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 Top war crimes suspect arrested in Serbia

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AuteurMessage
mihou
Rang: Administrateur
mihou

Nombre de messages : 8092
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

Top war crimes suspect arrested in Serbia Empty
21072008
MessageTop war crimes suspect arrested in Serbia

Top war crimes suspect arrested in Serbia



By DUSAN STOJANOVIC, Associated Press Writer 9 minutes ago
Former
Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic, accused architect of massacres
and the politician considered most responsible for the deadly siege of
Sarajevo, was arrested Monday evening in a Serbian police raid ending
his 13 years as the world's most-wanted war crimes fugitive. His
alleged partner in the persecution and "cleansing" of tens of thousands
of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko
Mladic, remained at large. A psychiatrist turned diehard Serbian
nationalist politician, Karadzic is the suspected mastermind of mass
killings that the U.N. war crimes tribunal described as "scenes from
hell, written on the darkest pages of human history." They include the
1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, Europe's worst slaughter
since World War II. "This is a very important day for the
victims who have waited for this arrest for over a decade. It is also
an important day for international justice because it clearly
demonstrates that nobody is beyond the reach of the law," said Serge
Brammertz, the tribunal's head prosecutor. Serbian President
Boris Tadic's office said Karadzic, 63, was arrested "in an action by
the Serbian security services" and taken before the investigative judge
of Serbia's war crimes court, indicating imminent extradition to the
U.N. war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands. A Serbian
police source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not
allowed to talk to the media, said Karadzic was seized in a Belgrade
suburb after weeks of surveillance of his safe house and a tip from a
foreign intelligence service. Authorities said Karadzic was
detained Monday evening in a raid, but his attorney said it occurred
Friday on a bus. "He just said that these people showed him a police
badge and than he was taken to some place and kept in the room. And
that is absolutely against the law what they did," Sveta Vujacic told
AP Television News. If Karadzic is transferred to the U.N.
tribunal, he would be the 44th Serb suspect extradited to the tribunal.
The others include former President Slobodan Milosevic, who was ousted
in 2000 and died in 2006 while on trial on war crimes charges. Serbia
braced for a possible reaction from ultra-nationalists who are believed
to have helped shelter Karadzic and Mladic over the years. Heavily
armed special forces were deployed around the war-crimes court in
Belgrade as dozens of Karadzic supporters gathered nearby. Several were
arrested after attacking reporters in front of the courthouse.
Karadzic's brother, Luka, was also seen arriving at the location in
central Belgrade. Serbian police also deployed throughout
central Belgrade as well as in front of the U.S. Embassy, which was
targeted in nationalist rioting over Kosovo's declaration of
independence in February. The White House called the arrest "an
important demonstration of the Serbian government's determination to
honor its commitment to cooperate with the International Criminal
Tribunal." In the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo — besieged
throughout the war by Bosnian Serb nationalists — streets were jammed
late Monday as Bosnian Muslims celebrated the arrest. Operating
from strongholds in Pale and Vraca high above the city, the Serbs
starved, sniped and bombarded the center of Sarajevo, controlling
nearly all roads into and out. Inhabitants were kept alive only by a
thin lifeline of food aid and supplies provided by UN donors and
peacekeepers, and risked their lives merely walking down the street,
shopping in a market or driving on one of the main roads, which became
known as "Sniper Alley." The siege, which began in April 1992,
was not officially lifted until February 1996, after NATO intervention
and the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. During that time,
an estimated 10,000 people had died in and around the city. Serbia
has been under increasing international pressure to find Karadzic and
turn him over. Still, his arrest came as a surprise to many. His
whereabouts had been a mystery to U.N. war crimes prosecutors unlike
those of Mladic, who had last been spotted living in Belgrade in 2005. "He
was at large because the Yugoslav army was protecting him. But this guy
in my view was worse than Milosevic," Richard Holbrooke, former U.S.
ambassador who negotiated an end to the Bosnian War, told CNN. "He was
the intellectual leader." Holbrooke calculated the Karadzic is
responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of 300,000 people,
because without him there would have been no war or genocide. The
charges against him, last amended in May 2000, include genocide,
extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts, and other crimes
committed against Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb
civilians in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war. "These offenses
include a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing directed at non-Serbs,
organized attacks on places of worship, the operation of concentration
camps, and the mass murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian
Croat civilians," the White House statement added. Karadzic was
born to a poor rural family in Montenegro. He trained as a psychiatrist
and moved to Sarajevo with his wife and two children in the 1960s. A
flamboyant gambler and sometime poet, Karadzic became a founding member
of the Serbian Democratic Party in Bosnia in 1990. Two years later, he
was elected president of the three-person presidency of the breakaway
Serbian republic in Bosnia, soon after Bosnia was recognized as an
independent state by the United Nations. He became sole president of
the Serb Republic in Bosnia that year, remaining in that position until
1996 and also serving as supreme commander of the armed forces. Karadzic
hobnobbed with international negotiators and his interviews were top
news items during the 3 1/2-year Bosnian war. But his life changed by
the time the war ended in late 1995 with tens of thousands of dead and
another 1.8 million driven from their homes. He was indicted twice by
the U.N. tribunal on genocide charges stemming from his alleged crimes
against Bosnia's Muslims and Croats. Karadzic's reported
hide-outs included Serbian Orthodox monasteries and refurbished
mountain caves in remote eastern Bosnia. Some newspaper reports said he
had at times disguised himself as a priest by shaving off his trademark
silver mane and donning a brown cassock. The fugitive's wife,
Ljiljana, told The Associated Press by phone from her home in
Karadzic's former stronghold, Pale, that her daughter Sonja had called
her before midnight. "As the phone rang, I knew something was
wrong. I'm shocked. Confused. At least now, we know he is alive,"
Ljiljana Karadzic said, declining further comment. The European
Union said the arrest "illustrates the commitment of the new Belgrade
government to contributing to peace and stability in the Balkans
region." A statement from the EU presidency, currently held by
France, said the arrest was "an important step on the path to the
rapprochement of Serbia with the European Union." (This version
CORRECTS Corrects that Karadzic turned 63 last month, adds detail on
siege of Sarajevo, recasts attorney's comments. DELETES last 2 grafs
containing inaccurate material on separate suspect)

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Top war crimes suspect arrested in Serbia :: Commentaires

mihou
Bosnian Serb Under Arrest in War Crimes
Message Lun 21 Juil - 22:26 par mihou
July 22, 2008



Bosnian Serb Under Arrest in War Crimes



By DAN BILEFSKY and MARLISE SIMONS






PARIS — Radovan Karadzic,
one of the world’s most wanted war criminals for his part in the
massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995, was
arrested Monday in a raid in Serbia that ended a 13-year hunt.
Serge Brammertz, the prosecutor of the United Nations
war crimes tribunal in The Hague, hailed the arrest as an important
step in bringing to justice one of the architects of Europe’s worst
massacre since World War II. He said Mr. Karadzic, 63, the Bosnian Serb
president during the war there between 1992 and 1995, would be
transferred to The Hague in “due course.”
“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. Karadzic’s exact place of arrest was not announced, but Serbian
government officials said he was arrested by the Serbian secret police
not far from Belgrade, the capital. Officials from President Boris
Tadic’s office said Mr. Karadzic had appeared before an investigative
judge at Serbia’s war crimes court, a prerequisite for his extradition
to The Hague.
Mr. Karadzic, a nationalist hero among Serbian radicals and one of
the tribunal’s most wanted criminals for more than a decade, is said to
have eluded arrest so long by shaving his swoopy gray hair and
disguising himself as a Serbian Orthodox priest. He reportedly hid out
in caves in the mountains of eastern Bosnia and in monasteries. Before
his political career, he was a medical doctor who worked as a
psychiatrist in Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital.
Prosecutors in The Hague and officials of the European Union
have long suspected that he was, in fact, hiding in Serbia, and in
recent years have pressed officials in Belgrade to hand him over. The
failure to arrest Mr. Karadzic and Ratko Mladic,
the still fugitive Bosnian Serb general also indicted on war crimes,
has stood as a block to greater Serbian ties to the European Union
after the wars in Bosnia and later Kosovo.
“This is a historic event,” said Richard Holbrooke,
who brokered the agreements in Dayton, Ohio, to end the war in Bosnia
in 1995. “Of the three most evil men of the Balkans, Milosevic,
Karadzic and Mladic, I thought Karadzic was the worst. The reason was
that Karadzic was a real racist believer. Karadzic really enjoyed
ordering the killing of Muslims, whereas Milosevic was an opportunist.”

Slobodan Milosevic,
the former president of Serbia allied with Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Mladic,
was arrested in 2001 and put on trial for war crimes in 2002. He died
there in 2006 before a verdict was reached.
Mr. Holbrooke said that despite Mr. Karadzic’s arrest, Serbia’s
responsibility was not over. “They have to capture Mladic,” he said.
On Monday night after the arrest, armed police officers were
deployed near the war crimes court in Belgrade, where about 50
nationalist supporters of Mr. Karadzic gathered, waving Serbian flags
and chanting, “Save Serbia, and kill yourself Mr. Tadic.” Several
protesters were arrested after attacking journalists. Mr. Karadzic’s
brother, Luka, was also seen arriving at the courthouse.
Serbian officials said the police were also dispatched to protect
the United States Embassy, which was set ablaze in February by a mob
protesting Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
The arrest, more than a decade after Mr. Karadzic went into hiding,
culminated a long and protracted effort by the West to press Serbia to
arrest Mr. Karadzic for the massacres in the southeastern Bosnian town
of Srebrenica, in the most heinous crime committed during the Balkan
wars.
The arrest was just weeks after a new pro-Western coalition
government in Serbia was formed whose overriding goal is to bring
Serbia into the European Union, the world’s biggest trading bloc. The
European Union has made delivering indicted war criminals to The Hague
a precondition for Serbia’s membership.
The arrest was hailed by Western diplomats as proof of Serbia’s
determination to link its future to the West and put the virulent
nationalism of the past behind it. The capture under the stewardship of
the new government has particular resonance because the government is
made up of an unlikely alliance between the Democrats of Mr. Tadic and
the Socialist Party of Mr. Milosevic, which fought a war against the
West in the 1990s, but has now vowed to bring Serbia back into the
Western fold.
In a sign that the move would accelerate Serbia’s path to the
European Union, the bloc’s official in charge of expansion, Olli Rehn,
said Monday that Mr. Karadzic’s arrest was a “milestone” that would
help clear the way for the poor Balkan nation to join.
“It proves the determination of the new government to achieve full
cooperation with the tribunal,” he said. He said he and European Union
foreign ministers would meet with Serbia’s foreign minister, Vuk
Jeremic, in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss accelerated ties with Serbia.
The White House said the arrest was “an important demonstration of
the Serbian government’s determination to honor its commitment to
cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia.” It said, “There is no better tribute to the victims of the
war’s atrocities than bringing their perpetrators to justice.”
The United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague indicted the
former leader on July 24, 1995, just days after thousands of unarmed
Bosnian men were executed in and around Srebrenica, a United
Nations-protected enclave that was overrun by the Bosnian Serb military
and the police. Their forces were assisted closely by Serbian troops
sent by Belgrade.
The prosecution charged him with genocide, persecution, deportation
and other crimes committed against non-Serb civilians in Bosnia during
the 1992-95 war.
He was indicted together with his chief military commander, Mr. Mladic, who is also believed to be in Serbia.
Natasha Kandic, director of the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade,
a leading human rights advocate, said by telephone from her home
moments after hearing the news: “I’m still in shock. This is historic
news. Nobody believed anymore this would be possible. I was sure
Karadzic was under the protection of the church.”
Ms. Kandic said she had been in touch with friends in Sarajevo, in
Bosnia, who were still incredulous after hearing arrest rumors for so
many years. “They are saying they cannot and dare not believe it,” she
said. “Finally the victims can be satisfied.”
Mr. Karadzic’s wife, Ljiljana, told The Associated Press by phone
from her home near Sarajevo that she had been alerted about the arrest
by her daughter Sonja, who called her before midnight. “As the phone
rang, I knew something was wrong,” she said. “I’m shocked. Confused. At
least now, we know he is alive.”
Even though indicted by the United Nations tribunal, he was often
seen in and around Pale, his stronghold in Bosnia, but vanished from
view after 1997. Until then, NATO
troops stationed in the area often had the chance to arrest him but
claimed that they had no arrest orders, despite the international
warrant issued against him.
Later, when NATO began to look for him in earnest, he moved around
the mountainous regions of Bosnia and in neighboring Montenegro, where
he was born. Although the United States and others offered rewards for
information leading to his capture, Mr. Karadzic seemed protected by
his status as a Serbian hero.
He is charged with genocide for the murder of close to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
The indictment charges that Mr. Karadzic also committed genocide,
persecutions and other crimes when forces under his command killed
non-Serbs during and after attacks on towns throughout Bosnia and
Herzegovina, rounded up thousands of non-Serbs and transferred them to
camps set up by the Bosnian Serb authorities.
The charges state that forces under Mr. Karadzic’s command killed,
tortured, mistreated and sexually assaulted non-Serbs in these camps.
Further, he is charged with responsibility for the shelling and
sniping of civilians in Sarajevo, during the 43-month siege of the
city, which led to the killing and wounding of thousands, including
many women and children.


Nicholas Kulish contributed reporting from Berlin.
 

Top war crimes suspect arrested in Serbia

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