Radovan Karadžić

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Radovan Karadžić
Radovan Karadžić.jpg
Full Name: Radovan Karadžić
Alias: Petar Glumac
"The Butcher of Bosnia"
Origin: Šavnik, Montenegro, Yugoslavia
Occupation: President of Republika Srpska (1992 - 1996)
Hobby: Writing poems
Goals: Win the Bosnian War (failed)
Wipe out all Bosniaks (failed)
Establish a "Greater Serbia" by merging Bosnia with Serbia (failed)
Crimes: Genocide
Ethnic cleansing
War crimes
Crimes against humanity
Persecution of Christians
Type of Villain: War Criminal

In that respect, we can say that we have achieved our goal. We have half of Bosnia, more than 40 cities in Bosnia. We also have good land in each region, but in some regions we didn't get some.
~ Karadžić, on the success of his ethnic cleansing campaign

Radovan Karadžić (June 19, 1945) is a former Bosnian Serb politician who was the proclaimed President of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian War. In March 2016, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found him guilty for war crimes, genocide and ordering the Srebrenica massacre which claimed the lives of 8,373 people. As such Karadžić has earned the nickname "The Butcher of Bosnia", which he shares with Ratko Mladić.

He is currently serving life in prison.


Radovan Karadžić was born on June 19, 1945 in the village of Petnjica in the People's Republic of Montenegro, Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, near Šavnik. His father had been a Chetnik – the army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia's government-in-exile during World War II – and was imprisoned by the post-war communist regime for much of his son's childhood. Karadžić moved to Sarajevo in 1960 to study psychiatry at the Sarajevo University School of Medicine.

Soon after graduation, Karadžić started working in a treatment centre at the psychiatric clinic of the main Sarajevo hospital, Koševo. According to testimony, he often boosted his income by issuing fake medical and psychological evaluations to healthcare workers who wanted early retirement or to criminals who tried to avoid punishment by pleading insanity. In 1983, Karadžić started working at a hospital in the Belgrade suburb of Voždovac. With his partner Momčilo Krajišnik, then manager of a mining enterprise Energoinvest, he managed to get a loan from an agricultural-development fund, and they used it to build themselves houses in Pale, a Serb town above Sarajevo turned into a ski resort by the government.

On 1 November 1984 the two were arrested for fraud and spent 11 months in detention before their friend Nikola Koljević managed to bail them out. Due to a lack of evidence, Karadžić was released and his trial was brought to a halt. The trial was revived, however, and on 26 September 1985 Karadžić was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzlement and fraud. As he had already spent over a year in detention, Karadžić did not serve the remaining sentence in prison.

On the recommendation of a friend, Karadžić got into politics and co-founded the Serb Democratic Party (Srpska Demokratska Stranka) in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1989. The party aimed at unifying the Republic's Bosnian Serb community and joining Croatian Serbs in leading them in remaining as part of Yugoslavia in the event of secession by those two republics from the federation.

Throughout September 1991, the SDS began to establish various "Serb Autonomous Regions" throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. After the Bosnian parliament voted on sovereignty on 15 October 1991, a separate Serb Assembly was founded on 24 October 1991 in Banja Luka, to exclusively represent the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following month, Bosnian Serbs held a referendum which resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of staying in a federal state with Serbia and Montenegro, as part of Yugoslavia. In December 1991, a top secret document, For the organisation and activity of organs of the Serbs people in Bosnia-Herzegovina in extraordinary circumstances, was drawn up by the SDS leadership. This was a centralised programme for the takeover of each municipality in the country, through the creation of shadow governments and para-governmental structures through various "crisis headquarters", and by preparing loyalist Serbs for the takeover in co-ordination with the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA).

On 9 January 1992, the Bosnian Serb Assembly proclaimed the Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Република српског народа Босне и Херцеговине/Republika srpskog naroda Bosne i Hercegovine). On 28 February 1992, the constitution of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted. It declared that the state's territory included Serb autonomous regions, municipalities, and other Serbian ethnic entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as "all regions in which the Serbian people represent a minority due to the Second World War genocide" (although how this was established was never specified), and that it was to be a part of the federal Yugoslav state. On 29 February and 1 March 1992 a referendum on the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Yugoslavia was held. Many Serbs boycotted the referendum and pro-independence Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Croats turned out.

On 6 and 7 April 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina was recognized as an independent state by the European Community and the US. It was admitted to the UN on 22 May 1992.

Karadžić was voted President of Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb administration, in Pale on about 13 May 1992 after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. At the time he assumed this position, his de jure powers, as described in the constitution of the Bosnian Serb administration, included commanding the army of the Bosnian Serb administration in times of war and peace, and having the authority to appoint, promote and discharge officers of the army. Karadžić made three trips to the UN in New York in February and March 1993 for negotiations on the future of Bosnia.

He went to Moscow in 1994 for meetings with Russian officials on the Bosnian situation. In 1994, the Greek Orthodox Church declared Karadžić "one of the most prominent sons of our Lord Jesus Christ working for peace", and decorated him with the nine-hundred-year-old Knights' Order of the First Rank of Saint Dionysius of Xanthe. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew announced that "the Serbian people have been chosen by God to protect the western frontiers of Orthodoxy".

On Friday 4 August 1995, with a massive Croatian military force poised to attack the Serb-held Krajina region in central Croatia, Karadžić announced he was removing General Ratko Mladić from his commandant post and assuming personal command of the VRS himself. Karadžić blamed Mladić for the loss of two key Serb-held towns in western Bosnia that had recently fallen to the Croats, and he used the loss of the towns as the excuse to announce his surprise command structure changes. General Mladić was demoted to an "adviser". Mladić refused to go quietly, claiming the support of the Bosnian Serb military and the people. Karadžić countered by attempting to pull political rank as well as denouncing Mladić as a "madman", but Mladić's popular support forced Karadžić to rescind his order on 11 August.

Karadžić was accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of personal and command responsibility for numerous war crimes committed against non-Serbs, in his roles as Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb armed forces and President of the National Security Council of the Republika Srpska. He was accused by the same authority of being responsible for the deaths of more than 7,500 Bosniaks (Muslims). Under his direction and command, Bosnian Serb forces initiated the Siege of Sarajevo. He was accused by the ICTY of ordering the Srebrenica genocide in 1995, directing Bosnian Serb forces to "create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival of life" in the UN safe area. He was also accused by the ICTY of ordering that United Nations personnel be taken hostage in May–June 1995.

He was jointly indicted by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 1995, along with General Ratko Mladić. The indictment charged Karadžić on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1) of the Statute) and superior criminal responsibility (Article 7(3) of the Statute) with:

  • Five counts of crimes against humanity (Article 5 of the Statute – extermination, murder, persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, persecutions, inhumane acts (forcible transfer));
  • Three counts of violations of the laws of war (Article 3 of the Statute – murder, unlawfully inflicting terror upon civilians, taking hostages);
  • One count of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions (Article 2 of the Statute – willful killing).
  • Unlawful transfer of civilians because of religious or national identity.

Fugitive Status and Capture

For over 13 years, there were numerous sightings regarding his whereabouts. During his visit to the United Nations in 1993, he was handed a service of process for a civil claim under the United States of America's Alien Tort Act. Shortly after going into hiding, he assumed the identity of a holistic doctor under the aliases of "D.D. David" (aka Dr. Dragan David Dabić) as well as Petar Glumac, in which he received a Croatian passport under. He was helped by numerous people as a fugitive, including Bosko Radonjich, the Serbian leader of the New York-based Irish-American gang The Westies. In 2003, his mother encouraged him to surrender. In 2004, it was learned that one of the brothers of a Serbian war criminal was killed in a raid by the Republika Srpska police, perhaps to silence him as he was about to provide insight about Karadžić. In 2005, he was spotted near Foca, with the BBC later remarking "Western intelligence agencies knew roughly where they were, but that there was no political will in London or Washington to risk the lives of British, or U.S. agents, in a bid to seize" him and Mladić". Bosnian Serb politicians and his wife encouraged him to surrender and his son was arrested but later released. As a holistic doctor, he lectured in front of hundreds of people about alternative medicine and even had his own website, offering treatment for sexual disorders using what he called "Human Quantum Energy" and wrote in publications. In 2007, there were sightings of him in Vienna, Austria, with Austrian police actually interviewing him but not recognizing him as a part of an investigation for a nearby homicide. He used the Petar Glumac as an alias and claimed to be in Austria for training. He appeared calm and the Austrian police decided not to fingerprint him or ask further questions. He was also reported to have visited Venice, Italy where he would attend Serie A football matches. In January 2008, the passport of one of his close relatives, leading investigators close to his whereabouts. On 23 July 2008, Karadzic was captured in Belgrade after a tip-off lead to surveillance. He had shaggier hair, a long beard, and glasses at the time of his arrest.

Internet meme

In 1995 during the war, a Serbian propaganda song called "Karadžić , lead your Serbs!", was produced. It mentions Karadžić in its refrain, calling on him to lead his Serbs and show everyone that they are not afraid of anything. Karadžić appears in a commonly seen edited version of the video drinking water. The music video was uploaded to YouTube in 2008, and was frequently parodied with other media. In 2010, a copypasta was made relating to the music video which began with the words "REMOVE KEBAB remove kebab you are worst turk", and it also became known as "Remove Kebab" (referring to the Bosnian genocide). "Remove Kebab" gained further notoriety when Brenton Tarrant played it during his livestreamed mosque shooting. As a result, YouTube deleted many uploads of the video.