Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Karadžić Arrest

During the night more details have emerged about the arrest of Radovan Karadžić. Apparently, he was arrested on Monday evening while he was travelling on one of the regular city buses in New Belgrade (Novi Beograd). It's not known how long he's been 'hiding' in Belgrade, but he had assumed a false identity under the name Dragan Dabić. He hasn't really been hiding at all, in the traditional sense, but has in fact been quite in the public view for sometime. Karadžić is now sporting a large white beard and is rather unrecognisable. To make a living for himself, he's been practicing alternative medicine at a practice in the capital, even giving several lectures in front of hundreds of people and even camera crews and regularly contributing to Healthy Life magazine. It's quite odd to think that perhaps I've walked past Radovan Karadžić in the city centre where it's said he often frequented to have coffee.

As expected, world leaders and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia officials have praised the arrest of one of the most wanted men in the world, whilst Serbian Radical Party officials have condemned the arrest, stating that 'it is a sad day for Serbia' and branding Serbian President Boris Tadić a 'traitor of the Serbian people'. The Radical Party have announced that they will be organising large protests over the coming days - a lovely invitation for Obraz thugs and other loutish nationalists to show up and cause some chaos.

Talking about chaos, we saw a small glimpse of what could be a regular occurrence over the next days in Belgrade today at Republic Square (Trg republike) in the very city centre. Several hundred people gathered, particularly young nationalist men, alongside a contingency of riot police. Squirmishes ensued with rudimentary exploding devices and fireworks being thrown all over the place. Here's a video of what took place at around 5pm today in Belgrade city centre:

Radovan Karadžić, a Bosnian Serb, is indicted by the Hague tribunal on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Bosnian War (1992-1996) including shelling during the siege of Sarajevo, during which some 12,000 died, and the notorious Srebrenica massacre in 1995, in which 8,000 Bosniak Muslim boys and men were killed. He is likely to be transferred later this week.

It will certainly be an interesting time in Serbia the next few weeks. Let's hope nothing gets out of hand too much.

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