icty, international criminal tribunal of the former Yugoslavia, Karadzic
Kikinda Television via APTN/AP
Radovan Karadzic

Karadzic’s Recent Arrest May Increase Legitimacy of International Courts

July 28, 2008 10:56 AM
by Christopher Coats
Dogged by criticism surrounding their effectiveness and cost, the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has recently ramped up efforts to bring more high-profile suspects to justice.

30-Second Summary

The recent arrest and upcoming trial of accused war criminal Radovan Karadzic may provide an opportunity for courts such as the ICTY to gain traction as reliable international legal authorities.

Anchored by a new chief prosecutor, the court looks to the Karadzic trial as a way to prove their effectiveness as a global force—one that might be able to serve as an actual deterrent to future war crimes.

Supporters of such international bodies hope a successful trial will help garner wider support for other cases, such as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was recently charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Of the three highest profile suspects charged by the ICTY in connection with the campaign of genocide in the former Yugoslavia, only ex-president Slobodan Milosevic was brought to trial.

He died shortly before the trial began, however, eliminating the opportunity for the court to prove it could successfully try a high-profile prisoner.

Though the court has tried dozens charged with war crimes, the absence of high-profile cases has overshadowed their successes.

Attention has now shifted to the search for General Ratko Mladic, who is accused of leading a military campaign against the Muslim and Croatian community in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

Headline Links: A chance for redemption

Background: A spotty record in some eyes

Reactions: Far-reaching effects

Opinion & Analysis: Blame abounds

Related Topic: The Milosevic trial

Reference: The ICTY official Web site


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