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Karadzic’s Legacy – the “small fish” blocking Bosnia’s future

September 25, 2008

At the beginning of September a BBC News producer, Kate Peters, went to Bosnia with the BBC’s foreign correspondent Allan Little, part of the distinguished group that covered the war in Bosnia for the BBC. The aim was to follow up Karadzic’s arrest with film of his “legacy” – Republika Srpska – and in particular to look at the continuing impunity enjoyed by some of the “small fish” – the second-rank war criminals who hold public office and exercise influence and who are sabotaging Bosnia’s efforts to escape from the inheritance of Dayton and become a fully functioning normal sovereign state.

The team filmed in Bijeljna, Zvornik, Banja Luka and Sarajevo, but the schedule was too tight for them to get to Srebrenica. A 15 minute item has already been broadcast on BBC2’s main news and current affairs programme, Newsnight and can be seen at

Most of this was filmed in Bijeljina where Allan Little interviewed Jusuf Trbic in front of the brick wall where Ron Haviv took the notorious picture of one of Arkan’s men kicking the body of the dead woman on the ground. Trbic describes the role of Mirko Blagojevic, head of the Radical Party in Bijeljina, in guiding Arkan’s forces to the homes of members of the Bosniak community when the paramilitaries descended on Bijeljina at the end of March 1992.

The main programme is going out on BBC News Channel and BBC World this week, including an interview with Hasan Nuhanovic and another with Miroslav Lajcak.

The following are the scheduled times for showing the 23 minute main programme:

BBC World (times are Greenwich Mean Time)
Wednesday 24/9: 19.30 GMT
Thursday 25/9: 09.30 GMT
Friday 26/9: 15.30 GMT
Saturday 27/9: 01.30 / 10.30 GMT
Sunday 28/9: 13.30 / 18.30 GMT
Monday 30/9: 02.30 / 07.30 GMT
(n.b. BBC World slots can change from time to time)

BBC News Channel ((times are British Summer Time)
Saturday 27/9: 05.30 BST / 14.30 BST / 20.30 BST
Sunday 28/9: 03.30 BST / 14.30 BST

There’s also a brief text report by Allan Little at
in which he mentions Branko Todorovic of the Republika Srpska Helsinki Committee who has had serious death threats because of his persistence in calling for RS war criminals to be brought to trial.

As background it’s worth having another look at Paddy Ashdown’s “wake-up call” in the Observer in which he warns about the fracturing of Bosnian politics and the way Milorad Dodik is reversing a decade of reforms in Republika Srpska, setting parallel institutions and undermining the future of a unified Bosnia.

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