Karadzic, one of the world's most wanted men, has been living in Belgrade in recent years, working at an alternative medicine clinic, Serb officials said. He wore a white beard and glasses that disguised his identity as the flamboyant Bosnian Serb architect of an "ethnic purity" policy that led to events like the Srebrencia massacre and tied the West in knots for much of the 1990s.
During that period Karadzic negotiated with some of the world's top diplomats, who pursued a failed policy of peace with the Serbs – even as Serb snipers under Karadzic's authority laid siege to cosmopolitan Sarajevo, shooting young and elderly with impunity. Some 150,000 people were killed in Bosnia.
Karadzic's surprise arrest after 13 years on the run, announced near midnight in Belgrade, brought shock and jubilation – lighting up phone lines around the Balkans. His extradition to the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal at The Hague is considered imminent after a Belgrade judge yesterday approved the tribunal's warrant for Karadzic's arrest.
Serbian officials, citing security concerns, were not forthcoming with details of the arrest.
The Montenegran-born psychologist who once published a poem in the 1980s about dreaming of Sarajevo in flames, had been traveling on a bus from Belgrade to a suburb when he was arrested, his lawyer said. Karadzic had been "walking around freely in the city" of Belgrade, according to Serbian authorities connected to Tadic's office. "Not even his landlord knew who he was."
"What happened is that the good guys won the elections in Serbia, and this is the result," says Dejan Anastasijevic, columnist for the weekly Vreme in Belgrade. "Serbia has turned a new leaf. He's going to The Hague."