BELGRADE (Reuters) - Radovan Karadzic, one of the world’s most wanted men, has been arrested and is facing extradition to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague on two counts of genocide.
Here are key facts about Karadzic:
* Karadzic was born on June 19, 1945 in a tiny hamlet in the mountains of Montenegro and raised in poverty by parents who despised the communist rule of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. His father was a Serb nationalist fighter wounded by Tito’s partisans at the close of World War Two.
* He became a professional psychiatrist specializing in neurosis and depression and an amateur poet whose works had a fantastical, morbid tinge. His soft, smiling face and shaggy mane of grey hair gave him a deceptive credibility at first as Bosnian Serb leader. But the world soon changed its opinion.
* On the eve of war in 1992, Karadzic warned against plans to declare Bosnia a sovereign state. It would lead the country into hell and perhaps “make the Muslim people disappear, because the Muslims cannot defend themselves if there is war”, he said.
* He was indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague in July 1995 for authorizing the shooting of civilians during the 43-month siege of Sarajevo. He was indicted for genocide a second time four months later for orchestrating the slaughter of some 8,000 Muslim men after Mladic’s forces seized the U.N. “safe area” of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia.
* In 1997, two years after NATO intervention ended the war, he lost power, went underground and became the quarry in a lengthy manhunt. To this day, loyalists see him as savior and a hero hounded by foreign powers blind to mortal dangers Serbdom faced at the hands of Bosnia’s Muslims. His face is printed on calendars and T-shirts. His books sell in church bookshops.
* There were regular reported “sightings” of Karadzic over the years, none confirmed. He was supposedly seen in April 2005 lunching with his wife, undisguised, and allegedly attended his mother’s funeral in Niksic, Montenegro disguised as a priest a month later.
Editing by Sami Aboudi