Praise and puzzlement over Karadzic capture: world media

2008-07-24 06:32:54 GMT       2008-07-24 14:32:54 (Beijing Time)

Applause for the capture of Radovan Karadzic mixed with astonishment in world newspapers Wednesday that one of the world's most wanted men had managed to live such an open life for so long without being detected.

Britain's Financial Times hailed Karadzic's arrest on Monday night after nearly 13 years on the run as "a triumph for the rule of law" and said Europe should breathe "a collective sigh of relief" that he was finally in custody.

The Guardian said the former Bosnian Serb leader had tried to "outsmart" the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, by lying low long enough for the political will of the international community to find him was exhausted.

"He almost succeeded," the newspaper said.

Several papers stressed the need to follow up on the arrest of Karadzic by capturing his former military commander Ratko Mladic, who is also wanted on the same charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

"If Karadzic has been able to live incognito in Belgrade, it is difficult to resist the suspicion that Mladic, assuming he is alive, cannot also be apprehended," the Daily Telegraph said.

US media marvelled at how Karadzic, by the simple expedient of growing his hair and a beard, was able to live a relatively normal life for more than a decade and even practise in a medical clinic.

"The former Bosnian Serb leader regarded as one of the world's most notorious fugitive war-crimes suspects, built a life on the lam that was public, if disguised, and seemingly unfettered by fears of detection," wrote The Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times, under a headline "Finally, Nowhere to Hide," welcomed the arrest of a man who "incited vicious racial hatred and orchestrated some of the worst horrors of the Bosnian war."

The French press saw in Karadzic's capture a clear sign that Serbia was leaving its nationalist past behind and moving towards the European Union.

Le Monde welcomed what it said was a "sign of good faith" by the Serbs towards Europe, and one that reflected a country that was "little by little reconciling itself with its neighbours and moving towards the European community."

The left-wing Liberation daily said the real importance of the arrest was the signal it sent that people who abuse their power to the extreme suffering of others would not allowed to act with impunity.

"It is important that victims know that their torturers will be judged. Without exception. Whether their crimes are committed in Cambodia, in Darfur, or in Bosnia," it said.

Russian newspapers had mixed reactions to Karadzic's capture, offering sympathy for Moscow's traditional ally Belgrade while conceding that Karadzic was indeed a reviled figure.

"In 1992-1995 there was a war in Bosnia, and in it even our Serbian brothers committed crimes," the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia wrote in an article titled "Radovan Karadzic: Hero, Criminal or Sacrifice?"

The Moskovsky Komsomolets daily criticized the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for being biased against Serbs.

"If one looks at the list of people accused by The Hague-based tribunal ... the first thing that jumps out is the lack of ethnic balance," it said.


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