Paddy Ashdown was standing by a muddy roadside in mid-winter outside Sarajevo enduring the daily humiliation of the assembled members of the international community in Bosnia. The civil war was at its height. Sarajevo was under siege. The first horror stories of rapes and massacres were beginning to surface. And yet to gain access by the only road open to this desperate European capital, UN troops, aid workers, journalists and even the then Liberal MP had first to be subjected to an intrusive search by the very Serb soldiers responsible for tearing the country apart.