Accused of war crimes and considered the politician most responsible for the deadly siege of Sarajevo, former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic eluded arrest for 13 years.
Karadzic essentially hid in plain sight, growing his hair and beard to appear as a bushy beatnik Santa Claus with a plaited topknot. For more than a decade, Karadzic managed to conceal his identity, openly practiced alternative medicine and occasionally disguised himself as a priest, shaving off his hair and donning a brown cassock. Some of his hideouts reportedly included Serbian Orthodox monasteries and refurbished mountain caves in remote eastern Bosnia.
Karadzic's secret life, which included a mistress, a bogus family he claimed he left behind in the U.S., and frequent visits to a Belgrade pub called The Madhouse, is the stuff of international intrigue. But it should not be lost that Karadzic is the suspected mastermind of the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica. Justice demands that Karadzic be held accountable for mass killings a U.N. war crimes tribunal described as "scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history."
Karadzic faces 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities committed between 1992 to 1996, according to an indictment last amended in May 2000.
A statement issued by the White House said the alleged offenses included "a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing directed at non-Serbs, organized attacks on places of worship, the operation of concentration camps, and the mass murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat civilians."
Karadzic would be the 44th Serb suspect extradited to the U.N. tribunal if he is transferred to The Hague. Other suspects included former President Slobodan Milosevic , Karadzic's mentor. Milosevic was ousted in 2000 and died in 2006 while on trial on war crimes charges.
Although these events faded from international attention years ago, the massacre at Srebrenica was Europe's worst slaughter since World War II. As its alleged mastermind, Karadzic must face the charges.