One of the world’s most “wanted men” got caught on July 21st in Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia. The world has been looking for Radovan Karadzic for the last 13 years. Karadzic was the leader of Bosnian Serbs and is guilty of hurting many many people during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (that’s just one country, not two!).
What is surprising is that Karadzic was living a regular life out in the open in Belgrade. He was using a false name and had grown a long white beard. He was practicing alternative medicine (methods of treatment that don’t use the regular medicines your doctor gives you), had his own website, was writing in magazines, and was even giving talks! But nobody recognized him until last week!
You may have heard of a country called Yugoslavia. In 1991, Yugoslavia started splitting up into different countries. Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia were the first to break away. In 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina broke away. What remained of Yugoslavia became two countries in 2006 – Serbia and Montenegro. Just this year, a part of Serbia called Kosovo split and formed its own country! (Now let’s see if you were paying attention – how many countries did Yugoslavia finally break into?!)
But let’s go back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were three main groups there – the Bosnian Muslims (who wanted an independent country), the Bosnian Serbs (who wanted to stay with Yugoslavia and create a greater Serbian state), and the Bosnian Croats (who wanted to join Croatia). A war broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina which lasted for 3 years. Radovan Karadzic, who was the leader of the Bosnian Serbs during this time, is responsible for killing many people, and that is why he was being searched for.
Karadzic has been taken to The Hague, a city in The Netherlands, where the United Nations has an international court that punishes people who do bad things during wars. The United Nations is an international peace organization.
Image Credits: Hoshie for Yugoslavia breakup animation