Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:22 pm (KSA) 09:22 am (GMT)

Serbia transfers Karadzic to Hague tribunal

Serbian ultra-nationalist protesters hold posters of Karadzic
Serbian ultra-nationalist protesters hold posters of Karadzic

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, caught a week ago after more than a decade on the run, arrived Wednesday at Rotterdam airport in the Netherlands bound for The Hague to be tried for some of Europe's bloodiest atrocities since World War II.

The 63-year-old Karadzic will be transported to the detention unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away in The Hague.

Karadzic faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his leading role in the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre, during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, that claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Karadzic has been indicted on playing a leading role in massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

Serbia's justice ministry confirmed it had authorized Karadzic's transfer to the ICTY "on the basis of Serbia's law on cooperation with the tribunal".

The private Serbian television network Fox broadcast what it said was "exclusive footage" of three black jeeps with dark-tinted windows leaving the court where Karadzic had been held for the past week since his capture.

Clever disguise

Karadzic vanished from public view in 1996, the year after the ICTY indicted him for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Karadzic, 63, was arrested in Belgrade on July 21, after more than a decade on the run disguised as a bearded, long-haired alternative medicine guru who specialized in "human quantum energy."

His clever disguise as Doctor Dragan Dabic stunned many. Serbian media said dozens of secret service agents had tracked Karadzic for months before his detention.

A close Karadzic ally, Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, is still on the run. Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, another key figure in the Balkan wars of the 1990s, died while being tried by the ICTY.

Karadzic's transfer came only hours after Serbian riot police clashed with youths in central Belgrade at the end of an ultra-nationalist rally by more than 15,000 people opposed to the arrest of Karadzic, who remains an iconic figure among Serbian hardliners.

At least 25 police and 19 civilians, including a Spanish and a Serbian journalist, were injured in the clashes, hospital officials said.

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