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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.

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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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