94ecacf85fa58210VgnVCM100000e56411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2009-Q4Have you met the neighbours? They're war criminals -84ecacf85fa58210VgnVCM100000e56411ac____Have you met the neighbours? They're war criminals -The trial of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader and alleged war criminal, began yesterday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.<p>The trial of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader and alleged war criminal, began yesterday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Karadzic is accused of playing a key role in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo, which began in April 1992, and ordering the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys near Srebrenica in 1995 - the worst atrocity committed on European soil since the end of the Second World War. He is boycotting the opening of the trial. The defence and prosecution will have one year to present their case.</p>
<p>I was in The Hague a few weeks ago visiting relatives and was surprised to see the court's location. I imagined that the ICC, which is holding men accused of some very nasty crimes (the former Liberian president Charles Taylor is also in the dock for war crimes in Sierra Leone) would be in some remote place far enough away not to pollute the civilised environs of decent folk.
As you would expect, the complex is surrounded by very high walls, barbed wire and maximum security - but it is sandwiched between houses in a residential neighbourhood.</p>
<p>Indeed, one of the complex's walls is also the back garden wall of a row of houses built many decades ago. They are owned by some very nice Dutch families who seem not at all disturbed by the idea of an inmate escaping from his cell. From the top-floor window of one home you can look straight into the jail's yard.
Its residents, however, have seen neither Karadvic nor Taylor taking in the fresh Dutch air.</p>
<p>The Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been criticised for cancelling a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, who visited Rome partly to discuss Middle East peace.
The prime minister decided instead to fly to St Petersburg in Russia for a "private visit", as he put it, which meant joining the Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin in celebrating his 57th birthday.
Mr Berlusconi defended himself by saying the two would also discuss energy deals for Italy. Still, his critics on the political left were aghast.
For months Mr Berlusconi has been hounded by allegations that he spends too much time around too many women wearing too few clothes. Why is anyone remotely surprised by his snub to King Abdullah? Why bother with the hard graft of sorting out the Arab-Israeli conflict when there are teenage girls to party with in Sardinia?</p>
<p>My husband and I have been certified shisha addicts for some time. Forget the health hazards; a great treat at the end of a hard week has been heading to a shisha cafe for a couple of hours and relaxing with a double-apple flavoured water pipe. We even had them at our wedding last year.</p>
<p>When we moved to Dubai we bought one for home use, but gave it away to a friend because I thought my husband was going overboard. I drew the line at smoking the water pipe every evening. He reluctantly agreed, and we decided to make it just an occasional treat.
Recently, however, I caved in; partly because going out for a shisha in one of the nicer establishments in Dubai was way too expensive. After paying a cover charge for two and ordering mint tea and a water pipe, the bill was edging towards $50.</p>
<p>So we bought a pipe with two hoses, which means two people can smoke at the same time. The deal was that we would have to smoke together, or not at all.
But this is causing a different kind of marital disharmony. You can't both draw the smoke simultaneously, and because he has bigger lungs than me and gets more puffs, we end up bickering.
There is only one solution. I want my own pipe.