Radovan Karadzic


The southern Slavic states of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia begin to merge into a single nation following the First World War. But the legacy of a 400-year occupation by the Islamic Ottoman Empire and traditional tension between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians frustrate attempts for unity. Following the Second World War, Yugoslav communists led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito take control of the government, declaring the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia on 29 November 1945.

The veneer of Yugoslav stability begins to crumble when Tito dies on 4 May 1980. The prosperous northern states of Croatia and Slovenia start to agitate for autonomy. Macedonia and the Muslim majorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Serbian province of Kosovo repeat the call. Serbia has political power under the federation and does not want change. The poorer southern state of Montenegro supports the centralised federation and backs Serbia. More background.

Mini biography

Born on 19 June 1945 in Petnijca, a village near Savnik in the mountains of Montenegro. His father is a nationalist 'Chetnik' who fights the Germans and the communists during the Second World War and is jailed by the communists at the war's end. Much of Karadzic's childhood is spent under the sole care of his mother.

In 1960 Karadzic moves to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, where he studies medicine at the University of Sarajevo, graduating as a physician and psychiatrist.

Karadzic marries Ljiljana Zelen, a psychoanalyst and the daughter of an established and wealthy Serb family. The couple have a daughter, Sonja, and a son, Aleksandar Sasa.

An aspiring poet, Karadzic publishes poetry, gives readings and writes books for children.

During the 1970s and 1980s Karadzic works at various medical posts, including the psychiatric clinic in Kosevo hospital in Sarajevo, the Zagreb Centre for Mental Health in Croatia, the Health Centre 'Vozdovac' in Belgrade and as psychiatrist to a soccer team in Sarajevo. It is also reported that he travels to the United States to spend a year in medical training at Columbia University in New York.

On 26 September 1985 he is sentenced to three years imprisonment for embezzlement of public property and fraud but never serves time. The charges relate to the construction of Karadzic's house in Pale, about 10 km to the southeast of Sarajevo, and his connections with the building industry.

1974 - Changes to the Yugoslav constitution loosen the grip of the federal government on the constituent republics, which become de facto sovereign states. Serb minorities living in Bosnia-Herzegovina claim they have been denied national rights, left unprotected and singled out for unfair treatment.

1988 - The Yugoslav Cabinet is unable to cope with a worsening economy and the rising push for autonomy from the republics and their provinces. The entire Cabinet resigns in October. In January 1989 the ruling League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) votes to end its political monopoly, allowing multiparty elections across the federation.

1990 - The LCY relinquishes power at the federal level, splitting into separate party organisations in each of the republics.

In Bosnia, Karadzic helps found the Serbian Democratic Party (SDP) and becomes its president. The party is anticommunist, heavily influenced by the Christian Orthodox Church and advocates the introduction of a capitalist market system. It is supported by Slobodan Milosevic, the nationalist president of Serbia.

Multiparty elections held in Bosnia-Herzegovina in December return a tripartite coalition made up of the Muslim Party of Democratic Action (PDA - 86 seats), the SDP (72 seats) and the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina (44 seats). PDA leader Alija Izetbegovic heads a joint presidency.

1991 - Slovenia and Croatia unilaterally declare their independence in June. The federal government orders the Serb-dominated army to intervene. A 10-day war in Slovenia ends with a Serb defeat. Up to 100 die and hundreds are injured. The war in Croatia lasts seven months, ending in January 1992 with a cease-fire. About 20,000 die and hundreds of thousands are driven from their homes. Macedonia declares its independence in September 1991.

Meanwhile, in Bosnia-Herzegovina several Serb enclaves declare their autonomy and their allegiance to the Serb-dominated federal government, leading to armed conflict between Serbs and non-Serbs.

Karadzic rejects proposals that Bosnia-Herzegovina follow the other republics and also become independent. He begins boycotting meetings of the presidency then withdraws the SDP from the coalition. At a closed referendum among Bosnian Serbs held at the start of the following year most vote to remain part of Yugoslavia.

In October a wiretap records Karadzic discussing the fate of Sarajevo. "They have to know that there are 20,000 armed Serbs around Sarajevo ... it will be a black cauldron where 300,000 Muslims will die," he says. "They will disappear. That people will disappear from the face of the earth."

Karadzic is also recorded as saying, "I think it is clear to the army and clear to everyone. It will be a real bloodbath."

"Europe will be told to go f--k itself and not to come back until the job is finished."

"No Muslim foundations shall ever be laid in Serb areas and Serbian villages. All foundations that are laid will be blown up. You must not sell land to Muslims. ... This is a fight to the finish. It is a battle for living space."

1992 - A referendum on whether Bosnia-Herzegovina should secede from the federation is held from 29 February to 1 March. The Muslim and Croatian majority carry the vote. The country is proclaimed an independent republic on 3 March and recognised as such by the European Community (EC - now European Union), the US and the United Nations (UN).

The Bosnian Serb minority, who boycotted the referendum, rebel.

On 4 April Bosnian President Izetbegovic announces a full mobilisation to quell the violence mounting around the country. Karadzic opposes the move.

On 4-5 April thousands of Sarajevans of all ethnic backgrounds take to the streets to march for peace. When they descend on the SDP offices in the capital, Bosnian Serb snipers open fire on the crowd, killing six people.

Bosnian Serb militias now lay siege to Sarajevo. Their artillery, positioned in the surrounding hills, bomb the city's streets and marketplaces, while their snipers target the unlucky and unwary.

On 6 April Karadzic proclaims the independent Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, renamed Republika Srpska in May. Karadzic is president and supreme commander of the armed forces. The capital is located at Pale.

Republika Srpska encompasses about half the landmass of Bosnia-Herzegovina, horseshoeing around the remaining territory and bordering both Serbia and Croatia. It is not recognised by the UN.

Ratko Mladic takes command of the 80,000 Yugoslav Army troops stationed in the republic, a force which becomes in effect the Bosnian Serb Army.

With the backing of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, the Bosnian Serb militias and Mladic's army units begin to occupy territory across Bosnia. After six weeks of fighting they control two-thirds of the state. The conflict soon spills into Croatia.

The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia will last for three years, causing devastation in those countries and deprivation in Serbia, which suffers from trade sanctions applied by the UN.

As the war escalates, the Serb forces attempt to expel the Muslim and Croat population from the Serb-held territories in an orchestrated program of "ethnic cleansing."

Muslims and Croats are either forced into exile as refugees, held as hostages for use in prisoner exchanges, or placed in concentration camps. Many are summarily executed. An estimated 20,000 Muslim women and girls are thrown into rape camps. Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat political leaders are arrested, imprisoned and in many cases murdered. In the opening months of the war up to 100,000 or more people are killed. Hundreds of thousands are dispossessed.

Hostilities are further complicated in July when a group of Bosnian Croats form a breakaway Croat state inside Bosnia, the Republic of Herceg-Bosna. Croatian-Serbs from the self-declared Republic of Serbian Krajina in neighbouring Croatia also enter the fray, forming an alliance with the Bosnian Serbs.

1993 - At the start of the year Croatian forces attempt to seize territory in Bosnia. Bosnian Muslims resist the incursion.

In June the UN Security Council passes a resolution to create six "safe areas" for Bosnian Muslims - Bihac, Tuzla, Srebrenica, Zepa, Gorazde and Sarajevo. UN peacekeeping soldiers are deployed to defend the areas.

1994 - In March Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia reach an agreement to form a joint federation and end their hostilities. The Croatian and Bosnian Muslim forces join in opposition to the Serbs, launching an offensive in April and May.

In December the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces a cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the withdrawal of Serbian artillery. The cease-fire holds until March 1995.

1995 - The Serb militias are brought to a standstill in Bosnia. To the west, they are overwhelmed by the Croatian Army and driven, along with almost the entire Serbian-Croat population, out of Croatia.

In May NATO launches air strikes against Serb targets after the Serb forces refuse to comply with a UN ultimatum to remove all heavy weapons from a 12-mile exclusion zone around Sarajevo. Joint Croatian-Bosnian operations and further air strikes in May, August and September eject Serbian forces from large areas of western Bosnia.

Meanwhile, in March, Karadzic issues a directive ordering the Bosnian Serb Drina Corps to "create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica." Karadzic subsequently visits the Drina Corps Command at the end of June.

Bosnian Serb militias led by Mladic and aided by Yugoslav Army troops take Srebrenica on 11 July. Mladic tells a television crew, "Finally ... the time has come to take revenge on the Turks in this region."

Over 40,000 Bosnian Muslims are forcibly expelled from the Srebrenica "safe area". Men and boys are separated from women, children and elderly men. About 30,000 women, children and elderly men are bused to Muslim-held territory. Between 5,000 and 8,000 men and boys are executed, allegedly on Mladic's order. The atrocity intensifies the counter-offensive against the Bosnian Serbs.

Now on the defensive, tensions between the Bosnian Serb Army and the government of the Republika Srpska come to the surface. When army generals, led by Mladic, begin to ignore orders from the government, Karadzic attempts to have them reassigned from the battlefronts. The generals refuse to comply.

The siege of Sarajevo ends in mid-September when the Bosnian Serbs agree to withdraw their heavy weapons. Approximately 10,000 people have been killed in Sarajevo during the siege, including about 1,500 children.

On 21 November Milosevic, Izetbegovic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman ratify the Dayton accord for peace in Bosnia. Karadzic is forced to accept the accord when Milosevic closes the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina and turns his back on the Bosnian Serbs.

Under the accord, Bosnia-Herzegovina is divided into a Muslim-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb mini-state (the Republika Srpska) under a unified presidency but with separate governments. The trade sanctions against Serbia are lifted.

The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina has cost up to 200,000 or more lives. As many as three million have been driven from their homes and tens of thousands are missing.

On 24 July Karadzic and Mladic are indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague on 16 counts, including genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes against civilians and places of worship, the siege of Sarajevo, and the taking of UN peacekeepers as hostages and human shields.

The indictment accuses them of being "criminally responsible for the unlawful confinement, murder, rape, sexual assault, torture, beating, robbery and inhumane treatment of civilians."

Copy of the indictment against Karadzic.

Copy of the indictment against Mladic.

They are charged separately on 14 November for the genocide at Srebrenica, which is described by one of the tribunal judges as having included events that were "truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history."

As the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Karadzic is also held responsible for the "ethnic cleansing" of tens of thousands of Muslims from Serb-held areas of Bosnia. As an indicted war criminal, he is banned from standing for parliament. He is also pressured to relinquish his existing government and party positions.

1996 - The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia issues international arrest warrants for Karadzic and Mladic on 11 July.

Mladic is dismissed as commander of the Bosnian Serb Army. Karadzic steps down as president of the Republika Srpska and as head of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina on 19 July. He makes his last public appearance at the christening of his son at an Orthodox Monastery in Montenegro.

1997 - The SDP loses government in Republika Srpska at elections held in December, depriving Karadzic of a power base. Karadzic goes into hiding, reputedly in southeastern border-country of the Republika Srpska. He is believed to be surrounded by heavily armed bodyguards and protected by the police.

Other rumours have him living humbly, heavily disguised as an Orthodox priest, moving between the monasteries of Montenegro under the protection of the Orthodox Church and occasionally visiting his family in Pale. According to 'The Observer' newspaper, it has been estimated that Karadzic spends 80% of his time in church property.

It is also said that Karadzic only moves around at night and employs look-alikes to further confuse his pursuers. The cost of his protection is estimated to be about US$200,000 per month, most of which is sourced from the criminal activities of his supporters, including extortion, embezzlement and other business fraud.

2000 - The SDP returns to power in Republika Srpska and becomes the largest single party in the Bosnian Parliament.

2002 - Mladic goes underground when the Serbian Government agrees to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal.

Both Karadzic and Mladic have a price on their head, with the US Government offering a $5 million reward for information leading to their arrest or conviction.

The NATO-led Stabilisation Force in Bosnia (SFOR) tries unsuccessfully to apprehend Karadzic in February, and again in March, raiding the small town of Celebici in the Republika Srpska, near the border with Montenegro. The area is considered to be Karadzic's "base of operation."

In July NATO troops raid Karadzic's abandoned house in Pale. They claim that they find evidence linking Karadzic to Bosnia's criminal underworld.

Meanwhile, a book of children's poetry written by Karadzic, titled 'There are miracles, there are no miracles', is launched in Belgrade on 9 July. It is reported that the book is the first in a trilogy. According to Karadzic's publisher, two more books were to be released and a compilation of Karadzic's political commentaries was being prepared. A close aid to Karadzic describes him as "well and busy."

On 14 August SFOR returns to Celebici in the Republika Srpska to step up the hunt for Karadzic. Again they have no success.

2003 - The international community attempts to tighten the noose on Karadzic by freezing the assets of his family and some supporters. The European Union also bans his wife (Ljiljana), son (Aleksandar), and several others from entering its territory.

Bosnian Serb police enter the hunt for Karadzic in September. The police raid the home of an Orthodox bishop near the border with Serbia but find nothing.

Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro move towards reconciliation on 10 September when the presidents of both countries apologise to one another for "all the evils" done by their countries in wars. The following month, during a visit to Sarajevo, the president of Serbia-Montenegro, Svetozar Marovic, apologises for the abuses committed during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

2004 - The hunt for Karadzic resumes on 11 January when, acting on a tip that he may be badly injured and seeking help, SFOR begins a four-day search of Pale and its environs. The operation, the biggest in 18 months, fails to apprehend the fugitive or find any evidence of his whereabouts, although it is later claimed that SFOR had missed capturing Karadzic by just two hours.

Karadzic loyalists boast that both he and Mladic are well guarded. "That is why this action will not succeed and Dr Karadzic will continue to be in safety, in the myth and legend of the Serb people," states Kosta Cavoski, head of the International Committee for Truth on Radovan Karadzic.

At the end of January posters of Karadzic begin to appear in Banja Luka, the administrative centre of Republika Srpska. Below a colour photograph of Karadzic the posters bear the words "I'm always with you," and "I'm watching you."

On 11 February UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte claims that Karadzic is now living in Belgrade, saying her information came from a "credible source." Serbia responds by challenging Del Ponte to provide information or any other kind of help that would lead to the capture of Karadzic.

Operations to capture Karadzic are staged on 13 March, 31 March and 14 April. None find any trace of the fugitive.

Meanwhile, on 19 April, the Criminal Tribunal at The Hague confirms that the massacre at Srebrenica was an act of genocide. "The appeals chamber calls the massacre at Srebrenica by its proper name: genocide," says the tribunal's president, Judge Theodor Meron.

"By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica ... They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity. ...

"Those responsible will bear this stigma, and it will serve as a warning to those who may in future contemplate the commission of such a heinous act."

On 11 June the Srebrenica Commission releases a report that establishes the "participation of (Bosnian Serb) military and police units, including special units" in the massacre. The 42-page preliminary report also implicates Serbia in the massacre, noting that Serbian police units were ordered to participate.

Composed of Bosnian Serb judges and lawyers, a victims' representative, and an international expert, the seven-member Srebrenica Commission was formed in 2003 by Bosnia's international administrator, Lord Ashdown, to investigate who was involved in the massacre and where victims' bodies are buried.

On 30 June Lord Ashdown fires 59 Serbs from government positions in the Republika Srpska in retaliation for their failure to arrest Karadzic. "The Republika Srpska has been in a grip of a small band of corrupt politicians and criminals for far too long," Ashdown says.

Karadzic, meanwhile, completes a book, 'Miraculous Chronicles of the Night', in August and submits it to a publisher "through secret channels." The book, a semi-autobiographical story about a prisoner held in a Sarajevo prison on the eve of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, sells out at an international book fair held in Belgrade in October.

On 10 November, following its receipt and review of the final report of the Srebrenica Commission, the government of Republika Srpska issues an apology for the 1995 massacre.

"The report makes it clear that enormous crimes were committed in the area of Srebrenica in July 1995," the government says. "The Bosnian Serb Government shares the pain of the families of the Srebrenica victims, is truly sorry and apologises for the tragedy." The government was determined to "face the truth about the recent conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina" and "take decisive steps to force all persons who committed war crimes to face justice."

On 14 November the Norwegian News Agency publishes a report stating that research done by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has concluded that about 103,000 people were killed during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

According to the report, the researchers found that 55,261 civilians and 47,360 soldiers died as a direct result of the conflict. Of the civilians, about 38,000 were Muslims and Croats and about 16,700 were Serbs. Of the soldiers, about 28,000 were from the mostly Muslim Bosnian Government Army, about 14,000 were from the Bosnian Serb forces, and about 6,000 were Bosnian Croat troops.

The estimates exclude those who died from indirect causes such as starvation, cold and lack of medical care.

In June 2007 the Sarajevo Research and Documentation Centre reports that at least 97,207 people were killed during the war. Of this number, 39,684 were civilians and 57,523 military personnel, the report states. About 66% of the victims were Bosnian Muslims, 26% were Serbs and 8% were Croats. However, the figures in the report also exclude those who died from indirect causes.

2005 - In January Karadzic's former deputy, Biljana Plavsic, publishes a book titled 'I Testify' in which she describes Karadzic's tolerance of wartime profiteering.

"Karadzic admired wartime mobsters who made their fortune overnight by smuggling humanitarian aid and arms," she writes. "Once I asked him openly if people in the leadership were involved in profiteering, and he said 'Well, one has to make a living somehow.'"

Plavsic, who became president of the Republika Srpska before being jailed for 11 years by The Hague Tribunal in 2003 for crimes against humanity, writes that Karadzic got richer during the war, enjoying luxury apartments, a selection of cars and a helicopter. "There was always money for Karadzic's pockets ... sometimes I wondered if he was at all aware of what was going on, that people were dying."

On 7 March Carla Del Ponte says that authorities in Serbia know exactly where Ratko Mladic is and could organise his arrest and transfer in hours if they had the political will.

She is uncertain whether Karadzic is in Bosnia, Serbia or Montenegro, but is sure he is still in the region.

"I am asking Belgrade please go and arrest these accused who are not willing to voluntarily surrender," she says.

Karadzic has, according to his brother, "made a strategic decision to never surrender to The Hague Tribunal."

"If he surrendered he would betray his people and God, which has protected him from the enemies for so long," Karadzic's brother says.

On 9 June the Bosnian daily newspaper 'Oslobodjenje' reports that the Bosnian Serb Government has admitted that police from Serbia took part in the massacre at Srebrenica.

According to the paper, the admission is contained in the latest report by the Srebrenica Commission. "The Bosnian Serb Interior Ministry in cooperation with the panel has confirmed the involvement in the Srebrenica massacre of joint forces of the Serbian Interior Ministry," the paper quotes the report as saying.

In October the Special Bosnian Serb Government Working Group concludes that over 17,000 Bosnian Serb soldiers, police and civilians took part in the events at Srebrenica, either directly or by assisting with planning, transport and communications.

On 2 July the BBC reports that it has been told by "international security agencies" that Karadzic is hiding in Montenegro and is therefore beyond the reach of the peacekeepers and police in Bosnia. According to the report, Karadzic is living in a remote part of northwest Montenegro, not far from the town of Niksic, where he grew up.

On 28 July Karadzic's wife, Ljiljana, makes a public appeal to her husband to surrender to The Hague Tribunal.

"Our family is under constant pressure from all over. Our life and our existence is jeopardised," she says.

"In hope that you are alive and that you can make decisions by yourself, I'm begging you to make this decision. ... I'm now doing the only thing I can; I'm begging you.

"Between loyalty to you and to the children and grandchildren, I had to choose and I have chosen. ... It will be your sacrifice for us, for the sake of your family,"

On 18 October a new book of poetry by Karadzic is published. Titled 'Under the Left Breast of the Century', the book contains 47 poems covering mostly outdoor themes.

2006 - The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also know as the World Court, begins hearings in a case of genocide that was brought against Yugoslavia by Bosnia-Herzegovina in March 1993.

The ICJ was set up after the Second World War to deal with disputes between states. The court has the authority to order Serbia-Montenegro (the successor state to Yugoslavia) to pay damages if it is found responsible for acts of genocide that occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1992-95 conflict.

It is the first time a state has been brought to court to face a charge of genocide.

Meanwhile, on 21 May, Montenegro votes to split from the federation with Serbia. Montenegro formally declares its independence on 3 June. The disintegration of Yugoslavia is now complete.

2007 - On 26 February the ICJ hands down its ruling in the genocide case brought against Yugoslavia by Bosnia-Herzegovina. The court finds that while Serbia, the sole remaining successor of Yugoslavia, had not committed, incited or been complicit in genocide, it had failed to prevent what happened at Srebrenica despite its awareness of "a serious risk" of mass murder and its "known influence" over the Bosnian Serb militia.

The court finds that "financial compensation is not the appropriate form of reparation." It calls instead for the arrest and delivery of Ratko Mladic to The Hague and a formal declaration from Serbia that it failed to prevent an act of genocide at Srebrenica.

Two days later the government of the Republika Srpska apologises to the victims of the war. "The government of the Republika Srpska expresses its deepest regret for the crimes committed against non-Serbs and condemns all persons who took part in the crimes," a statement from the government says.

2008 -In May 2008 the ICJ begins to hear a second charge of genocide filed against Serbia, this time by Croatia. A counter suit is filed by Serbia against Croatia in 2010. The ICJ rules against both suits in 2015, finding that neither side committed genocide against the other's populations.

At the start of July 2008 a new pro-Western government takes office in Serbia.

Karadzic's run from justice finally comes to an end on 18 July when he is arrested in Belgrade by the Serbian security services.

Going under the name Dragan David Dabic, he is unrecognisable, looking like a New Age hippy or Slav mystic with long white hair, a top-knot, a full white beard and glasses.

He has been living openly in Belgrade for two or three years, working as an alternative medicine practitioner, writing for a health magazine and giving lectures on spirituality. It is reported that he claims to be an expert in "human quantum energy" and that he even has his own website.

His cover had been blown after his brother, Luka, called him using a phone with a SIM card known to be associated with his support network.

"Hiding was not difficult for me except for the fact that I was separated from my family," Karadzic tells his lawyer, according to a report in the Belgrade newspaper 'Blic'.

"I attended conferences and stood before cameras since I was convinced I would never be found. I exclude the possibility that somebody tipped me off since nobody that I was in contact with knew that I was Radovan Karadzic."

Karadzic is transferred to a prison cell in The Hague on 30 July. He appears before the criminal tribunal for the first time the next day and is formally charged with one count of genocide, one count of complicity in genocide, four counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity.

Karadzic tells the tribunal that he will represent himself during his trial. (In reality he has a large legal team working for him, including four lawyers and an investigator appointed and paid for by the tribunal.) Karadzic refuses to recognise the charges, forcing the tribunal to enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

2009 - In February the indictment against Karadzic is amended. The number of charges against him remains the same but their scope is narrowed to expedite the trial. The indictment is further shortened in October.

In August Karadzic tells Reuters new agency, "I don't regret my own role (in the war). I didn't seek public office, but when I held it, I carried out my duties with the best interest of the people in my heart. I regret what happened during the war in Bosnia - the many lives that were lost, the suffering of people of all ethnicities, and the shattering of families and property."

The trail begins on 26 October. Karadzic, however, refuses to attend. The trial is adjourned until 1 March 2010 and a stand-by lawyer is appointed to present the case for the defence if Karadzic continues to boycott proceedings.

2010 - Karadzic attends the trial when it resumes on 1 March, presenting his opening statement.

He says that the Serbs "wanted to live with Muslims, but not under Muslims" and claims that the Muslims were the first to attack. "Their conduct gave rise to our conduct," he says.

"The Serbs were claiming their own territories, and that is not a crime. ... It was never an intention, never any idea let alone a plan, to expel Muslims and Croats."

Meanwhile, the Serbian parliament formally apologises for not doing all it could to prevent the massacre at Srebrenica.

2011 - Ratko Mladic is captured on 26 May. He is extradited to face trial at The Hague on 31 May.

2012 - The prosecution finishes presenting its case against Karadzic on 25 May. The case for the defence opens on 16 October.

At the end of June one of the charges of genocide brought against Karadzic is dropped. All 10 other charges, including the charge of genocide for involvement in the Srebrenica massacre, remain. The charge of genocide that was dropped relates to the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia. Presiding judge O-Gon Kwon tells the prosecutors they did not provide enough evidence to "be capable of supporting a conviction of genocide in the (Bosnian) municipalities."

The charge is reinstated on appeal in July 2013.

2014 - Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are reunited in January when Mladic is forced to appear as a witness for the defence in Karadzic's trial. However, Mladic refuses to answer any questions on the grounds that he might prejudice his own case.

Summing up of both the prosecution and defence cases begins at the end of September. The prosecution argues that Karadzic should be convicted and imprisoned for life.

"Under his command and oversight, Karadzic's subordinates and those cooperating with them expelled, killed, tortured and otherwise mistreated hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Croats," the prosecutors state in a written submission to the court. "They bombarded Sarajevo with shells and bullets, killing, maiming and terrorising its civilian population for over three-and-a-half years. The scale and scope of these criminal campaigns is vast."

Karadzic counters that there is not "a shred of evidence" linking him to atrocities committed during the Bosnian war. He says there was no systematic ethnic cleansing of territory under his control during the conflict and that, at the time, he was unaware of the massacre at Srebrenica. He says he should be acquitted on all charges.

Presentations to the trial conclude on 7 October, ending a five-year hearing during which nearly 600 prosecution and defence witnesses gave testimony. The judges now retire to consider their verdict.

Their decision is expected in mid-2015.

2015 - Karadzic has surgery to remove his inflamed gall bladder in August.

2016 - The tribunal judges finally hand down their verdict on Karadzic on 24 March. The judges find that following the outbreak of conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, Serb forces engaged in "an organised and systematic pattern of crimes ... against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats." Further, the campaign against non-Serbs was "carefully coordinated, directed, and ultimately intended" by Karadzic and the Bosnian Serb leadership.

Karadzic bears "individual criminal responsibility ... for persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and forcible transfer as crimes against humanity; and murder, a violation of the laws or customs of war."

In relation to the siege of Sarajevo, the tribunal finds that Karadzic "significantly contributed" to a plan to spread terror among the civilian population of the city through a campaign of sniping and shelling. According to the tribunal, the only "reasonable inference" that can be drawn from Karadzic's acts "is that he intended murder, unlawful attack on civilians, and terror."

Accordingly, Karadzic "bears individual criminal responsibility ... for murder, unlawful attacks on civilians, and terror, as violations of the laws or customs of war and for murder as a crime against humanity."

The tribunal makes its most damaging findings in relation to the genocide at Srebrenica, concluding that "the systematic and highly organised nature of the killings, demonstrate a clear intent to kill every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica." The tribunal finds that Karadzic shared that intent and is responsible for the genocide.

Karadzic is found guilty on 10 of the 11 charges he faced, including the charge of genocide for the Srebrenica massacre. He is sentenced to 40 years in prison, with credit for time already served. The court finds there is not enough evidence to convict Karadzic of the second charge of genocide relating to the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia.

A legal adviser for Karadzic says he will appeal the judgement.


No one emerged a victor of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. No one emerged a hero. Just about everyone was a victim, including the Bosnian Serbs, who were lied to and manipulated by their leaders, and by Milosevic in Belgrade. And the victim's mentality remains, with the Bosnian Serb leadership steadfastly denying complicity and responsibility, just as Karadzic and Mladic maintain their innocence.

Though of course it isn't quite that black and white. The atrocities committed were the worst seen in Europe since the Second World War, but not the worst ever seen in Yugoslavia. That happened 50 years earlier, during the regime of Croat fascist Ante Pavelic and his murderous Ustase storm troopers. The tally then was 300,000 to one million, including up to 30,000 Jews, up to 29,000 Gipsies, and between 300,000 and 600,000 Serbs.

That atrocity has contributed in no small part to the paranoia that informs much of the national psyche of the Bosnian Serbs. And you can understand them, to a degree. In parts of Croatia, Pavelic is still regarded as a national hero.