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BBC Where are Karadzic and Mladic?

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  • Snezana Lazovic
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1847000/1847691.stm Friday, 1 March, 2002, 06:50 GMT Where are Karadzic and Mladic? Nato s dramatic
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2002
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      http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1847000/1847691.stm

      Friday, 1 March, 2002, 06:50 GMT

      Where are Karadzic and Mladic?

      Nato's dramatic armoured swoop on a southern Bosnian village has pushed
      up a gear the hunt for The Hague's most wanted war crimes suspects,
      Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

      Despite what Nato described as very good new intelligence, the S-For
      troops returned with nothing but a selection of seized weapons, saying
      there was no sign of the Mr Karadzic, the fugitive former Bosnian Serb
      president.

      The decision to close in on the village of Celebici, close to the
      southern town of Foca in the autonomous Bosnian Serb republic, Republika
      Srpska, was, however, a sign that Nato wants an end to doubts that it
      has the political will to risk lives to seize the war crimes suspects.

      Karadzic's brother said he was "fine"

      But it sheds little light on where Mr Karadzic and General Mladic
      actually are.

      Speculation has long focused on the inhospitable region of steep
      mountains and extreme summer and winter temperatures around Foca as Mr
      Karadzic's key base.

      He is reported to have moved around the region frequently in recent
      years, sheltering in homes, farms and Serbian Orthodox monasteries,
      guarded by what is assumed to be a sizeable contingent of loyal
      bodyguards.

      "I don't believe he is in Foca all the time," British journalist Maggie
      O'Kane told the BBC after travelling to the region in search of Mr
      Karadzic last year.

      She said there had been reported sightings of him in the areas of Rudo,
      Visegrad, Cajnice and Foca - which between them cover much of the
      south-east of the country.

      Family visits

      Within hours of the Nato raid, Mr Karadzic's brother, Luka, had told a
      Belgrade radio station that he had "indirect information" that Mr
      Karadzic was fine, although he said he did not know his brother's
      whereabouts.

      Mladic is said to be in Serbia

      Mr Karadzic is also reported to have visited his mother, Jovanka, across
      the border in Montenegro. She has told Ms O'Kane in an interview that
      her son is "with his own people".

      And his wife issued a statement last year to quash rumours that her
      husband was preparing to give himself up and testify against former
      Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in exchange for a more lenient
      sentence.

      Both Mr Karadzic and his former military commander, General Mladic,
      lived relatively normal lives in the immediate years after the war.

      Mr Karadzic lived in the Bosnian Serb wartime stronghold of Pale, east
      of Sarajevo.

      General Mladic stayed for years in a suburb of Belgrade where he was
      frequently seen in public, even attending football matches.

      Elusive general

      But General Mladic became more vulnerable once Mr Milosevic fell from
      power.

      Most speculation then put him in the military bunkers of his wartime
      command centre at Han Pijesak, near Sarajevo.

      The UN's chief war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said in September
      2001, however, that she thought he was in Serbia.

      This theory gained credence in February 2002 when a high-ranking Serbian
      government minister speaking anonymously said General Mladic was in
      Serbia.

      The minister said that the authorities had tried to persuade him to
      surrender and had warned him he was no longer under the protection of
      the Yugoslav army.

      Correspondents say that after the Nato operation, the pressure will be
      on the Serb authorities to arrest the general and hand him over.
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