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Karadzic Faces Criminal Charges After Capture

July 23, 2008 at 6:50 PM EDT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, two reports on the arrest and forthcoming war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the first from Bill Neely of Independent Television News in Belgrade.

BILL NEELY, ITN’S ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Block 267, Yuri Gagarin Street, home to the man charged with mass murder and genocide. When Radovan Karadzic left his flat in this block a few days ago, he’d no idea he was being followed and that his freedom was all but finished. He was Dr. Davic, after all, known to his neighbors as “Grandpa.”

DUSAN MILESNOVIC: I still can’t believe that he lives in my neighborhood, that he was a wanted man.

BILL NEELY: Karadzic was a regular at this cafe, where he could look at his own picture on the wall next to that of Ratko Mladic, his former army commander.

In fact, he could see Mladic more often than that. ITV News has discovered that Mladic, now the most wanted man in Europe, lived 400 yards from Karadzic, two indicted war criminals, neighbors for years. Not surprisingly, people here won’t say what Mladic looks like now or where he is today.

Serbia is still amazed and amused at how Karadzic the war leader could transform himself into David the healer, who sold lucky charms. But it’s now clear Serbia’s secret police were lucky, too. They thought their intelligence contacts were leading them to arrest Mladic. Instead, they got Karadzic.

DEJAN ANASTASIJEVIC, investigative journalist: I believe it’s not entirely a coincidence, because I am sure that the same unreformed, hardcore elements of the intelligence services who were protecting Karadzic are also protecting Mladic.

BILL NEELY: Karadzic was arrested on board bus No. 73, where today they were only half-joking that Mladic might be sitting next to them.

Karadzic was picked up on this route without a struggle, without any incident. But intelligence officials are convinced that the other main war crimes suspect, Ratko Mladic, is also living a very ordinary life in this city, disguised perhaps, but living and traveling just as freely as Karadzic.

Karadzic’s brother saw him today in jail. He has two more days to appeal and then he’ll be extradited. Then, said his lawyer, he will conduct his own defense.

Details of trial remain to be seen

JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, ITN correspondent Nick Paton Walsh reports on the upcoming trial, where former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was in the dock seven years ago. The most serious charges will be those surrounding the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica.

NICK PATON WALSH, ITN'S CHANNEL 4 NEWS CORRESPONDENT: When, as is likely, Radovan Karadzic is transferred to The Hague to face charges of genocide, these are the images that will haunt prosecutors.

PROSECUTOR: How do you plead to that count, guilty or not guilty?

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC, former president, Yugoslavia (through translator): What we've just heard, this tragic text, is a supreme absurdity. I should be given credit for peace in Bosnia, not for war.

Two hundred million dollars, four years, and then death came before a verdict. He represented himself, and turned the court into a platform for lengthy tirades.

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Milosevic, how much longer do you think you're going to be?

NICK PATON WALSH: Will Karadzic manage to do the same?

OLGA KAVRAN, spokeswoman, International Criminal Tribunal Prosecutor: In terms of his self-representation, of course, it's his decision to make that submission to the judges. And the judges will decide whether to allow him to do so.

NICK PATON WALSH: At The Hague, prosecutors say the 11 counts against Karadzic make a simpler case than the 63 Milosevic faced. They have hundreds of witness statements, and the trial could start within months, if the judges permit. But, first, the accused has to cooperate.

SIMON JENNINGS, Institute of War and Peace Reporting: In the case of Karadzic, it would just be another stage set for an accused from Serbia to rattle on about Serbian nationalism.

NICK PATON WALSH: We already have an idea of Karadzic's defense. His lawyer told Channel 4 News the accused would represent himself and was proud of his actions as president, that they saved Serbia from greater slaughter. He said Mr. Karadzic admitted all three sides in the violence committed war crimes, just that he didn't order any of them.

That's not what the indictment says. One key point in the case is something called "Directive 7," in which Karadzic allegedly ordered, quote, "planned and well-thought-out combat operations meant to create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope for further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica." That led to 8,000 murders.

The question now is whether his accomplices, like Ratko Mladic, on his left here and still at large, will face trial with him or, as one report suggests, may have already made deals to seal their former commander-in-chief's fate.