Belgrade Journalist: Karadzic Hid In Plain Sight

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was arrested Monday in Serbia on genocide and other war crimes charges. He had evaded capture for more than a decade.

Deborah Amos talks to Dejan Anastasijevic, a Serbian journalist in Belgrade, about Serbian reaction. He says Karadzic had been hiding in plain sight. Authorities have released few details about his apprehension, and there is a media frenzy to find out more, Anastasijevic says.

A judge in Belgrade has ordered Karadzic's transfer to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where he faces genocide charges. He has three days to appeal the ruling. His lawyer says he will fight the extradition.

Bosnian Serb Ex-Leader Karadzic Arrested

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.

Former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic has been arrested in Serbia after more than a decade-long manhunt, officials said.

Karadzic has been twice indicted for genocide. He is accused of playing a key role in the 43-month siege of Sarajevo, which claimed 12,000 lives, and of orchestrating the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

"Karadzic was located and arrested," a statement from the office of Serbian President Boris Tadic said Monday.

Karadzic was detained and taken to see judges of the war crimes court, the statement said.

A statement from Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, congratulated "Serbian authorities, especially the National Security Council, Serbia's Action Team in charge of tracking fugitives and the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, on achieving this milestone in cooperation with the ICTY."

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tells NPR that Karadzic's arrest is "extremely significant."

"He really is the person who was behind the systematic ethnic cleansing — murder — of several hundred thousand Bosnians," she says. "It does show that justice will prevail."

Serbia's previous governments were often blamed for not having the political will to arrest Karadzic.

"He clearly was able to keep hidden because there was not the political will," Albright says. "And, frankly, certain political elements of the government were afraid of some of the other more radical groups, and there was not the kind of sense that this had to be done."

Previous attempt to capture the Bosnian Serb leader failed.

"What NATO couldn't do for 10 years, apparently the crack Serbian police did," NPR's Tom Gjelten noted Monday, in an on-air conversation with Robert Siegel.

The arrest of Karadzic is a major coup for international authorities and is a boost for the new Western-leaning Serbian government.

"The most important thing that has changed is the political climate in Belgrade," Gjelten says. "We now have a new government there which is determined to move closer to Europe."

The White House praised the arrest, calling it "an important demonstration of the Serbian Government's determination to honor its commitment to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal."

European Union officials praised the arrest.

The EU said the arrest "illustrates the commitment of the new Belgrade government to contributing to peace and stability in the Balkans region."

Tadic's office said Karadzic has been taken before the investigative judge of Serbia's war crimes court. The next step would be for Karadzic to be extradited to the tribunal in The Hague, when he would be the 44th Serb suspect extradited.

Karadzic has been charged with genocide, extermination, murder, willful killing, deportation, inhumane acts, and other crimes against Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats, and other non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war that lasted from 1992 to 1995. Specifically, he is charged with six counts of genocide and complicity in genocide, two counts of crimes against humanity, as well as violating laws of war and gravely breaching the Geneva Conventions

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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