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Karadzic to Appear Thursday Before War Crimes Tribunal


Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has been extradited to The Hague where he will stand trial for his role in the Bosnian war of the 1990s. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from London.

After 13 years on the run and one week after his arrest in the Serbian capital Belgrade, Radovan Karadzic is in The Hague. He faces what prosecutors say is likely to be a lengthy and complex trial before the special U.N.-mandated International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz says the charges are among the most serious under international law - genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"He is charged with the ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs from large areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the commission of the crimes alleged in the indictment. He is charged with a campaign of killing and sniping to terrorize the civilian population in Sarajevo. He is charged with the genocide committed in Srebrenica in July '95 when close to 8,000 Muslim Bosnian men and boys were killed," said Brammertz. "In addition, he is charged with taking U.N. peacekeepers and military observers hostage."

Karadzic escaped capture by creating a new identity as a traditional healer named Dragan Dabic and sporting a bushy white beard, long hair, and spectacles. He was able to work and walk around freely in Belgrade - until his arrest by Serbian security forces last week.

Prosecutor Brammertz said his capture was long overdue.

"The arrest of Radovan Karadzic is immensely important for the victims who had to wait far too long for this day," he said. "It is also very important for international justice because it clearly demonstrates that there is no alternative to the arrest of war criminals and that there can be no safe haven for fugitives."

Brammertz praised Serbian authorities for arresting and extraditing Karadzic and called for them to track down the two remaining war crimes suspects wanted by the tribunal - Karadzic's one-time military commander Ratko Mladic and Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic.

Karadzic is due to make his first appearance before the tribunal on Thursday.


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