Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Karadzic, Radovan (1945 - ) from The Macmillan Encyclopedia

Born in Montenegro, he worked as a psychiatrist and became known as a poet before entering politics. In 1990 he was a cofounder of the nationalist Serbian Democratic Party and following the break-up of Yugoslavia he became leader (1992) of the self-declared Serbian Republic in Bosnia-Hercegovina. His policy of “ethnic cleansing” of non-Serbs during the Bosnian civil war led to his indictment for genocide and crimes against humanity by an international war crimes tribunal in 1995.

Summary Article: Karadžić, Radovan
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Montenegrin-born leader of the Bosnian Serbs' unofficial government 1992–96. He co-founded and became president of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina (SDS-BH) in 1990 and called for a single country that would unite all ethnic Serbs. In 1992 he launched the siege of Sarajevo, plunging the country into a prolonged and bloody civil war. He pursued a ruthless military campaign that involved ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims to create ‘pure’ Serb areas. In 1995 he was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. He evaded arrest until July 2008 when he was found living in disguise in Belgrade as a doctor of alternative medicine. He was extradited to the Netherlands and the start of his trial was delayed until 2010 because of his failure to cooperate and accept a lawyer.

In 1992 Karadžić became president of the Republika Srpska Bosnian Serb statelet which declared itself independent and allied with Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). In his campaign of ethnic cleansing 1992–95 he was supported by Slobodan Milošević, president of Serbia, and Gen Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military leader. In the autumn of 1995, in the wake of a sustained NATO bombardment of Bosnian Serb positions around Sarajevo, Karadžić agreed to enter peace negotiations and signed the US-sponsored Dayton peace accord, under the terms of which he was forced to step down, in 1996, as the Bosnian Serb prime minister. His position was further weakened when, in January 1998, the moderate Milorad Dodik became prime minister of the Bosnian Serb Republic.

After being charged with war crimes in 1995, and despite a $5 million reward offered for his capture, Karadžić defied NATO orders to arrest him on sight. He continued to maintain influential contacts within the semi-independent Republika Srpska, who paid for his personal protection and moved him from one safe house to another. Born in a village in the mountains of Montenegro, Karadžić moved to Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1960 to study medicine and trained as a psychiatrist. He has written poetry, folk songs, and children's books. In 1985 he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for embezzlement and fraud but never served his time. Reviled in the West for his acts of mass genocide, he remained a folk hero for many Bosnian Serbs.

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Karadžić, Radovan
Philip's Encyclopedia

1945- Bosnian Serb politician. In 1990, he founded the Serbian Democratic Party. In 1992, Bosnia-Herzegovina voted for independence from the...

Full text Article Bosnia-Herzegovina
The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Country in central Europe, bounded north and west by Croatia, and east by Serbia and Montenegro. Government Under the December 1995 Dayton Agreement,

Full text Article Karadžić, Radovan
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

(born June 19, 1945, Petnijca, Yugos.) Bosnian Serb politician. He trained as a psychiatrist and also wrote poetry and children’s books. In 1990 he

See more from Credo