On AMANPOUR., we examine the aftermath of the bloody civil war in Bosnia as the trial of the so-called “Butcher of Bosnia”, former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, resumes in the Hague, in the Netherlands. It brings the international community face to face with the bloody campaign that ended almost fifteen years ago with close to 98,000 dead. The war left a country in ruins and further divided along ethnic lines. Today nationalism is still rife there and with continued economic hardship and political infighting, the underlying pillars of the state remain embryonic and reliant on an international body for governance. Christiane speaks with Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic and Lord Paddy Ashdown, former High Representative for Bosnia, about the country’s road to reconciliation and its prospects for joining the European Union. The trial is just one of the stories making headlines today. Here are some perspectives.
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
THE HAGUE – Will former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic try to slow his trial to a crawl?
– Karadzic, in opening statement at his genocide trial, says his people were simply trying to defend themselves against Islamic fundamentalists
– He’s charged with worst genocide in Europe since the Holocaust, and he set the tone for the 1992-1995 Bosnian War that killed an estimated 100,000 people
– Karadzic is representing himself and boycotted the opening of the trial four months ago. Judges have accused him of trying to obstruct the proceedings
QUESTION: When will this trial finally reach a conclusion so Bosnia can move forward and tackle the problems it faces today?
CHILE EARTHQUAKE – Why was the loss of life in Chile’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake, one of the most powerful ever, not as high as in Haiti?
– Chilean President Michelle Bachelet calls tragedy an “unthinkable disaster” after the loss of at least 708 lives in the quake. Death toll compares with some 220,000 in Haiti
– Government sends troops to worst hit areas to keep order after scavenging by survivors and some outbreaks of looting
– Relatively low death toll attributed to Chile’s extensive emergency planning, strictly enforced building codes, and robust economy
QUESTION: How much will Chile need international assistance to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake?
SOMALIA – Is the country headed towards an even bigger humanitarian catastrophe than the one it’s facing now?
– Somalia’s main militant group al-Shabaab orders United Nations’ World Food Programme to leave the country despite U.N. estimates that half the population, some four million people, is starving
– Militant group accuses WFP of distributing expired food supplies and undermining local farmers
– Al-Shabaab, which is affiliated to al Qaeda, in past has accused WFP of supporting the U.N.-backed transitional government in Mogadishu, charges the WFP has denied
QUESTION: Is al-Shabaab’s directive an attempt to weaken the transitional government in Somalia even if it causes more hunger and starvation in the areas it controls?