(Reuters) - Below is reaction to the arrest of Bosnian Serb wartime president Radovan Karadzic, one of the world’s most wanted men for his part in civilian massacres.
“The Secretary-General commends the Serbian authorities for this decisive step toward ending impunity for those indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia,” the United Nations said in a statement.
“This is a historic moment for the victims, who have waited thirteen years for Mr. Karadzic to be brought to justice.”
U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOHN McCAIN
“At long last, Karadzic, whose rule was marked by horrific atrocities -- from daily murders to the massacre at Srebrenica to the siege of Sarajevo -- can receive the justice he so systematically denied to Bosnians... We should now look forward to the day when all indicted war criminals -- in particular Ratko Mladic -- are held accountable for their crimes.”
YUGOSLAV WARS, AND EARLIER A U.S. AMBASSADOR TO YUGOSLAVIA:
“He has blood on his hands... I‘m sure there were a number of people in the (Serbian) military and the police who almost certainly knew more or less where he was and could have picked him up.”
KARADZIC‘S WIFE LJILJANA ZELEN-KARADZIC:
“I can only say that we are in shock and disbelief,” she told reporters gathered in front of her sister’s house in Pale, Karadzic’s wartime stronghold.
“This is at least some satisfaction for the families of victims. Justice cannot be fully met without Karadzic’s and Mladic’s arrest. But the fact remains that Milosevic is dead, Karadzic is arrested but their project of ethnic cleansing unfortunately still lives on in Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
“This will have a positive effect on Bosnia. We need this catharsis, we need people to know there is justice.”
“We welcome the arrest of Radovan Karadzic. It is important that he faces justice so that the stigma is lifted from the Serbs who have been hostages of his responsibility.”
“Karadzic is a Serbian hero. There will be a strong backlash.”
”“On behalf of the European Commission, I welcome the news of the arrest of Radovan Karadzic. This is a very positive development that will contribute to bringing justice and lasting reconciliation in the Western Balkans. It proves the determination of the new Serbian government to achieve full cooperation with the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia). It is also very important for Serbia’s European aspirations.”
“This is excellent news. The place where Radovan Karadzic belongs is in front of the tribunal in The Hague, having a fair trial and responding to the crimes of which he is accused. It shows the commitment of the new Serbian government to cooperate with international organisations.”
SERGE BRAMMERTZ, CHIEF PROSECUTOR OF THE U.N. YUGOSLAVIA WAR
”On behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor, I would like to congratulate the Serbian authorities, especially the National Security Council, Serbia’s Action Team in charge of tracking fugitives and the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, on achieving this milestone in cooperation with the ICTY.
“This is a very important day for the victims who have waited for this arrest for over a decade. It is also an important day for international justice because it clearly demonstrates that nobody is beyond the reach of the law and that sooner or later all fugitives will be brought to justice.”
JAMES O‘BRIEN, A FORMER SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR THE
“The families of the people who died deserve to see him prosecuted. It’s also a sign that you can hide but you can’t run forever.”
“He’s an obscure footnote except for the people that he killed. Far from being the political leader he styled himself as, he is now just a criminal. For Serbia, this is a very positive sign. If they transfer him to the Hague, it is the next significant step Serbia has taken in the last months to demonstrate its desire to join the West.”
“After the elections it shows again the direction that Serbia wants to go.”
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
FOR EUROPE WHO NEGOTIATED THE 1995 DAYTON ACCORDS THAT ENDED THE
“This is great news. This is the most wanted man in Europe, the Osama bin Laden of Europe. He has evaded capture for almost 13 years. He was the primary intellectual architect of the ethnic cleansing. He was in my mind worse than (former Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic and he had become kind of a Robin Hood figure to Bosnian Serbs and his capture is a historic event.”
“It’s a tremendous step forward for Serbia’s desire to join the West. Of course (Karadzic’s military commander) Gen. (Ratko) Mladic is still out there, but Karadzic is the most important of the two.”
“This guy is a real true architect of mass murder.”
EUROPEAN UNION‘S ENLARGEMENT CHIEF OLLI REHN
“This is certainly a milestone in Serbia’s cooperation with the international criminal tribunal on the former Yugoslavia. It proves the determination of the new government to achieve full cooperation with the tribunal.”
“It is very important for Serbia’s European aspirations.”
SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER CARL BILDT, WHO HAD SERVED AS THE
“It is of course highly significant that the new government in Belgrade is demonstrating its European commitment so early and so decisively. I hope that the U.N. tribunal in the Hague will now shortly be able to open the trial that should have been held more than a decade ago.”
“This is the best thing that could ever happen, you see people celebrating everywhere... I called and woke up my whole family”.