Breaking news in the last hour is that Radovan Karadzic has been arrested in Belgrade. Karadzic, you may recall, was the President of the Bosnian Serb Republic. He’s under indictment for about twenty different war crimes, and has been on the run since 1996.
Few details are available yet. The arrest was made in Belgrade earlier today. It’s not clear by whom. (The Serbian Ministry of the Interior, which controls the police, issued a brief statement saying it was not involved.) The Serbian government formally notified the Hague Tribunal this afternoon.
As always in these matters, there’s some mystery and confusion. Just last week, officials in both Serbia and the Republika Srpska had announced that they didn’t believe Karadzic was in their countries. This was actually plausible! The new Serbian government had just arrested another war criminal in Belgrade a few weeks ago. So you’d think Karadzic would have stayed well clear.
Was he simply stupid? Or was he lured back to Belgrade somehow? Or was he there all along? If the latter, then former Prime Minister Kostunica surely knew about it… and was lying his ass off to the Hague and the world for five years straight. I’m no fan of Kostunica, but I’d hate to think that.
On a personal note: for years my wife has said that Karadzic was living “down the street” from us back in the early 2000s. At that time, we were living in the street Golsfortieva (that’s Serbian for “Galsworthy”) in the neighborhood of Vracar in central Belgrade. She picked this up from talking with the neighbors, and for five years it’s been a running joke in our house. “Right down the street from us!” “Right, sure, yes, dear. Whatever, okay.”
Well, at least one source is claiming that the arrest was made in… the neighborhood of Vracar, in central Belgrade. Headline: Blogger’s Wife ‘Very Satisfied’ By Arrest.
Anyway. A day or two may pass without much news, as under Serbian law the accused has the right to challenge certain aspects of his arrest — most notably, whether or not he’s really the person in question.
Still: great news, if true.