Merkel cheers ‘historic’ Karadzic capture

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday welcomed the arrest of wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as historic and a vindication for the victims of the Balkan wars.

“This is a historic moment. The victims must know: massive human rights violations will not go unpunished,” she said in a statement. “Karadzic’s arrest is good news for the entire Balkans. It is a significant step toward justice, peace and reconciliation in the region.”

She singled out Serbian President Boris Tadic and his new West-leaning government for praise for ensuring Karadzic’s capture. “With this courageous step, President Tadic has underscored Serbia’s European calling,” Merkel said.

Germany had repeatedly called for Karadzic’s arrest and extradition to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Serbia has signed a stabilization and association agreement with the European Union, but the capture of Karadzic was a pre-condition for full entry talks.