Ljajić: Karadžić arrested on Monday

BELGRADE -- Rasim Ljajić has dismissed claims that Radovan Karadžić was arrested on Friday.

Rasim Ljajić (Tanjug)
Rasim Ljajić (Tanjug)

The president of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal said that Karadžić had been arrested in an operation that began on Monday and lasted nine hours, rejecting claims by the suspect’s lawyer Svetozar Vujačić that he was arrested on Friday, July 18.

Nor did he wish to comment on reports in some newspapers that he had been arrested in Košutnjak, Vračar or Kosmaj, or that he had been on a bus when apprehended.

“All kinds of things are written in the media, but for understandable reasons I can’t say, as we have to treat certain things linked to the case and the support network very seriously. I cannot answer that question,“ the National Council president told state broadcaster RTS.

He said that “in the coming days many of your questions will be answered and many of these loose ends tied up.“

Ljajić said that the arrest had not happened by chance, but on the basis of serious information.

“We couldn’t say for certain whether the job would be wrapped up until just before the arrest itself. There was nothing accidental, serious work went into this,“ he stressed.

The National Council president said that the arrest was a "clear signal that Hague fugitives cannot hide forever.“

“We never claimed that they were not in Serbia, nor that they were outside Serbia, but we must be very careful in determining where they might be,“ Ljajić pointed out.

He added that the political will to extradite the suspects existed in the previous government, and “no-one can say that there was no cooperation in that period.“

The National Council president reiterated that 44 suspects had been extradited to the Tribunal, and that two remained— Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić.

“The best thing would be if both them turned themselves in, we’ll continue the hunt, we need to close this chapter as soon as possible, we’re aware it’s very unpopular, but we’re convinced that five years from now people will realize that we did the right thing,“ said Ljajić.