the Brcko District allegedly involved between 1992 and 1995 in war crimes like mass murder, ethnic cleansing and mass rape. It shows most of them still occupying positions of power in the police force and military, holding public office, exercising power through the legal or illegal economy, or influencing politics from behind the scenes.

They are both an obstructive and destructive force in contemporary Bosnia, seriously impeding the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. Yet international civilian and military officials know about them and meet with many of them.

Among key policy recommendations, the report calls for the de-certification of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) - founded by indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic - from Bosnia’s 11 November elections on the grounds that Karadzic continues to control the party’s day to day activities and that its structures and hierarchy are replete with alleged war crimes suspects who work against the Dayton Peace Agreement. If such banning proves impracticable in the short time remaining before the elections, pressure on the party should be maintained by setting and enforcing tough performance benchmarks on its elected officials.

The report also calls for more robust action by NATO’s SFOR to arrest indicted war crimes suspects, as well as increased financial support to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague to enable it to increase its case load, conduct sittings in Bosnia and better publicise its proceedings.

This report does not purport to be a comprehensive list of those who allegedly committed war crimes in Republika Srpska; nor is there any suggestion that war crimes were committed only in Republika Srpska, or only by Serbs and not Croats and Bosniaks (i.e. Muslims). But it is a particular matter of concern that Bosnian Serb authorities—in contrast to those of other ethnic groups—have yet to arrest a single Serb war crimes suspect, and have extended only minimal co-operation to the ICTY.

The continued presence in positions of some prominence of so many people suspected of grave crimes remains a major obstacle to peace building, and has needlessly prolonged the international community presence in Bosnia.


copyright privacy sitemap