Poll delayed to drive out Karadzic

Bosnia elections: Block put on Serb Democratic Party until indicted leader stands down

International organisers yesterday postponed the start of official campaigning in Bosnia's first post-war elections in a renewed effort to drive Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, out of politics and public life.

Robert Frowick, the US official in charge of the 14 September elections, said that he was delaying the start of the campaign until Friday to provide time for solving the Karadzic problem. He emphasised that he would not allow Mr Karadzic's ruling Serb Democratic Party (SDS) to participate in the elections as long as the United Nations indicted war criminal remained the SDS leader. The postponement coincided with a trouble-shooting visit to former Yugoslavia by Richard Holbrooke, the former US diplomat, who brokered last year's Dayton peace settlement.

US officials said Mr Holbrooke's priority would be to "read the riot act" to Serbia's President, Slobodan Milosevic, who is widely viewed as having enough influence to secure Mr Karadzic's removal.

Mr Milosevic's relations with the Bosnian Serb leadership have been poor for more than three years, but he kept contact with Mr Karadzic and the Bosnian Serb military commander, General Ratko Mladic, also an indicted war criminal. Mr Milosevic's aim appears to be a deal with Bosnian Serb leaders and the international community that would allow Mr Karadzic and Mr Mladic to slip quietly into retirement while avoiding prosecution at the UN tribunal in The Hague.

However, it seems unlikely that Mr Milosevic will secure any guarantees of non-prosecution from Mr Holbrooke, since that would fly in the face of US government policy and the ex-diplomat believes firmly that the two Bosnian Serb leaders must stand trial. There is equally relentless pressure for a trial from the tribunal, which issued arrest warrants for Mr Karadzic and Mr Mladic last week, and from Western governments whose Bosnia policies would be discredited if the leaders escaped justice with the West's connivance.

France said on Sunday that it intended to ask the UN Security Council to authorise Nato forces in Bosnia to pursue and arrest indicted war criminals. Meanwhile, the ruling Bosnian Muslim SDA party of the Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic, could boycott the elections if Mr Karadzic and Mr Mladic stay in power.

However, the police chief in Pale, Mr Karadzic's political base outside Sarajevo, has warned that the Bosnian Serbs will strike at Nato forces if the two leaders are arrested. Such threats are increasing tension in the run-up to the election and underlining the difficulties of ensuring it will be free and fair.

Western governments have insisted that the elections should go ahead in mid-September on the grounds that postponement could cause the Dayton settlement to unravel. However, with Muslim, Croat and Serb nationalist parties dominant in areas populated by Muslims, Croats and Serbs respectively, there is a risk that the elections will reinforce Bosnia's de facto partition and prevent the restoration of a unitary Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The chief aim of Mr Karadzic, who is still the dominant political figure in Republika Srpska, the Serb-controlled sector of Bosnia, is to consolidate his region's "statehood" and prevent Bosnia's re-emergence as a common state. Since this aim is shared by most other Bosnian Serb politicians, and a sizeable proportion of the Bosnian Serb people, it may make little difference if Mr Karadzic plays no part in the election.

Another obstacle to the implementation of the Dayton accords is the dispute over the Serb-held corridor of Brcko in northern Bosnia. The Serbs want the corridor widened to strengthen the link between the two halves of Republika Srpska, but the Muslim-led government wants the entire territory for itself.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
people

Life and Style
fashion

News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
Life and Style
Passing on: George Washington died alert, aware and in his own bed. This is the kind of of death most people would like to have
health
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tv
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Production Planning MRP Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's most progressive and innovativ...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Sales Executives

£19000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to our clients continuing s...

Recruitment Genius: Tyre Technician / Mechanic

£15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Internal Sales - Technical Solutions - £26,000 Basic

£26000 per annum: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Southend, Aldershot, Luto...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game