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.
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