Police and spies have practically taken over the house of Bosnia’s most wanted war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadzic, anxious to see whether he returns home for the funeral of his mother, a Sarajevo daily newspaper reported today.
Jovanka Karadzic, 83, died on Thursday after a short illness in a hospital in the northwestern town of Niksic in neighbouring Serbia-Montenegro and the paper said her funeral could be an opportunity to arrest the Bosnian Serb wartime leader.
The daily, Dnevni Avaz reported that scores of local police and intelligence officers as well as dozens of international intelligence agency officials had moved in on Radovan Karadzic’s house in his wartime headquarters in Pale, a village 10 miles east of Sarajevo, where his wife still lives. The house of his daughter Sonja was also under surveillance.
“Photos are being taken of everybody who even passes by these two houses,” the daily reported.
“It is very likely that Radovan Karadzic might give in to emotion and come to the funeral tomorrow despite the risk of being arrested,” Dnevni Avaz said, adding that border police had stepped up control on the border with Serbia-Montenegro. Another group of local and foreign intelligence officers had been seen in the eastern border town of Zvornik, it said.
Radovan Karadzic led Serbs in the Bosnian war and was indicted in 1995 by the Netherlands-based UN tribunal for atrocities, including genocide, during the 1992-95 armed conflict with Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats.
Karadzic is the tribunal’s most wanted fugitive and has been on the run since the war ended. He is thought to be hiding in eastern Bosnia. Karadzic has dodged several attempts by Nato and the European Union Peace Force, EUFOR to capture him despite a US-sponsored €3.8m reward for information leading to his arrest.
Radovan Karadzic and his older brother Luka were born in northern Montenegro, where their mother lived. Radovan Karadzic was reported by Montenegrin media to have visited his sick mother several times while in hiding.
Montenegrin daily newspaper, Dan today reminded readers of the message Karadzic’s mother sent him through media, after his indictment by the UN court: “Hold up and may your brave heart never let you down.”
“I’d prefer that Radovan take his own life than be taken to The Hague,” Jovanka was also quoted by the paper as saying in the past.
Jovanka Karadzic will be buried in Niksic on Saturday. Karadzic was reportedly seen disguised as a Serbian priest at another funeral in eastern Bosnia last year.