A Start on War Crimes

After many months of organizing, evidence-gathering, and controversy, war crimes trials in The Hague have begun. Judges from the United States, Malaysia, and Australia are hearing the case against Dusan Tadic, a Bosnian Serb accused of torturing and murdering civilian Muslim prisoners held in the Prijedor area of Bosnia in 1992.

Mr. Tadic's case, all admit, is a tiny part of a horrific pattern of atrocity during the war in Bosnia. If proven guilty as charged, he will be seen as a bit player who followed the leadings of much more powerful figures. Those figures, notably indicted Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic, are still at large.

But the Tadic trial is a start, a clear indication that the international commitment to seek justice and thus lay a better groundwork for peace is real. That commitment must be sustained and enlarged. The world needs the precedent being set at The Hague.

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