The international community has finally caught up with Radovan Karadzic, 13 years after he was indicted by the Hague war crimes tribunal. His military commander Ratko Mladic remains on the run.
Regarded as monsters by many, their supporters see them as nothing short of national heroes.
Karadzic was a living symbol of the dream of a Greater Serbia.
Born in a tiny hamlet in the mountains of Montenegro, he was raised in poverty. At 15, he moved to Sarajevo, where he was to become a doctor and then a psychiatrist. He also entered politics and in 1990, helped set up the Serbian Democratic Party.
After Bosnia’s independence, he declared the creation of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina, later to be named the Republika Srpska. He named himself the head of state.
In this role, he was also the head of the army. This was the era of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.
Indicted firstly for authorising the shooting of civilians in the siege of Sarajevo, Karadzic was then indicted for genocide a second time for orchestrating the slaughter of some 8,000 Muslim men after Mladic’s forces seized the UN so-called safe area of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia.
He has also been accused of using UN peacekeepers as human shields in 1995, in images shown on TV screens worldwide.
Loyalists will continue to see him as a hero and saviour, hounded by foreign powers. But Radovan Karadzic will now be judged by the courts. The game of cat and mouse is over.
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