Radovan Karadžić arrested

BELGRADE -- Hague Tribunal's war crimes indictee Radovan Karadžić is under arrest, the Serbian War Crimes Prosecution has confirmed.

A Gendarme, left, looks on as Luka Karadžić arrives in front of the Special Court (Tanjug)
A Gendarme, left, looks on as Luka Karadžić arrives in front of the Special Court (Tanjug)

According to an earlier Beta news agency report, the arrest announcement came Monday evening from President Boris Tadić's press service, which quoted Serbia's Council for National Security.

The raid was conducted by the Serbian security forces and the war-time leader of the Bosnian Serbs has been taken to a judge with the War Crimes Court in Belgrade, the statement said.

However, the location and time of Karadžić's arrest, as well as other details officially remain unknown at this point. But Beta quotes "reliable sources" who said the former president of the Republic of Srpska was arrested on Monday evening in Belgrade.

In the meantime, the Interior Ministry (MUP) issued a statement tonight that said its officers "did not take part in locating or arresting Karadžić", without elaborating any further. This was also confirmed by the new interior minister, Ivica Dačić, SPS.

State television RTS has reported that MUP's elite Žandarmerija (Gendarmerie) were seen out in force securing the Special Court building. This television also broadcast footage of Karadžić's brother Luka entering the court's premises.

A large number of reporters gathered there, but policemen in full riot gear were keeping them across the street from the court building, Beta says.

Luka Karadžić spent a short while inside, and told journalists as he exited the premises that "as far as he knew", Radovan Karadžić had not been brought there.

He also said he learned about the arrest from the media.

In Holland, Chief Hague Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, who was due to visit Belgrade on Tuesday but decided to postpone his trip, late on Monday welcomed the news of Karadžić's arrest.

"My colleagues in Belgrade have informed me about a successful action the outcome of which was the arrest of Radovan Karadžić," a statement from the Tribunal said.

Brammertz congratulated the authorities in Serbia on behalf of the Hague Tribunal.

"This is a very important day for the victims who have awaited this arrest for over a decade. This is also an important day for international justice, because it clearly shows that no one is above the law and that all fugitives will face justice sooner or later," the statement said.

Karadžić, who is charged with committing genocide in Bosnia during the 1992-1995 war in that country, was first indicted on July 24, 1995.

Before the international warrant was issued for his arrest, Karadžić was last seen and photographed in July 1996 in Han Pijesak, Bosnia.

The UN war crimes court in The Hague on several occasions claimed to have had information that showed he was in Serbia "at least from time to time", and that in 2004 he was located in Belgrade.

At the same time the Tribunal claimed with certainty that another war crimes fugitive, Ratko Mladić, lives in Serbia.

The arrest brings the number of war crimes suspects still at large to two names: Mladić, and Goran Hadžić, one of the former Croatian Serb leaders.