Open our eyes to genocide

There are few political leaders on any side of the civil war in Bosnia whose hands are clean of blood, and the powerful grip of Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serb leader, is bloodier than most. His reign of terror and the genocide he presided over deserve the same response the world meted out to Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg.

Yet Karadzic is a free man. Caving into international pressure, he has officially stepped down as president of the Serbian Democratic Party, hoping to take the heat off threats of renewed sanctions against the Serbs.

But his resignation was only a tiny step toward fulfilling promises the Serbs made in signing the Dayton peace accords that ended the 4-year war.

Karadzic, along with Bosnian Serb army Gen. Ratko Mladic, are supposed to surrender themselves to stand trial before the U.N. International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague for crimes against humanity.

Yet they remain free.

Karadzic supposedly is hiding somewhere in the Serbian enclave of Pale, but Mike Wallace from CBS' "60 Minutes" recently managed to track him down for an interview. During the session, Karadzic watched videos of Serb atrocities and blithely insisted the Serbs are the good guys.

It remains entirely unclear whether Karadzic has even relinquished his hold on power.

A slate of opposition Serb moderates — moderate for that part of the world — are now candidates for the Serb seat in the planned Bosnian confederation with the Croats and Muslims. Yet, surprise, surprise, those candidates are either old-line Communists or members of a coalition, all with ties to Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic, whose dream to control Bosnia sparked the entire war.

And none of the candidates is willing to give Karadzic up.

A handful of Westerners have protested, including the East Bay's Jewish Community Relations Council, which has urged that President Clinton and Congress join with NATO to move to arrest Karadzic and Mladic and bring them to justice.

Just as the allies brought some Nazis to trial in Nuremberg a half century ago, Karadzic and company must face justice.

As the JCRC said, "If we do not, we will have breached a sacred trust, that of seeing that the world never again closes its eyes to genocide."