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UN war crimes tribunal prosecutor welcomes arrest of Radovan Karadžić

UN war crimes tribunal prosecutor welcomes arrest of Radovan Karadžić

British Soldiers monitor movement of Bosnian Muslims at UN checkpoint (file photo)
The chief prosecutor of the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to try those responsible for atrocities committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s has welcomed today’s arrest of the former Bosnian Serb political leader and notorious fugitive Radovan Karadžić.

Mr. Karadžić, 63, has been detained in Serbia, nearly 13 years after the first indictment against him was confirmed at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

He faces charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, wilful killing, persecutions, deportation, inhumane acts and other crimes related to his roles during the 1990s as the president of Republika Srpska, head of the Serbian Democratic Party and Supreme Commander of Bosnian Serb military forces, known as VRS.

ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz said in a press statement that the arrest of Mr. Karadzić was a “milestone in cooperation” with the tribunal, and he congratulated the efforts of Serbian authorities.

“This is a very important day for the victims who have waited for this arrest for over a decade,” Mr. Brammertz said. “It is also an important day for international justice because it clearly demonstrates that nobody is beyond the reach of the law and that sooner or later all fugitives will be brought to justice.”

Mr. Karadžić had been one of three remaining fugitives from the ICTY, along with Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladić and the ethnic Serb politician Goran Hadžić.

Mr. Brammertz said the date of Mr. Karadžić’s transfer to the custody of the tribunal will be decided later.

The indictment states that Mr. Karadžić and others aimed to control areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina that had been proclaimed part of a self-styled Serbian republic and significantly reduce their non-Serb population. They are alleged to have forced non-Serbs such as Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats to leave, expelled those who were reluctant and killed others.

Mr. Karadžić is linked in the indictment to some of the most notorious events of the Balkan conflicts, including the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the supposed safe haven of Srebrenica and the protracted shelling and sniping of civilian residents of the city of Sarajevo.