The gripping, untold story of The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and how the perpetrators of Balkan war crimes were captured by the most successful manhunt in history
Written with a thrilling narrative pull, The Butcher’s Trail chronicles the pursuit and capture of the Balkan war criminals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Borger recounts how Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić—both now on trial in The Hague—were finally tracked down, and describes the intrigue behind the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, the Yugoslav president who became the first head of state to stand before an international tribunal for crimes perpetrated in a time of war. Based on interviews with former special forces soldiers, intelligence officials, and investigators from a dozen countries—most speaking about their involvement for the first time—this book reconstructs a fourteen-year manhunt carried out almost entirely in secret.
Indicting the worst war criminals that Europe had known since the Nazi era, the ICTY ultimately accounted for all 161 suspects on its wanted list, a feat never before achieved in political and military history.
Guardian diplomatic editor Borger, who covered the Balkan War of the 1990s, vividly relates how the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) tracked down the 161 individuals on its most-wanted list. Many of them lived among sympathetic populations; U.N. peacekeepers initially avoided pursuing war criminals, and U.S. secretary of defense William Cohen also opposed hunting them down. By the time the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords were signed, an air of impunity surrounded the fugitives. The pursuit picked up after President Clinton's 1996 re-election and the election of Tony Blair as U.K. prime minister, and it was furthered by the efforts of Louise Arbour and Carla Del Ponte, successive heads of the ICTY, who made Croatia and Serbia's cooperation a condition for significant financial aid and admission into the E.U. Borger recounts the tracking and capture of the "big three": former Serbian president Slobodan Milo evic , Bosnian Serb politician Radovan Karad ic , and Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic . While noting that efforts to bring some of the perpetrators to justice have suffered setbacks, Borger's well-researched account nevertheless makes the case that the ICTY's hard work and persistence represented "the high-water mark of international justice for crimes against humanity." Maps and photos.