Sonja Biserko said that she believes that Radovan Karadzic’s tactic to prolong his trial is part of a strategy from Belgrade to obstruct the War Crime Tribunal’s work.
Sonja Biserko, director of the Helsinki Committee in Serbia, believes that the work of the Hague Tribunal has had almost no effect on Serbian society.
“I don’t think whether Ratko Mladic goes or does not go to The Hague will have any major effect on the process of (Serbia) facing up to the past,” she said in an interview for Justice Report.
According to Biserko, it’s obvious the state knew where Karadzic was hiding, “because his arrest was done in a picturesque way, while much pomp accompanied the revelation of his identity – the Serbian media broadcast stories about how he held the whole world up to ridicule, paying more attention to his secret life and his ‘powers and capabilities’ than to the indictment and the crimes for which he was held responsible”.
Radovan Karadzic was arrested on 21 July, 2008, on a bus in Belgrade after a search for him that lasted for more than a decade. According to Serbian police, he had the false identity of Dragan Dabic.
Biserko also believes that the international community “has failed to create mechanisms” to force Serbia to present war crimes verdicts to the public in a way that adequately presents the terrible suffering these crimes have caused.
“This goes to show that the Serbian authorities have never distanced themselves from the politics of Slobodan Milosevic and have continued implementing his politics using different means!” she said.
“We now have the example of Radovan Karadzic’s trial, which is being obstructed and prolonged… Using all available means, he is trying to act like [the indicted Serbian Radical Party leader] Vojislav Seselj or Slobodan Milosevic. He is doing this himself or being dragged into it by his defence team. This is Belgrade’s strategy: obstruct the Tribunal, not give away the archives and pressurize witnesses.
”Nevertheless, I think the Karadzic case is different. The tribunal has more experience now and I think it has sufficient material to enable it to easily prove all the allegations in the indictment,” concludes Biserko.