>WITH his arrest on Monday after more than 12 years on the run, Radovan Karadzic seems virtually certain to face trial in The Hague — and the prospect of life imprisonment — for his role in masterminding massacres that war crimes prosecutors have described, in indictments drawn up against him, as “scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of history”, John F Burns writes in The New York Times.
But in his own mind, at least until he vanished from view in 1996 and became one of the most hunted men in Europe’s history, Mr. Karadzic saw himself as a sophisticated intellectual, a psychiatrist and poet with an intuitive understanding of his people, the Bosnian Serbs, and of the challenge to their survival, as he saw it, that came with the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
It was in his intellectual guise that he liked to present himself to visitors at the height of his power, when he ruled as president of the self-styled Srpska Republic and supreme commander of its armed forces, in the mountain redoubt of Pale, above the besieged city of Sarajevo.
At the Panorama, the converted ski hotel he used as his headquarters, he liked to hold court, of an evening, and make a show of his grasp of culture, politics and history.
It was a Lilliputian scene, at once absurd and menacing. Only a few miles away, artillery guns under his command were shelling Sarajevo into rubble, filling its soccer fields with graves, with a toll of more than 10,000 killed before the siege ended. Further afield, murderous paramilitaries working in the Serbian nationalist cause were driving tens of thousands of Muslims and Croats from their homes, making refugees of 1.5 million people, in the process known as “ethnic cleansing.”
Still ahead, in those first two years of the war that lasted from 1992 to 1995, was the worst atrocity of all, the one that came to define the madness that seized Mr. Karadzic and his partner in the Bosnian slaughter, the army commander Gen. Ratko Mladic, who remains uncaptured even as the government in Belgrade prepares to hand Mr. Karadzic over to the tribunal in The Hague: the genocidal massacre in 1995 of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.
Videos Karadzic arrested
Bosnian joy at Karadzic arrest
Karadzic: first picture, in disguise
Karadzic hid in plain sight with false identity by Dusan Stojanovic of AP
Stunned and happy, Sarajevo awaits Karadzic trial by Daria Sito-Sucic of Reuters
Karadzic capture: Readers react by BBC News
An encounter with Karadzic in the snow by Giles Elgood of Reuters
Arresting developments for Serbia and the EU by Simon Tisdall of guardian.co.uk
Serbia is finally moving past the Milosevic era–but is it moving in the right direction? by Jacques Rupnik of The New Republic