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Arrest of Bosnian War Criminal

Posted July. 23, 2008 09:31,   


▽ Karadzic finally arrested

AP reported that Serbian President Boris Tadic’s office released an urgent statement which said, “Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade by Serbian police and transferred to the war crimes court in Serbia.”

AP quoted a police source who requested anonymity as saying, “We arrested Karadzic after weeks of ambush duties in suburban Belgrade with the help of a foreign intelligence agency.”

Karadzic did not resist when arrested, and his lawyer Sveta Vujacic said to Reuters, “Unlike the statement, Karadzic was arrested in the morning of July 18 while he was on a bus.”

The presidential office of France, which holds the E.U. presidency, commented that this is “crucial progress for Serbia to win E.U. membership.” AFP said that the failure to arrest Karadzic was the largest stumbling block to Serbia’s E.U. membership, citing that the pro-Western camp centering on the Democratic Party won Serbia`s general elections in May.

Born in 1945 in the mountainous area of Montenegro in Yugoslavia, Karadzic was heavily influenced by his father, a Serbian nationalist who opposed former Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito and was imprisoned. Karadzic moved to Sarajevo to pursue his studies in psychiatry and became a psychiatrist and a poet.

He went into politics in 1980 when Tito died and Yugoslavia began to be dissolved. As Serbian nationalists became strong under the leadership of former President Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic formed the Serbian Democratic Party in 1989 and became president of the party.

During the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995, he acted as a Serb in Bosnia, leading massacres and human rights violations.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted him for war crimes in June 1995. In June 1996, he stepped down from all positions he held and disappeared in June 1996.

▽ Osama Bin Laden of Europe

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton peace accord that ended the Bosnian war, said to The U.K. Telegraph after the arrest of Karadzic was reported, “The Osama Bin Laden of Europe has been arrested.” Karadzic so swiftly evaded authorities’ arrest attempts that even a movie was made about his life as a fugitive under the title “Spring Break in Bosnia.”

But, as is the case with Bin Laden, not much about his life as a fugitive is known to the world. Some speculate that he might have been hiding in the mountainous area of Montenegro under the protection of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Others say that he disguised himself as a woman by wearing a wig. Others have even speculated that he fled to North Korea.

▽ Indictment charges and next steps

Karadzic’s main indictment charge is the 1995 Srebrenica massacre recorded as the largest massacre in Europe since World War II. The United Nations designated a safe zone in Srebrenica in 1993 during the war to protect Muslims and Croatian people in Bosnia, but he attacked the area in July 1995 and killed more than 8,000 people.

Also, the international community is holding him accountable for 300,000 people who died, 20,000 women who were raped and 1.8 million people who were displaced and forced to relocate during the war. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted him on 15 charges.

Karadzic will undergo the first-round of investigations in the Belgrade Court before being transferred to The Hague for a trial. AP said that his trial would take at least several months, considering its complexity.