Karadzic Faces Charges For Role In Bosnian War indictment

Karadzic Faces Charges For Role In Bosnian War

by Corey Flintoff

Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is seen in a 1996 file photo and bearded in an undated photo.


Karadzic is seen in a 1996 file photo (left) and in an undated photo released by Belgrade's Healthy Life magazine July 22, 2008. Serbian officials said that before his capture, Karadzic was walking freely around Belgrade and earned money from practicing alternative medicine. AP

Timeline: Political Role

Indicted on charges related to war crimes, Radovan Karadzic had been living as a fugitive for more than a decade. View a timeline of events in his life that led him to go into hiding.

Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic


Michael Evstafiev

Karadzic (right) confers with Ratko Mladic in August 1993. Karadzic was arrested Monday; Mladic remains a fugitive. AFP/Getty Images

Quick Bio

Radovan Karadzic was born in June 1945 in Montenegro. He moved to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1960 to pursue his studies in psychiatry. He later spent a year studying medicine at Columbia University in New York. He also became a published poet, and came under the influence of Serbian nationalist writers.

In the 1980s, Karadzic moved to Belgrade to work in a hospital. He became one of the founders of the Serbian Democratic Party in 1989. The group sought to get ethnic Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia to support the idea of a “Greater Serbia” that would extend over all the lands inhabited by Serbs.

In 1991, he was instrumental in forming a separate Bosnian Serb Assembly, which later declared the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and made him its president. Karadzic became a fugitive in 1995 when he went into hiding after being indicted by the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on war crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity.

Karadzic Indictment

View the initial indictment by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

NPR.org, July 22, 2008 · Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has been arrested in Serbia on genocide and war crimes charges after living nearly a dozen years as a fugitive. Serbian authorities say arrangements are being made to transfer him to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Karadzic was wanted for crimes allegedly committed during the Bosnian War from 1992 through 1995, after the disintegration of Yugoslavia. As president of the Serb Republic established in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Karadzic was accused of ordering the so-called “ethnic cleansing” of Bosnian Muslims.

The army of the Bosnian Serb Republic, under the command of Gen. Ratko Mladic, was accused of using terror, murder and rape to drive Muslims and ethnic Croats from their homes.

In 1996, Karadzic was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal on two counts of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity, as well as other crimes. More than 100,000 people, civilian and military, are believed to have been killed during the war. The Institute for War and Peace estimates that about 65 percent of the civilians killed were Bosnian Muslims.

The most notorious mass murder committed during the war was the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in which Bosnia Serb forces and Serbian paramilitaries systematically slaughtered about 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The massacre has been ruled an act of genocide by both the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice.

Despite a warrant for his arrest and a price on his head, Karadzic managed to evade capture for nearly a dozen years.

At various times, he was reported to be living in Russia, Serbia or parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina that were controlled by Serbs.

Karadzic, now 63, was born and reared in Montenegro. His father was a member of the Yugoslav monarchist paramilitary group known as the Chetniks and was in prison during much of his son's childhood.

Radovan Karadzic got a medical degree and moved to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to pursue his studies in psychiatry. He later spent a year studying medicine at Columbia University in New York. He also became a published poet, and came under the influence of Serbian nationalist writers.

In 1989, he became one of the founders of the Serbian Democratic Party, which sought to get ethnic Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia to support the idea of a “Greater Serbia” that would extend over all the lands inhabited by Serbs.

In 1991, he was instrumental in forming a separate Bosnian Serb Assembly, which later declared the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and made him its president.

The war crimes tribunal in The Hague has tried dozens of suspects, including Karadzic's one-time ally, the former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 before his trial could be completed. The court is still seeking the arrest of the former Bosnian Serb general, Ratko Mladic.

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