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Serbian Judge Orders Extradition of Former Fugitive Radovan Karadzic

By VOA News
22 July 2008

A Serbian judge has ordered war-crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, extradited to the United Nations war crimes tribunal to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Serbian officials, Rasim Ljajic and Serbia's war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic, Tuesday told a Belgrade news conference the judge ruled that all conditions for extradition had been met.

A lawyer for Karadzic, Svetozar Vujacic, says he will challenge the extradition order.

News agencies report security forces tracked down Karadzic following a tip from a foreign intelligence service. They arrested him Monday as he tried to leave Belgrade for another location.

Officials say Karadzic had been hiding in the city, practicing alternative medicine at a clinic under an assumed name.

Karadzic was on the run for more than 12 years. The Hague tribunal indicted him in 1995 for his role in the murders of thousands of non-Serb civilians during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Authorities released recent photos of Karadzic showing him with bushy white hair and a long white beard - a "shocking" appearance, according to one Serbian official.

Karadzic's attorney disputed the government account of the 63-year-old fugitive's arrest. The lawyer said Karadzic was arrested on a city bus on Friday, then held illegally until Monday. Serbian authorities have denied this version of events.

As news of Karadzic's arrest spread through Bosnia Monday evening, Muslims filled the streets of Sarajevo to celebrate. Police were quickly deployed to prevent trouble by Serb nationalists who still regard Karadzic as a hero.

Karadzic was one of four fugitive Balkan wartime leaders sought by the war crimes tribunal. Ex-Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic and former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic are still at large. Serbian police arrested ex-Bosnian Serb police commander Stojan Zupljanin last month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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