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NATO Raids Homes of Karadzic Children

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo (TU No 490, 23-Feb-07)
NATO troops in Bosnia this week searched the homes of Radovan Karadzic’s son and daughter, in an operation designed to put pressure on the family of the Hague tribunal’s top war crimes suspect who has been on the run since 1996.

Soldiers broke into the Pale homes of Sonja and Sasa Karadzic in the early hours of February 20. Pale is a small ski-resort some 15 kilometres east of Sarajevo.

“This is not an arrest operation,” said the spokesman for NATO troops in Bosnia, Derek Chappell, soon after the raid began. “We believe that both [Sonja and Sasa Karadzic] are associated with the network supporting Radovan Karadzic."

Chappell explained that one of the goals of this operation was to get more information on Karadzic’s whereabouts, adding that interviews conducted with his children during the raid were “very useful”.

Members of Bosnia’s State Information and Protection Agency, SIPA, which is tasked with arresting war crimes suspects, assisted NATO in the search operation, which lasted six hours.

NATO soldiers confiscated several boxes of documents and other material.

Karadzic, the wartime president of the Bosnian Serbs, was indicted in 1995, together with the then Bosnian Serb army commander-in-chief, General Ratko Mladic. They are both charged with genocide and other war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Karadzic is believed to be hiding in Republika Srpska and neighbouring Montenegro, while Mladic was reported to be living in Serbia.

Several NATO’s attempts in the past to arrest Karadzic have been fruitless.

The US government is offering a reward of up to 5 million US dollars for information leading to the capture of either man or any others still sought by the tribunal.

Merdijana Sadovic is the IWPR’s Hague programme manager.

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