Monday, July 21, 2008

Scare quotes?

I can't quite figure out whether or not the quotation marks in the headline for the Al Jazeera report of the arrest of Radovan Karadzic are scare quotes or, for that matter, why they are there at all:

'War criminal' Karadzic arrested

As their report makes clear, the man is, at the very least, a fugitive from a UN-approved international judiciary body:

The former Bosnian Serb leader was indicted on genocide charges in 1995 by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, and topped the its most-wanted list for more than a decade.

It is almost as if the quote marks are questioning the legitimacy of the indictment or the authority of the United Nations to arrest the man. As one of the few remaining sources of reliable journalism, Al Jazeera would have done better to compose a more objective headline!

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