- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 12, 2001

Hunting war criminals
Colin Barraclough's article on Wednesday about the search for Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, masterminds of the Bosnian Serb aggression between 1992 and 1995, came about almost by chance.
Pressure for the arrest of the former Bosnian Serb president and his military chief had been mounting since former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic — their chief protector — was arrested and sent to The Hague for trial. But the reports we had seen on their whereabouts were contradictory or incomplete, leaving us hungry for a good story on the subject.
We were talking to Mr. Barraclough, a British free-lancer with years of experience in the Balkans, about something else when he mentioned he had just spent a few days trekking through Bosnia and Montenegro in search of the indicted war crimes suspects, but had failed to turn up any sign of them.
"I didn't really expect to find them," he admitted, "and I don't know what I would have done if I had, faced with 60 or 70 armed guards surrounding them."
That doesn't matter, we replied, saying we would love to have a story that simply laid out, as authoritatively as possible, where each of them was last seen and where they were believed to be at present.
That was the story Mr. Barraclough provided. But his quixotic search had the makings of a good yarn by itself, so we asked him to pass along some notes on his journey.
The trip, he reports, began in Montenegro near the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, from which he "traced the Adriatic coastline, passing through beach resorts crammed with vacationing Serbs, as far as Ulcinje, the Coney Island of Yugoslavia, near the Albanian border."
"I then cut back inland through Podgorica and north to the Tara River canyon, claimed by locals as the deepest in the world after the Grand Canyon, and a possible hiding place for Karadzic.
"I spent a day on a boat on the Tara River, passing through wild backcountry populated by isolated groups of Serbian peasants taken straight out of central casting for Deliverance.
"Abandoning the boat, I drove back into the Bosnian Serb republic to the hard-line Serbian town of Trebinje, where rioting locals beat up the [local international administrator] so badly he's still in the hospital. The town is also the new home of Marija Milosevic, daughter of ousted Yugoslav leader, Slobodan, who has just bought a house there and intends to set up a radio station.
"The final leg took me north along a little-travelled road towards Foca, a Serbian town so hard line that it's home to no less than eight alleged war criminals indicted by The Hague. From Foca, it's a straight run into Pale and Sarajevo," the Bosnian capital.

Montenegro, Mr. Barraclough found, was unlike Bosnia in that it is still safe to walk on the roadsides without fear of stepping on a land mine. But even there people accept everyday risks that would chill the blood of an American.
"Filling up in a gas station, I was alarmed when large volumes of gasoline spurted from my overfilled tank over the station forecourt," he tells us. "The chain-smoking attendant barely batted an eyelid. 'No problem,' he grunted, strolling casually away."
In Serbia, "getting constantly lost at least meant I met a good number of pitchfork-waving peasants. On one occasion, I drove three times through Savnik, near Karadzic's ancestral home, before I realized how close I was.
"I also stumbled on the delightfully named village of Milosevici, but discovered with disappointment afterwards that it was not the place of Slobo's birth."
On his return to the Bosnian capital, Mr. Barraclough reported, he spoke to Western peacekeepers and civilian administrators about the hunt for Mr. Karadzic and their wider mission in Bosnia.
"To me, it seemed, most simply didn't care about their mission any more. After six years spent keeping Bosnia's ethnic groups apart, most seemed to have accepted that the rival groups will be at each other's throats when the internationals tire and leave.
"In contrast to my previous visits, many internationals left work early each day and spent long weekends on the Croatian coast, eating the cuttlefish risotto at Male Ston, which boasts the best restaurant on the Adriatic coast, or sipping a crisp white wine on the bougainvillea-covered balcony at the Villa Dubrovnik."

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