by: Amy Coleman, Staff Writer
Several months ago, Radovan Karadžić opened his pro se defense on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 with a statement that he should be “rewarded for all the good things I have done,” reported the New York Times.
The Serbian wartime leader is a controversial figure–loved by Serbs, but also believed to be responsible for the heinous Srebrenica massacre in which more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and thrown into mass graves.
Not only did Karadžić deny his involvement in the genoicide of the Bosnian war, but he blamed the Bosnian government. He suggested that Muslims faked two shellings in Sarajevo marketplaces during a Serb siege, and that mannequins, not bodies, were thrown onto trucks. This defense contradicts the findings of the prior trial of General Stanislay Galic. In Galic’s trial the Hague court held Bosnian Serb forces responsible for the shelling.
Karadžić was born in Yugoslavia (what is now Montenegro). He studied medicine in Sarajevo, was a practicing physician and psychiatrist, and was imprisoned for 11 months in 1985 for fraud.
Karadžić was the founding member and President of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and President of the National Security Council of the Serbian republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was a member of the Supreme Command of the armed forces of the Serbian Republic from November 1992 and was the sole President of Republika Srpska and Supreme Commander of the armed forces from 17 December 1992 until his resignation on 19 July 1996.
Karadžić stands accused of waging a ruthless campaign to take control of Bosnia and purge it of non-Serbs. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indicted him in July 25, 1995, and again in November 16th of the same year. The crimes listed were genocide, murder, and rape as part of the ethnic cleansing in which thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats were killed or displaced.
After the signing of the Dayton Accords, in which Yugoslavia was divided into the autonomous Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, Karadžić was forced out of the government because no one indicted for war crimes could participate in the elections scheduled for September 14, 1996.
In 1997, he went into hiding. He was found in 2008 in Belgrade, living as a new age health guru named Dr. Dragan David Dabić.
Karadžić was indicted for war crimes involving the genocide of Bosnian Muslims in and around Srebrenica in 1995. He also faces charges of inhumane treatment, torture, and humiliation and degradation, including physical and sexual violence against Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serbs.
His defense included that he was a “mild man, a tolerant man with great capacity to understand others,” according to the BBC. He suggested that he stopped the Bosnian Serb army many times when it had been close to victory, sought peace agreements, applied humanitarian measures and honored international law.