Radovan Karadzic States We Fought A “Just & Holy War”

Former Chetnik leader Radovan Karadzic has said the Serb cause in the Bosnian war was “just and holy” as he began his defence at his genocide trial at The Hague.

Karadzic insisted the Serbs were only acting in self-defence against a core group of Muslims in Bosnia who wanted 100% power.

The clearly delusional Chetnik has claimed the charges against him are all part of a “War trick”

He incredulously pointed to one defining event of the 44-month siege of Sarajevo – the 1994 attack on a market in which nearly 70 people died – saying it was a stage-managed “trick” for which Serbian forces were falsely blamed.

Well, Radovan, what about the rest of the charges laid against you, all part of the war trick?

Let’s just remind ourselves what war crimes he’s charged with:

Eleven counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities.
Charged over shelling of Sarajevo during the city’s siege, in which some 12,000 civilians died.
Allegedly organised the massacre of up to 8,000 Bosniak men and youths in Srebrenica.
Targeted Bosniak and Croat political leaders, intellectuals and professionals.
Unlawfully deported and transferred civilians because of national or religious identity.
Destroyed homes, businesses and sacred sites.

Since the start of his trial, Karadzic has used every opportunity to delay proceedings but the court has told him he must now begin his defence to some of the most serious charges of war crimes anyone has faced since the second world war.

Take some time out and watch the unmissable Rageh Omaar Report, (top of the page) the first edition of the programme, The Secret Life of Radovan Karadzic, aired last week on Al-Jazeera, just ahead of the imminent resumption of Karadzic’s trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.



Filed under Bosnia, Islamophobia, Media Unspeak, No Justice No Peace, War Crimes

3 responses to “Radovan Karadzic States We Fought A “Just & Holy War”

  1. hotterthanapileofcurry

    Marcus Tanner in Today’s Guardian (Tuesday 2 March 2010 13.00 GMT) wrote :

    Karadzic’s ‘holy war’

    Karadzic’s talk of ‘holy war’ is no rhetorical exaggeration for the court. He and his supporters believed God was on their side

    Listening to Radovan Karadzic describe his war against the Bosnian Muslims as “holy”, it’s tempting to think he is making a bad joke, or fooling the judges. This would be to mistake both the man and his supporters. Most of the Bosnian Serb fighters serving under him that I met in the early 1990s talked the same crusading talk, jumbling up ethnic, economic and religious grievances against their Muslim neighbours, and claiming to be avenging the Turkish conquest of Bosnia in the 15th and 16th century.

    Their strident confessional animosity explained their obsession with blowing up religious monuments – whatever their historic value. That’s why Bosnia lost the lovely 16th-century “painted” mosque in Foca in eastern Bosnia, and the soaring Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka, in the north-west, which disappeared along with every other mosque (and Catholic church) they could get hold of.

    Religious identity and economic status were inextricably mixed in pre-war Bosnia. One young fighter I met in the eastern Drina valley, scene of the some of the worst ethnic cleansing, told me that now they’d kicked out the local Muslims, the Serbs up on the moors could at last come down and get hold of the low, fertile land on the riverbank to which they were entitled, but which the Muslims had “stolen” long ago. “The Turks gave them [the Muslims] all the best land, pushed us up onto higher ground,” he said. So there we were; justice had been delayed but not, in the end, denied.

    The Serb grievances went back a long way. Bosnia’s big landowners, the so-called “begs”, were Muslims, descendants of the ancient Christian gentry who converted under the Ottomans. Most old families in the towns were also Muslim. That lent the Bosnian war its peasants-versus-townsfolk as well as a Christian-versus-Muslim angle. Westerners often couldn’t figure out why Karadzic’s fighters seemed so indifferent to, or even satisfied by, the destruction of “their” old libraries and old towns. In reality, though the Serbs had migrated en masse into the towns after the communist takeover in 1945, many felt little ownership of this still alien landscape of mosques and minarets.

    The Serbs of Karadzic’s stamp were on a mission to change that urban landscape for good, and found in the Orthodox church an unswerving supporter. The hierarchy blew incense over every Serbian offensive, however bloody. When the paramilitary group know as the Tigers stormed the northeast town of Bijeljina in 1992 and butchered a good number of the local Muslims, “pour encourager les autres”, (an assault memorably captured by a Time magazine photographer) their leader, nicknamed Arkan, sought – and received – the public blessing of one of the leading bishops.

    From the start, Karadzic’s ethnically cleansed statelet, the Republika Srpska, had an ecclesiastical stamp of approval. People in Belgrade might laugh at the idea of bishops blessing tanks, or even new petrol stations, but there they took it seriously. The bosses of each of the two new “mini-Serbias” – the other being in Croatia (but which the Croats crushed) saw themselves as creating purified, re-Christianised versions of the old.

    The Orthodox hierarchy in Serbia maintained its uncritical alliance with Karadzic to the end of the war, and beyond (as did the Croatian Catholic bishops with their own holy warriors). The Orthodox churches of Greece and Russia were equally fulsome. In Athens in 1993, the Greek bishops feted Karadzic, proclaiming him a Christian hero. So, when Karadzic says he his war was “holy”, he’s not acting. He believes precisely what he says. And throughout the Balkans, and beyond, the Orthodox church has taken him at his word.


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