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Tom's Take

March 1st, 2010
06:50 PM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption caption="Sr. Writer for Amanpour, Tom Evans, works on scripts with Christiane"]

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.

Tom Evans
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?

Filed under:  1 • Bosnia
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Bakir

    I agree with a Paddy Ashdown with a thing that it took 32 years in norhten Ireland, but problem with Bosnia is mostly with a Bosnian srbs which are stopping any progress that may occur.
    the problem is the time, time which young people dont have. even if now everything comes clear they lost golden years on fight for the goals of criminal minds like Karadzic himself. the problem is boundaries which people like Karadzic drawn and the EU which supported it.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  2. Selma

    Dear Ms. Amanpour,

    Thanking you for your brave courage to bring the theme for the future of Bosnia and trial of Mr. Karadzic.

    Eventhough, it is a trial to the most wanted war criminal ever seen after the WW2 in our lovely planet, Bosnian and Herzegovians sincerely appreciate your efforts that you personally provided during the Bosnian agression in Sarajevo and other cities.

    We still very dearly remember you in Bosnia and Herzegovina during difficult times, and in good times we wish you will remain a good friend as always.

    The statment provided by Mr. Radovan Karadzic recently regarding the origins of Bosnian Muslims is defenetly bizarrd one, the world should not be taken up by such ill commnets.

    Mr. Karadzic stated that all Bosnian Muslims are Serbs converted to Islam during the Othoman Empire in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    The origins of all Bosnian and Herzegovians dates back to the many centuries.

    All Bosnians and Herzegovians are know/origin as ' Bogumili' ( means people Dear to God).

    This ancient civilization used to pray to the Mother Nature, respecting Mother Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars etc... by opeining their palms. Such traces of this very calm and prosperous civilization can be still witness as their remins are still seen in Bosnia (monuments by the name of 'stecci').

    All Bosnians whatever religion they may belong to now have their origin as Bogumili.

    So, all Bosnian muslims, catholics, ortodox, jewish, have their orgins as such.

    So, the world should not be taken up by a failed history class of Mr. Karadzic, for he is certainly needed to be back as kindergarden or primary class student.

    Best regards,


    March 1, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  3. Leo van Doesburg

    I was really happy that the attention went to the situation to Bosnia when I saw the announcement that there will be special attention given to the nowadays situation in Bosnia.

    However, I was surprised when I saw the programme, that the report was subjective. Seeing the situation, the main difficulty of the state of Bosnia lies indeed in the relation between the Republic of Srpska and the Bosnian federation. However only one side of the story was shown. It was interesting also that only Mr. Haris Silajdiz had an extensive interview demonizing completely Serbia, and the role of Republic Srpska in the Bosnian state, but there was no-one from the Serbian side (from the republikska Srpksa) that was asked to react on the situation.

    The situation of Bosnia will not be solved if the international community only will take care on one side of the story and not will listen to the Serbian side in this matter. Although it is terrible what happened and I hope that finally righteousness will be done by judging Karadzic and I hope soon als Mladic!

    Especially from CNN I had hoped that this topic would be dealt more with care and more objectively and to give a more balanced view about the situation. An interesting consideration of the question if Bosnia is a failed state, is the question if there really is a base to keep the federation and the Srpska Republic together. Is there a common base to build a society on? Isn't it better to have the Srpska republic separately with clear agreements so that both regions can develop? Will it not be better if the international community will open the negotiations of the Dayton agreement again, based on the future of Bosnia? The Dayton agreement was made based to stop the war and create peace. Now there should be worked on stability and development only then the country will have also chance to integrate more in international organizations like the NATO and the EU

    March 1, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  4. Midhat Ridjanović

    I would like to interact with Ms. Amanpour directly. I am professor emeritus of English and linguistics at the University of Sarajevo and have lived all my life in this city (except for a year in England and four years in the States, where I did my doctorate and taught for a year). I recently published a book (a bestseller) on the 'universal' collapse of my country and the prospect of another war. I am sure that I would be a better resource on Bosnia than Haris Silajdžić, one of the most hated Bosnian politicians.
    I have written letters about Bosnia to important people before but have never had a reply (probably because they are only important to themselves). So, rather than waste my time again, I will continue this interaction only if Ms. Amanpour chooses to reply to this note.

    March 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  5. Etienne Abou Chacra

    Very interesting programme Ms.Amanpour , I've been watching this episode, living in Lebanon , i see that their are many common points between the problems faced on building a functional state , either here or in Bosnia and Herzegovina. What i think , should be done in both countries , is to work on having a democracy not an ethnocracy ! same as having the serbs delaying the creation of building a functional state , here in Lebanon , pro-syrian powers in Lebanon are also delaying the creation of a functional Lebanese state.
    help by the international society and specially western civilized countries should be offered to our countries. for these problems to be solved , or else i think both Lebanon and Bosnia are heading for bitter times.

    March 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Reply
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