The arrest of Ejup Ganic in London the other day was as surprising to me as I imagine it must have been to him. Namely, I never thought the Brits would actually honor an Interpol warrant originating in Serbia. There is an established precedent for ignoring or overriding Serbian warrants in the cases of Agim Ceku, Hashim Taqi and other "freedom fighters" of the "Independent state of Kosovia". In every case, the Empire insured their prompt release.
Then againk, Ganic is not a current client of the Empire, but a former one. Perhaps that is what makes all the difference.
Reports of his arrest commonly mis-identify him as "former President of Bosnia." He was nothing of the sort. He was, however, a loyal associate of Alija Izetbegovic, an Islamic revolutionary who schemed, lied and forced his way into becoming the leader of Bosnia's Muslims in the early 1990s. Ganic ran for the then-Yugoslav republic's presidency as an "other", declaring himself an ethnic "Yugoslav", thus exploiting a loophole in electoral rules and giving Izetbegovic an extra vote in the seven-member collective. One of the reasons the current Bosnian constitution has strict and even discriminatory rules governing presidential elections is to prevent just such a scenario from being repeated. When Izetbegovic moved to declare independence in March 1992, most other members of the presidency took exception. Only two remained loyal to Izetbegovic - Stjepan Kljuic, a Croat who was quickly marginalized, and Ganic.
On April 27, 1992, the government in Belgrade established the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, de facto recognizing the secession of the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia. The Yugoslav Army was in full retreat from the latter two, under an agreement negotiated with Izetbegovic and the Macedonian president Gligorov. It is worth noting that the YA retreated from Macedonia (aka FYROM) without incident. But in Bosnia, Izetbegovic's militia (organized by the paramilitary wing of his party, the Patriotic League) would have none of it. They set up blockades of Army facilities and demanded their surrender.
On May 2, 1992, Izetbegovic returned to Sarajevo from another failed attempt to head off a full-scale war (he had declared back in 1991 that he would "sacrifice peace for an independent Bosnia" and so he would) and found himself detained by the Army detachment stationed at the Sarajevo Airport. The Army decided to use him as a hostage, demanding the release of its blockaded troops at the 2nd Army HQ in the Bistrik neighborhood, and other units trapped in the city. Ganic, who declared himself acting president (with or without Izetbegovic's consent, it was never revealed), negotiated a deal to exchange Izetbegovic for the trapped HQ personnel with the Canadian UNPROFOR commander, Gen. Lewis MacKenzie.
What happened next is well-documented. There is a detailed account in MacKenzie's memoir "Peacekeeper" but also a video recording made by a Sarajevo TV crew. Muslim militiamen stopped the UN vehicle with Izetbegovic, MacKenzie and the Army commander Gen. Kukanjac, and staged a little drama for the cameras, with Ganic talking to Izetbegovic over walkie-talkies while further down the street the Army convoy was being massacred. This event is at the heart of the Serbian indictment against Ganic.
This was not the last attack on the Army, either. On May 15, an Army column evacuating Tuzla was ambushed and massacred on Brcko Road. This, too, was caught on camera. One might rightly assume that this may have had something to do with the decision of most Bosnian-born Army personnel to join the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) against Izetbegovic's regime.
Throughout the war, Ganic served Izetbegovic loyally, but the word on the street was that he dreamed of replacing Izetbegovic eventually. He was also known to be the go-to person when Washington needed something done in Sarajevo. Perhaps because of this, Izetbegovic eventually moved to sideline him, just as he had done with all his previous lieutenants. After the war, Ganic became President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Muslim-Croat half of the country, but after falling out of Izetbegovic's graces retired from politics and opened a private university - right across the street from the former 2nd Army HQ building. For years he had stayed out of the limelight, until on a trip to London his past finally caught up.
As someone who was there, who lived in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War and experienced firsthand the "multicultural tolerance" and "democratic diversity" practiced by Izetbegovic and Ganic, I am disgusted by the way the Economist (for example) excuses their crimes. So, arresting a Muslim is "dragging up the past" and impeding peace and reconciliation, while putting the entire Serbian nation on trial and smearing it with the ludicrous charge of "genocide" is somehow conducive to both? Putting Ganic on trial would "fuel nationalist flames" but the trial of Radovan Karadzic is all about truth and justice (not)? Such cynicism. Such hypocrisy.
I would be very surprised if Ganic is actually extradited to Serbia. The media and political leaders that have considerable political capital in the Bank of Collective Serbian Guilt are already raising hell to have him released. The government in Belgrade is too obsessed with sucking up to Brussels and Washington and passing a parliamentary resolution blaming Serbia for the Srebrenica "genocide"; they have no interest in actually pursuing Ganic, and would probably be relieved if the whole affair subsided like the one with Agim Ceku last summer.
The cruel irony of this is that such a result would only further the myth of Muslim victimhood and Serb villainy. Then again, it would not be the first time that the Serbian authorities were actively working to harm their own country and people. I wonder if it will be the last.