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Europe Hails Karadzic Arrest in Belgrade

By Sonja Pace
London
22 July 2008

European politicians have welcomed the arrest of former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who is wanted for war crimes committed in Bosnia during the 1990's. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from London Karadzic is expected to be extradited to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

After being on the run for more than a decade, Radovan Karadzic was arrested by Serb security forces and is in custody in Belgrade.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the arrest shows the Serbian government's readiness to move closer to the European Union.

"We have always believed that Serbia has a place in the European family and a place in the European family depends on economics, it depends on culture, it depends on politics, but it also depends on the European values of justice and human rights," he said.

There has been increasing pressure on Belgrade from the European Union and the United States to track down accused war criminals. Karadzic and his one-time military commander Ratko Mladic topped the list.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also welcomed the arrest and said it shows the new government in Belgrade is cooperating.

Former British foreign secretary and Balkans peace negotiator David Owen says the EU approach of supporting democratic forces in Serbia by opening a dialogue with Belgrade on possible EU membership has borne fruit.

"I think the political judgment was you had to show more warmth and more recognition of the problems they face if you were going to get results and they have now got results," said Owen.

Owen was interviewed on British radio. He said that while Belgrade has taken an important step in arresting Karadzic, it faces an even more daunting task of tracking down and arresting Mladic.

Speaking for the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, prosecution spokeswoman Olga Kavran said the arrest of Karadzic should serve as a warning to others.

"It clearly demonstrates that nobody is beyond the reach of the law, and that sooner or later all fugitives will be brought to justice," she said.

Karadzic remains in custody in Belgrade as legal requirements are fulfilled to allow his transfer to the U.N. tribunal.



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