CNN reports on Arkan, likely war criminal, who remains free

Christiane Amanpour first encountered the name Arkan in 1991, covering the ethnic slaughter in eastern Bosnia for CNN.

"All the time we used to see his name spray-painted on the walls in many towns that had been destroyed," Amanpour said by cellular phone from Tehran.


Her report on Arkan's life and times airs tomorrow at 9 p.m. on CNN's "Impact."

Arkan -- real name Zeljko Raznatovic -- was blamed for much of the region's "ethnic cleansing," and U.S. peace negotiator Richard Holbrooke called him "almost certainly a hands-on murderer."


A career criminal, Arkan remains at large. But not hiding.

"He's a businessman, living in Belgrade. He married a pop star," Amanpour explained.

Arkan also is the founder and president of the Serbian Unity Party and is said to be contemplating a run for the Serbian presidency in 2000.

So why has he not been charged with war crimes?

"Balkan politics," Amanpour answered. "Certainly there are many people who believe that there is sufficient evidence to indict him for certain crimes, and many wonder why he has not been indicted.

"That is our piece. To present the evidence against him and raise the question of why he has not been indicted."

Arkan's connections to the Serbian power-players are one reason for his continued freedom. He is linked to the Serb leaders who have been indicted for war crimes and still go about their daily lives running Serbia.

"Since there appears to be a lack of political will right now even to get those who have been indicted, then you can imagine the lack of will to indict somebody who may be politically sensitive," she said.


Arkan, Amanpour went on, is part of "the biggest story" since the victors of World War II established the principle, at Nuremberg 50 years ago, that some of those who make war could be charged with crimes against humanity.

"This is the world's first chance since Nuremberg to test that principle," she said. "The question is whether the world is serious about it or not."

Pub Date: 5/31/97