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Timeline: Radovan Karadzic

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-10-26

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is accused of bearing direct responsibility for some of the worst crimes committed during the 1990s Bosnian War. He is on trial at The Hague on 11 counts, including crimes against humanity.

June 19, 1945: Born in Petnjica, Montenegro. His father, a member of the Chetniks, Serb nationalist guerillas, spends a large part of his son’s youth in prison for his opposition to the Communist regime of Marshal Tito.

1960: Karadzic settles in Sarajevo, where he pursues his psychiatry studies in medical school and also develops a passion for poetry. This interest leads him to meet Serbian nationalist writer Dobrica Cosia, who will later push him to enter politics.

1967: Publishes his first book of poetry.

1989: After a brief stint with the Green Party, Karadzic co-founds the Serbian Democratic Party, through which he will rise to power a few years later. The proclaimed goal of the party is to unite the Serbs of Bosnia and Croatia and defend their interests. 

October 1991: Karadzic announces the creation of an “Assembly of autonomous Serbian provinces” in Bosnia. 

February 28, 1992: Under Karadzic’s orders, the autonomous Serbian assembly created in October 1991 adopts the Constitution of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

May 1992: Karadzic becomes president of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic Bosnia and Herzegovina as Yugoslavia's implosion begins. He also takes the reins of the army of Bosnian Serbs. 

April 1992 – November 1995: His forces carry out a 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. 

July 1995: The Srebrenica massacre is perpetrated under General Radko Mladic, Karadzic’s military commander. The Bosnian Serb army kills more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys. 

1995: As the war in former Yugoslavia ends, Karadzic takes flight and successfully evades international justice for 13 years. 

July 21, 2008: Doctor Dragan Dabic is arrested in Belgrade. The bearded man is, in fact, Radovan Karadzic.

July 31, 2008: Karadzic appears for the first time before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, where he is informed of the 11 charges against him.

October 26, 2009: The trial begins. Karadzic fails to show up for the first hearing, saying that he did not have enough time to prepare his defence. He faces life in prison.


Date created : 2009-10-26


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