Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive Karadzic arrested

July 22nd, 2008 - 9:14 am ICT by IANS  

Belgrade, July 22 (DPA) Serbian security forces Monday night arrested Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, one of the top two Balkan war crimes suspects, after more than a decade on the run, the Serbian president’s office said. Karadzic, 63, was arrested Monday night and brought before a war crimes judge in Belgrade, President Boris Tadic’s office said in a brief statement. It did not say where Karadzic was taken into custody.

The independent Beta news agency reported that Karadzic was arrested in Serbia.

For his alleged role in leading the ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs during Bosnia’s 1992-95 civil war, the UN war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia has indicted Karadzic on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and breach of the Geneva Convention rules of war.

“The National Security Council said tonight that with the action of Serbian security forces, Hague indictee Radovan Karadzic was located and arrested,” the statement from Tadic’s office said. “Karadzic was brought before a judge of the war crimes court in Belgrade.”

Word of Karadzic’s arrest came just weeks after the swearing in of a new pro-European Serbian government, which has set ambitious goals for the long-isolated nation to join the European Union - a target that requires full cooperation with the UN tribunal in The Hague.

Bringing Karadzic to justice has been a key condition for EU membership. Serbia would also need to arrest former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic, indicted for war crimes including the Srebrenica massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys, and another top suspect, Goran Hadzic.

On June 11, Serb authorities arrested another Hague fugitive, Bosnian Serb Stojan Zupljanin, in Pancevo, a town near Belgrade.

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