Friday, October 22, 2010

PIFWC's and Red Lines

A PIFWC is a person indicted for war crimes.  A red line is a key condition that must be satisfied.  Together, during my time in the Pentagon, this jargon served as a key limit on interactions with Serbia.  Unless Serbia helped with the capturing of key PIFWCs, especially Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the US would not be able to develop complete relations with Serbia, and this also applied to NATO and EU, preventing Serbia's admission.  Kardzic is now at the Hague, but the NYT reminds us that Mladic is still hiding in Serbia

The article talks about the tradeoffs between moving on and the commitment to human rights.  Among his many crimes, Mladic was on the scene and in command at Srebenica, where the Bosnia Serbs overran a UN safe area (oxymoron?) and selected out and executed thousands of Muslim men and boys.   

If the EU lets in Serbia without Mladic being turned over, I guess that is the last nail in conditionality's coffin.  That is, I (with Bill Ayres) have argued in my second book and elsewhere that these conditions for applicants to NATO and the EU are not as strict as often asserted.  Cyprus got into the EU without setting its border dispute.  Romania and Bulgaria got in despite having severely flawed rule of law (that is, big time corruption problems).  Letting in Serbia even if it handed over Mladic is questionable since it probably does not mean many of the other enunciated standards (border disputes, anyone?  Oh yeah, that Kosovo thing.  Never mind). 
Although the European Union halted accession talks in 2006 when Serbia failed to arrest Mr. Mladic, Dutch diplomats say they are now the lone holdouts for an arrest as a prerequisite for resuming the discussions. They are hoping to forestall action until December, when Mr. Brammertz issues his annual report evaluating Serbia’s effort in the manhunt. In the last few days, to the consternation of some E.U. officials, he has called for more aggressiveness.
Why are the Dutch holding the line on this?  Because their units were present in Srebrenic in 1995 and got to witness genocide up close and the Dutch feel a responsibility for the event, having failed to prevent or stop it.  A report about Srebrenica caused a Dutch government to collapse in 2002.  So, the Dutch take Srebrenica more seriously than the rest of the EU. 

Is it right to delay admission based on the plight of just one guy?  Perhaps not.  But perhaps it is if the pursuit is inhibited by parts of the government, raising questions about the extent of civilian control of the military.  That is an essential ingredient of democracy, so I guess it really depends not just on the sincerity of Serb promises but the quality of Serbian democracy. 
“This game has been going on now for five to six years,” a Western diplomat said. “They are either waiting for him to die — a stroke or kidney problems — or hoping to get into the European Union without doing anything.”
I actually think the conditions should matter, just that they have not.  I'd like to see Serbia kept out until it demonstrates enough control over its own security apparatus, and sending Mladic to The Hague would be a suitable demonstration.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In case you havent seen it yet, you may be interested in this item from the NYT too (the title reminded me of your first book, too)