Tapes & Transcripts

THE WORLD'S MOST WANTED MAN

PBS AIR DATE: TUESDAY, MAY 26, 1998

Produced by Pippa Scott

Written and Directed by Kevin Sim

NARRATOR: For nearly three years, the most powerful nations on earth have enforced a fragile peace in one of the bloodiest places on earth, the killing fields of Bosnia. But in that time they have failed to capture one of the chief architects of that slaughter, Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb president, warlord of a war that shocked the world. Now he stands accused of genocide, as a war criminal responsible for the murder of thousands of civilians.

Tonight, as the net closes ever tighter around him, FRONTLINE asks: Who is Radovan Karadzic? Where did he come from? How did he become the most wanted man in the world?

ERIC OSTBERG, Prosecutor: [at tribunal] Genocide is the ultimate crime.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: There's not going to be peace or ceasefire until only one side is under pressure. Only Serbian side is under pressure.

ERIC OSTBERG: [at tribunal] The accused, Karadzic and Mladic, are charged with participation in crimes against humanity and genocide.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [subtitles] They must take full responsibility for everything that will happen in Bosnia- Herzegovina.

[in English] This is a climax of inter- religious and inter-ethnic war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and there are many atrocities on both of sides.

ERIC OSTBERG: [at tribunal] It would be justified to say that the higher up the chain of command we go, the higher the degree of responsibility for the atrocities, which were ultimately executed by the common soldier on the ground. Let it be known that what the prosecution really wants to do is to try the accused for the crimes alleged against them here in this courtroom in The Hague.

NARRATOR: War crimes, the horrors of genocide, happen to other people in places far away. But in a world that's growing smaller, they send a message to everyone. The worst atrocities in Europe since the Nazis took place in Bosnia, but the reckoning will take place here in The Hague, in Holland.

USHER: [tribunal] All rise.

NARRATOR: Five years after it was established by the U.N., questions still hang over the War Crimes Tribunal.

USHER: [tribunal] The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is now in session. Please be seated.

NARRATOR: When will they try the people at the top? When will they arrest Radovan Karadzic?

LOUISE ARBOUR, Chief Prosecutor, War Crimes Tribunal: I'm absolutely determined that we must concentrate our efforts in investigating cases that hold the promise of taking us as high up the chain of command as the evidence will reveal.

NARRATOR: In 1996, the tribunal opened a special hearing against Karadzic and his military commander, Ratko Mladic. They were accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, the massacres in Srebrenica. But the defendants weren't in court. They haven't been arrested yet. [www.pbs.org: The charges against Karadzic]

JACQUES KLEIN, Senior U.S. Member, Bosnian Peacekeeping Mission: Karadzic's days, I would say, are numbered because it is closing in. It is getting a smaller and smaller blanket and umbrella that he can hide under. In fact, his best option would be to go to The Hague. If you have a case to make for what you think is the case for your actions during that period, then make it. Have the best international defense available, but have your day in court. The warrant is not going to go away. We're not going to let this thing slide. And no matter where he goes on the face of the earth, that warrant will eventually be served.

MIKE KEEGAN, Prosecutor: [at tribunal] Would you please state your full name for the record?

ED VULLIAMY, "The Guardian," London: [at tribunal] Edward Sebastian Vulliamy.

MIKE KEEGAN: And Mr. Vulliamy, did you become a journalist?

ED VULLIAMY: I did, indeed.

MIKE KEEGAN: And what areas of interest do you generally cover?

ED VULLIAMY: I've been overwhelmingly involved by the war in the former Yugoslavia.

MIKE KEEGAN: Did you then travel to Bosnia- Herzegovina?

ED VULLIAMY: Yes, I did. I'd been to Bosnia, in fact, before the start of the war.

[to interviewer] I don't think that the Tribunal can begin to compensate for the hideous neutral compliance of the international community in that violence. I find it grotesque that the diplomatic community was shaking the hand of Dr. Radovan Karadzic underneath the chandeliers of London and Geneva and New York while it was going on and while everybody knew it was going on, because we were telling them it was going on.

And now it's over and there's nothing else to be done, they want him brought in chains here, to The Hague. But little is better than nothing, and it's for that that you- that I feel obliged to keep coming back to this place and telling the court what I saw, because- telling the court what I know to be true because, unbelievably, the simple truths were not being made clear, were not being received loud and clear in the outside world.

NARRATOR: Bosnia today, more than two years after the end of the war. On all sides, there are thousands unaccounted for, a million and a half refugees who have still not found their way home. In Sarajevo it is safe to cross a bridge again. It turns out it is difficult to kill a city completely. As in Dresden, Berlin, Warsaw, life returns- like a stranger.

Once these streets were a microcosm of Yugoslavia itself: Croats, Serbs and Muslims living side by side. Now most of the Serbs are gone. The snipers have gone, too, but everyone remembers which streets were targeted. Everybody knows where the shells exploded. And they know a huge foreign army led by NATO has come to impose the peace, and to capture the war criminals.

In Republica Srpska, the part of the country they call their own, the Bosnian Serbs have fallen out with each other. President Biljana Plavsic, a Karadzic loyalist throughout the war, now claims now that he and his cronies send men to kill her. From his stronghold in the town of Pale, she says, Karadzic has brought the country to its knees with graft and corruption.

Momcilo Krajisnik, Serb hard- liner and Karadzic man, is still fighting the old fight. "You are not just Serbs," he says, "You are Serbs and a half."

In Sarajevo, survivors of the thousand- day siege pick up the pieces and try to move on. Life starts again, but it is not life as it was before. Twelve thousand people were killed by the shells and sniping. Sixteen hundred were children. They had been attacked when they tried to buy bread, when they had lined up for water, when they were lying in their hospital beds, when they were burying their dead.

And among their attackers on the hilltops which surround the city were old neighbors and old friends. Radovan Karadzic had stood there. He was a doctor, a poet, a man- about- town whom almost everybody knew. The war is over now, but Karadzic is still there in the hills, hiding less than 10 miles away in the little mountain town of Pale. In Sarajevo, it is said nothing will heal until he has been arrested and put on trial. There are too many fresh wounds, too much unfinished business.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [radio broadcast] We are defending our suburbs of Sarajevo, and if you see where the fights are going on, you will notice that all the fights are going on in Serbian suburbs.

JOHN MAJOR, British Prime Minister: The first thing to do is to agree to a sanctions package, a tough sanctions package, and leave the Serbians in no doubt about the way the rest of the world views their current behavior.

Pres. BILL CLINTON: This is an important moment in Bosnia, but I think it's a time when we should try to make a move to make peace.

BOSNIAN MAN: The day before yesterday, they shot seven children playing, deliberately, by tank shell. And then, when people tried to help them, they picked them off by snipers.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [radio broadcast] We have opened all our roads for humanitarian convoys, and convoys are already passing and can pass any time.

LORD DAVID OWEN: So the Security Council will have to buttress the agreement.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, U.S. United Nations Ambassador: Mr. Vance and Lord Owen have explained their plan. They've talked about the various aspects of it.

Prime Minister JOHN MAJOR: I'm very pleased that the draft resolution also includes an oil embargo.

BBC REPORTER: One thousand, one hundred and twenty refugees arrived this morning, mostly women, children and the elderly.

RADIO BROADCAST: [subtitles] We cannot allow a Croat to become president, someone who has offended the whole Serb nation-

PROSECUTOR: [through interpreter] The accused, Radovan Karadzic, was born on the 19th of June, 1945, in the municipality of Savnik in the republic of Montenegro.

Man From Montenegro

NARRATOR: In Montenegro, in the South of Yugoslavia, lies the village of Petnjica. According to tradition, the Karadzic family arrived here in 1642, and they've lived her ever since. But they live here alone. No other family has ever settled here. The Karadzic family is well known in the region. They have a past. In Yugoslavia, "having a past" means knowing who did what to whom.

In every country in Europe, the Second World War is the crucible of memory. In 1941, Ante Pavelic, a Croatian, and "Fuhrer" of the ultra- nationalist Ustashe movement, used the patronage of his Nazi masters to start a vicious pogrom against the Serbs. Thousands were rounded up and murdered. The brutality was of such scale that even the Germans protested. Resistance to the Nazi regime stiffened.

Josip Brozo Tito organized communist Partisans with support from all the nationalities of Yugoslavia. For Tito, resistance against the Nazis was a stepping stone toward his vision of a united Sovietized Yugoslavia. His doomed internal rivals were the Chetniks: Serb nationalists. By 1945, the Chetniks had lost the struggle against Tito. Thousands were executed. Many more were thrown into jail, among them Vuk Karadzic, whose first son, Radovan, had just been born.

JOVANKA KARADZIC, Mother: [through interpreter] Three times I was told to give up my husband. The third time, I told them I was an illiterate woman. I could have ended up I jail. A man told me, "You haven't got a choice." I still told him, "No." I had no job. There's nothing they could take away from me except my life. So they told me okay, they would kill my husband. Then I would have to leave him.

I couldn't pay much attention to him as a mother, and teach him. He had his own inquisitive nature, and I had too much work. My husband was jailed for five years. Radovan was 6 months old at the time. It was a struggle. I had no wages, nothing. I'd been pushed out.

I was given a very bad time- you know, really put through it. That's true. But I never laid all this on Radovan, only what he could see and understand for himself. I never told my children. I didn't want to pass hatred on to them. I always tried to hide it.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [January, 1995] [subtitles] Montenegro is a region of widows. Men have a tendency to death and self- destruction. Men live dangerously and take chances. It is mainly alcohol, gambling or some other vice, or some other catastrophic exit. A woman doesn't have these exits. In this sense, she must be stronger.

My mother is like a woman from Spartan antiquity. She has had a lot of troubles, but talks of her misfortunes with a bitter smile.

NARRATOR: In the early 1960s, at the age of 15, Radovan Karadzic arrived in Sarajevo to continue his studies. Many of his old friends still live in the city.

MARKO VESOVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] We were dreamers, and we lived for literature. Literature was the most important thing on the planet, in the universe. Karadzic was at the medical faculty, and he was someone for whom you could say, "Well, he, too, dabbles in writing, so let him be with us."

NERMIN TULIC, Theater Producer: [through interpreter] If we turn the movie back say 20 years, even 10 or 7, it was unbelievable how everybody wanted to be in his company. I know that his other colleagues, friends and others, competed about who would sit with him, who would drink with him. People always asked him for advice.

VLADIMIR SREBROV, University Lecturer: [through interpreter] What was interesting about Radovan Karadzic is that he was into the style of "flower children," and he had long hair and dressed in groovy clothes, and so on. However, that was only his appearance on the outside. Inside, he remained what he always was, a peasant who came to the big city.

Look at his collections of poetry. In them you find a peasant's big hatred for an urban center. You can find a man who is a "city- killer," and a man who is ready to destroy anything belonging to the life of the city.

MARK HARMON, Prosecutor: [at tribunal] Dr. Karadzic treated Sarajevo and the lives of its citizens like his personal plaything. You may recall the film that we introduced into evidence, showing Dr. Karadzic standing with the Russian poet Limonov above the city, like a lord proudly surveying his domain.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: There is a poem of mine about Sarajevo. The title was "Sarajevo," and first line was "I can hear disaster walking. City is burning out like a tamyan in a church." In this smoke, there is our conscious of that. And a squad of armed topola- armed trees. Everything I saw armed, everything I saw in terms of a fight, in terms of war, in terms of- in army terms. That was 20, 23 years ago, that I have written this poem, and many other poems have something of prediction, which frightens me sometimes. [www.pbs.org: Read Karadzic's poems]

MARK HARMON: [at tribunal] His utter and complete disdain for the lives of the people of Sarajevo was shown when he, like a proud father showing his son a new toy, invited the poet, Limonov, to fire a high- powered sniper weapon into the besieged city, and Limonov did so.

Man With Many Faces

JACQUES KLEIN, Senior U.S. Member, Bosnian Peacekeeping Mission: It is not warfare, in any civilized - if one can say that about warfare - sense of the word, where there are Geneva conventions, and where soldiers practice the profession of being soldiers, where you have tactical and strategic goals. But the murder of civilians is not one of these.

And having grown up in Alsace during the war, and having had an uncle in a German concentration camp for anti- Fascist activities, I take a very dim view of war criminals and war criminality. And I really feel, until these people are brought to justice, you've sanctified what they've done, and that's why it's very necessary to bring these people to justice. Otherwise why are we in Yugoslavia? [www.pbs.org: Read Jacques Klein's interview]

NARRATOR: By the late '60s, Karadzic was married to Ljiljana, a fellow medical student from a well- connected Sarajevo family. His friends saw a young man in a hurry: the first to get married, the first to have children, the first to graduate, the first to become respectable.

MARKO VESOVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] It's true, I really was a good friend of Karadzic. I have to admit I was his friend until 1971, or maybe 1972. I'm not sure. I put an end to the friendship when I realized he was spying on us for the police.

NARRATOR: In the '60s, Yugoslavia's volatile mix of Croats, Serbs and Muslims lived side by side in Sarajevo, national rivalries forgotten or suppressed, an ideal Tito's regime ruthlessly reinforced with every means at its disposal.

MARSHAL TITO: [subtitles] Each of our republics will count for nothing if we do not stay united. In future, we must create our own history, the history of a socialist and united Yugoslavia.

NARRATOR: Karadzic's friends were poets and intellectuals. Their developing interest in Serb culture and history brought them to the attention of the police.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [subtitles] The Serbs were immediately labeled as nationalists because you couldn't be a Serb and a Bosnian at the same time. To be a Bosnian, one had to neglect one's own Serb identity.

NARRATOR: In the summer of 1968, Yugoslav students, swept up in the mood of the times, demonstrated against the government for greater freedom.

BRANA CRNCEVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] In 1968, during the student riots and meetings in Belgrade, the demonstrations in Sarajevo were led by Karadzic and his friends. Karadzic was a nationalist, a poet. So his fame as an opponent of the regime started here. He was identified as a man who thinks differently from the communist regime, and he was regarded as a good Serb.

NARRATOR: Karadzic was arrested and interrogated by the police. Some say he was recruited to inform on his friends. FRONTLINE recently uncovered an evaluation of his work as a spy in the archives of the Bosnian government.

READER: [Karadzic intelligence evaluation] "As a medical student, Radovan Karadzic displayed good quality. During his engagement, he demonstrated that his work is useful and was therefore recruited. He regularly submitted his reports under the pseudonym, '309.'

"As our collaborator, he is excellent, clever and of a highly conspiratorial nature. He is a young, well- read and talented man and, in addition, is emotional by nature, and inclined to think the way a poet does."

NARRATOR: In 1980, Marshall Tito, the creator and ruler of post- war Yugoslavia, died in office. With his passing, what had been certain in the Yugoslavian world would begin to crumble. The funeral was a tableau of the cold war, in which both sides had set aside a special place for Tito's non- aligned Yugoslavia. But that world, too, would not last forever. With Tito's passing, the cornerstone of a nation had been removed, and the world waited for the house to come falling down.

In Sarajevo's Kosovo hospital Radovan Karadzic, the doctor, began his working life as a psychiatrist.

Dr. ISMET CERIC, Clinic Director: Yes, I know him. He start to work with us as a young doctor, a very young doctor, and all of his professional activities were here on that clinic. And he visit many times my own house. He visit on the religion Muslim holidays, my mother and my family for many years before the war. Maybe I know him more than 15 years. I must to say that he, as a psychiatrist, was ordinary. Not bad. Not bad, but not excellent. He was ordinary. But he is not hard worker. He tried to find the easy way for everything.

MARKO VESOVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] A poet once said that we Montenegrans are a small population, even if you count our dead. I know a lot about Montenegran megalomania. They speak of their glory and humanity and values, but behind the mask there is nothing.

He was a typical, lazy Montenegran. I don't know if it's really true that Montenegrans are lazy, but it is a famous saying. There is no doubt that for me Karadzic represented a lazy Montenegran.

SIMEON KARADZIC, Cousin: [through interpreter] I do not think that Izetbegovic, Tudjman, Milosevic are war criminals. I really do not. This all happened to Radovan for one reason: He became a charismatic person. He became a man around which the whole Serb nation could gather. At one moment, it seemed that for the Serbian ethnic region, he was the best, the strongest for negotiations with Europe. So he had to be eliminated. Nothing else could be done. And all of a sudden, he was proclaimed to be a war criminal. It was just proclaimed without a trial, without anything.

I believe that the court in The Hague would be probably objective in any case that is brought there, where Serbs are concerned, except Radovan and Mladic. In their case, they cannot be objective. The court has been invented because of them. And I shall never suggest to him that give himself up and surrender because there is not a single fact which proves anything. Even the Serbs that surrendered and the ones that were caught had problems.

LOUISE ARBOUR, Chief Prosecutor, War Crimes Tribunal: We're not historians, we're criminal lawyers. But what we do, if we are successful, we will assist a people in letting go of what it believes to be its war heroes, by exposing them as criminals.

This is critically important, I think, for the long- term establishment of peace, both on the sides of the victims of war crimes committed during the conflict, who could feel that there's no need to pass on even to the next generation their need for revenge - that their victimization has been recognized, it's finished, the chapter is finished - and also for those who were associated, particularly when we talk about the crimes, crimes committed by leaders which tend to taint their supporters, the people who elected them or voted for them, supported them politically.

It's important, and that's what part of the process is, to permit these people to recognize that they made a very serious error in judgment in electing these people. They have to let go of them as national heroic figures.

Man in Trouble

ED VULLIAMY, "The Guardian," London: There was something going on in Bosnia between good and evil, between right and wrong. The world outside that abyss had a problem with moral clarity. It was uncomfortable with moral clarity, needed to find an equivalence between a rapist and his victim, between the inmate and the camp guard, between the family locked in the cellar of the house that gets incinerated and the soldier who lights the fuse. Somehow, they were all as bad as each other. And they weren't.

NARRATOR: In 1983, Radovan Karadzic moved to Belgrade, where, he hoped, his talents as a psychiatrist would be better recognized. He had complained about a hostile political climate in Sarajevo. He felt under pressure from the police. Among his friends in Belgrade was the writer Dobrica Cosic, a key figure in the conspiratorial world of Serb nationalism. Its ideology - an amalgam of religion and history, grievance and ambition - was gaining ground despite the continuing surveillance of the secret police.

In 1984, soon after his return to Sarajevo, Karadzic was arrested. Police were investigating a case of embezzlement and theft. Half a million deutschmarks were missing from the accounts of a state- run company. Large sums of money had been found in Karadzic's account.

He would spend nearly a year in Sarajevo central jail before the trial began. There was a guilty verdict, and a four- year sentence. There were appeals. Then, in 1990, all charges were dropped. Prosecutors say the evidence of corruption against him was overwhelming and that the acquittal was politically motivated. Karadzic tells another story.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [subtitles]It was unbelievable, but it's true. They told me about it. In 1984, I had legal troubles. When I got out, they told me why this had happened to me, because they thought I had come back for nationalist reasons. They thought I'd come back to Bosnia with instructions from Dobrica Cosic to start an uprising in Bosnia- Herzegovina.

NARRATOR: But what Karadzic's old friends in Sarajevo saw was a man who had fallen in love with money and with himself.

Dr. ISMET CERIC, Clinic Director: He said, "I am excellent poet." "I am excellent psychotherapist." "I am excellent businessman in communist system." We believe in the time that it's such kind of special sense of humor, but now we are absolutely know clear that he believe that he is a great poet, that he is a great psychotherapist, a great doctor and everything.

MARKO VESOVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] Where did it come from, this compulsion to praise himself? He's a great poet, a great psychiatrist, a great Casanova, a great father. His children are first class. His wife is a Creole beauty. The fact that it has nothing to do with reality just isn't important to him.

Dr. ISMET CERIC: My sons liked him a lot because he was the doctor in some football club. And my younger sons like a lot of football, and they try to travel to some other place where the football tour team went. And one of my sons very often went with Radovan and with the other players, and for those young boys, it's an excellent experience.

MARKO VESOVIC: [through interpreter] It's all related to self- glorification, all related to his own glory. If the football team of Sarajevo scores a goal or gets a result, the victory belongs to him. He was so self- confident that he boasted that if he were the team psychologist, he could make the best of every player. He said he could make the Red Star the best team in the world.

The point is that Karadzic really believed that. We all thought he was crazy, but he thought it was all real. I know what was behind it. He had to convince himself that he was a somebody because the facts were not so encouraging. He erected a wall between himself and the truth, and he never dared to look at what is behind that wall. With the wall, he didn't have to look at his own face and the truth about himself. He will die behind that wall believing he is a great man.

That is Karadzic. If physical reality doesn't correspond to what he says, then it is reality that is in trouble.

The Good Serb

NARRATOR: In the late eighties, the communist world tottered and Yugoslavia began to fall apart. From Slovenia in the North to Kosovo in the South, nationalist rivalries, suppressed for half a century, swept aside the fragile veneer of a united nation. In Croatia and Serbia, Tito's rallying cry of "Unity and Brotherhood"' was being treated with open contempt. Nationalist politicians on all sides reached into history and found inexhaustible reservoirs of resentment.

In Serbia, a well- publicized program began to reclaim the bones of the victims of the Croatian Ustashe massacres in the Second World War. From mass graves, the remains were brought into the light, relics around which the symbolic clothing of nationalist ideology was spun, a simple lesson everyone could understand: "This is what happened to Serbs who did not defend themselves."

JUDGE RIAD: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Professor, what you said about the rekindling of the memory- I had the feeling at the outset, when you spoke, that it was something that was almost automatic, that these communities were living together under the Tito regime, and once that regime fell apart, the differences somehow came to the surface.

But after Tito, there were six or seven years during which there was really no conflict, and then suddenly it took off again. So this rekindling of the memories was something artificial, perhaps. It was something that was provoked. I just would like you to clear that up for me.

PROFESSOR GARDE: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] The possibility of rekindling memories was willingly and systematically exploited by the people in power, and guided in the direction that suited them.

NARRATOR: Pandora's Box was opened, and this is the man who opened it-

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC: [to crowd] [subtitles] Long live Serbia!

NARRATOR: - Slobodan Milosevic, president of Serbia, a former communist boss who rode nationalism to power in Belgrade. [www.pbs.org: More about Milosevic]

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC: [to crowd] [subtitles] Long live peace and brotherhood!

NARRATOR: For Karadzic and his friends in Bosnia, with their rarefied, intellectual sense of Serb identity, the message from Milosevic in Belgrade was heard loud and clear. They began to organize.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [subtitles] We knew that Yugoslavia was finished, and we knew the situation was becoming completely anti- Serb. We knew that Serbs would suffer in the coming events. The same circle of people created the cultural association of Bosnian Serbs, and they created the Serbian Democratic Party. They organized the elections, the presidency, throughout the whole drama.

NARRATOR: In Croatia, Serbs had already formed their own party, led by Jovan Raskovic.

JOVAN RASKOVIC: [at rally] [subtitles] When the Serb is in trouble, when he is challenged, he knows how to protect himself.

NARRATOR: Raskovic's party became the model for Bosnia. One candidate for leadership of the Bosnian Serb party was Vladimir Srebrov. But Srebrov's moderate idea of the party as a cultural association was overtaken by sterner messages from Belgrade.

VLADIMIR SREBROV, University Lecturer: [through interpreter] I was thrown out of the Serbian Democratic Party because I didn't accept its program. The party was actually designed to become the "iron fist" meant to break Bosnia and Herzegovina apart. Many people interpreted that as a power struggle between me and Radovan Karadzic, as if he were a man supporting democracy, a man who could bring prosperity to Bosnia. Can you imagine saying such nonsense about a man like Karadzic?

BRANA CRNCEVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] The party was established in Croatia, but the mood was imported into Bosnia from the Serbs who lived in Croatia. It took root in Bosnia, and when the leaders in Sarajevo consulted the oracles about who should be president, they put their bets on Radovan to be president because he looked to be the strongest.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [at rally] [subtitles] We have weapons. We have weapons.

BRANA CRNCEVIC: [through interpreter] Everyone knew Radovan. He was a friend of Cosic, the writer who later became the president of Yugoslavia.

NARRATOR: To some he was the poet and the psychiatrist; to others, a gambler and a crook. For himself, Karadzic told his people he was a Serb living in Bosnia who had felt pressured all his life. As he took the reins of the party, its ideologues were drawing up plans to sweep the Muslim population out of Bosnia.

JOVANKA KARADZIC, Mother: [through interpreter] I told him that he did not need it. I called him in the evening, as soon as I heard he was elected president of the party, and I asked him why he needed that. He said, "Why, Mother?" I said, "You know no one who enters politics as an honest man leaves it as one. They are not honorable. Do you think you'll be allowed to be honest?" He was silent for a while when he heard that.

NARRATOR: Karadzic's political life began to surge as Yugoslavia began to fall apart. There were visits to Belgrade, blessings from Milosevic, instructions from Milosevic. In Sarajevo, everyone was a nationalist now- Muslims, Croats, Karadzic's Serbs. Slovenia declared independence; Belgrade sent in the troops. Croatia seceded; Belgrade sent in more troops.

Then the Muslims in Bosnia declared their independence. The party would soon be over.

MARKO VESOVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] He knew how to speak marvelously. He knew exactly what to say, a different story for everyone, with perfect knowledge of what people want to hear. He knows what women want to hear and men want to hear.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [1990 broadcast] [subtitles] The Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia- Herzegovina is a democratic party of the Serbian people in Bosnia- Herzegovina. It will put its efforts into establishing Serbian political subjectivity. It is a party of full national, religious and cultural freedom, the party of a rich society, the party of tolerance.

NERMIN TULIC, Theater Producer: [through interpreter] I didn't meet the man from the time he began to take up politics, and when he took his place as leader of that party of his. But I remember once, late at night, I was watching the broadcast of parliament on television.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [to parliament] [subtitles] Please understand this seriously. This is not good, what you Muslims are doing. You want to take Bosnia- Herzegovina down the freeway to hell that Slovenia and Croatia are traveling. Do not think you will not lead Bosnia into hell. And do not think that you can avoid making the Muslim people disappear, because the Muslim people cannot defend themselves if there is a war.

NERMIN TULIC: [through interpreter] At that moment, in this one sentence, all the evil burst out of him.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [subtitles] The lies ruined us. So many situations which were false and full of lies. So when the war broke out, and during the war, everything became clear. There was some kind of enthusiasm and optimism, a sense of renewal, almost like the happiness of finding something that was lost.

War

ERIC OSTBERG, PROSECUTOR: [at tribunal] Yet another criminal method used to inflict conditions of life, calculated to bring about the destruction of those groups, was the shelling of civilian gatherings, and their population stood under extensive destruction-

JAN VAN HECKE: [at tribunal] My name is Jan Van Hecke, and I am an investigator with the office of the prosecutor.

Well, I've been part of a team investigating allegations of war crimes against the civilian population of Sarajevo, focusing principally on allegations of sniping and shelling attacks on civilians.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: When Yugoslavians left Bosnia, we took it because this is made by our own taxes. This is by our money, that's why we take it.

BOSNIAN WOMAN: [subtitles] Oh, it was all in flames. Those black buildings were all afire, smoke pouring out of them. There was so much smoke, smoke coming from everywhere. In the evening, they would let the shells fly- not the shells, those flares that light up the town. You could see the whole town burning.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: We don't shoot. We try just to keep peace and not to- control the surroundings of Sarajevo.

INTERVIEWER: You could take the city tomorrow, couldn't you.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: Any time.

NERMIN TULIC, Theater Producer: [through interpreter] The hills around Sarajevo are very beautiful. People came from the whole world to enjoy the beauty of the wild woods. It's better not to talk about it now, about that beauty which was so quickly transformed into evil.

JAN VAN HECKE: [at tribunal] The first shelling we investigated was the shelling that happened on 27th of May, '92. A mortar shell hit a crowded street, where a lot of people were in a bread line. It was in Vase Miskina Street, one of the pedestrian streets in the center of Sarajevo.

BOSNIAN GIRL: I saw about 20 people, lying in the street, you know? Everyone was covered by blood. I saw the girl without legs. She was screaming, you know?

ERIC OSTBERG, PROSECUTOR: [at tribunal] Could you now maybe tell us something about the weapons used for the shelling?

JAN VAN HECKE: [at tribunal] Basically, there were just three types of weapons: guns, howitzers and mortars. Howitzers fire large shells on a high trajectory and are used for air bombardment and suppression by way of indirect fire. The mortar operates in a similar way as the howitzer, firing a shell also on a high trajectory.

In the case of a 120- millimeter mortar shell, it can fly up to 6.5 kilometers high. The shell explodes with a wide area of fragmentation. The whole shell casing disintegrates into hundreds of pieces of hot jagged metal, with considerable killing and wounding potential. Mortars are principally, in normal warfare, intended to pin down troop movements, but within the confines of city streets and buildings, these weapons can have a devastating effect and can inflict heavy casualties.

BOSNIAN GIRL: I saw my professor on the street. He was asking for help. They wanted to buy a bread, you know? And the bomb killed them all.

NERMIN TULIC, Theater Producer: [through interpreter] This is the place which marked my life. On the 10th of June, 1992, at about 2:00 in the afternoon, I was returning from my theater. I was going home. And the shell fell. I even know what kind, as soldiers call it. It was a 120- millimeter mortar. I can speak freely, and perhaps- I don't think I have any difficulty about talking about it. It doesn't disturb me any more at all. I wasn't the only person who experienced it, not in this town, nor in this country.

NARRATOR: Even Kosovo hospital was shelled - repeatedly - during the war. The maternity wards were hit. And Dr. Karadzic's old psychiatric clinic was destroyed.

ED VULLIAMY, "The Guardian": It would be ridiculous for the commanders of this operation, Karadzic and the others, to suggest that they didn't know about any of this, or weren't in control. From what I saw with my own eyes, this was coherent, cogent, terrifying. It was a hurricane of violence and it moved with vicious and unrelenting speed across 70 percent of the country. How can you not know about that?

MARK HARMON, Prosecutor: [at tribunal] Mr. Erdemovic, could you please state your name and spell your last name for the record?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Yes. My name is Drazen Erdemovic, E- R- D- E- M- O- V- I- C.

1st SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] F--- their mothers!

2nd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] These cameramen are just making their wages out of us.

1st SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] They're getting rich on the bones that are in the woods

3rd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] They're not helping us at all. They're just filming us.

2nd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] Why didn't anyone come to film us when Srebrenica fell, when they slaughtered our children, set fire and did all kinds of things? No one filmed us then.

3rd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] Well, everyone knows that.

2nd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] The world itself should know. Shame on it!

MARK HARMON: [at tribunal] Mr. Erdemovic, on the 10th of July, did your unit receive orders to participate in the Bosnian Serb operation against the enclave of Srebrenica?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Yes.

MARK HARMON: Now, later that same morning did you have a chance to see General Mladic in Srebrenica?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [through interpreter] Yes.

2nd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] We think everyone is guilty. It was worse for us. The Dutch people came to us at the Potocari camp. They know where our children have gone. They were saying, "Don't be afraid." They were men, like you.

1st SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] My brother was carrying a small child. They took away the child and threw him down. They took my brother away with them. He was boy in his 17th year. Was he grown up? Was that a soldier? Where is he now? They betrayed them all.

MARK HARMON: [at tribunal] Had you received any orders with regard to what you were supposed to do with civilians that you encountered in the city of Srebrenica?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Yes. We were told not to touch them. Milorad Pelemis, he told us.

MARK HARMON: Were those orders followed in respect to this young man who was about 30 years old?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [through interpreter] No. Milorad Pelemis ordered another man to kill that man.

MARK HARMON: Did Zoran obey Lieutenant Pelemis's order?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [through interpreter] Yes. Yes. He slit his throat.

2nd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] It is impossible that they are all dead. My child was taken from my arms. I want to ask that Chetnik who took him where he left him. He knows. About those who went through the woods nothing is known. Those who stayed at Potocari know. But where is he? Those who killed him know.

SERBIAN: [shouting to men in the woods] [subtitles] Surrender yourselves! Come to the Serbs! It's safe here!

MARK HARMON: [at tribunal] Mr. Erdemovic, I'd now like to turn your attention to the 16th of July, and ask whether on that day you and other soldiers in your unit received orders to participate in a special detail.

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Yes.

INTERVIEWER: [subtitles] Are you afraid?

MAN IN WOODS: Yes. How can I not be afraid?

MARK HARMON: [at tribunal] Mr. Erdemovic, I am going to ask you if you recognize what is depicted in each of those photographs.

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Yes. It is the farm overtaken by this colonel in the locality called Pulitza.

2nd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] I just want to know where my children are. That's what we all want. They force us to declare them dead, when they aren't dead. They aren't all dead. They can't all be dead. They can't be.

MARK HARMON: [at tribunal] And did he say what you and the members of your unit were supposed to do regarding those Muslims from Srebrenica?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Yes.

MARK HARMON: What did he say?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [through interpreter] Yes, that we had to execute those people, to shoot them.

4th SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] We women from Srebrenica would carry out the sentence! We wouldn't need The Hague! We'd tear him apart alive! Mladic and Karadzic, we'd sentence them and carry it out! That would be my life's wish!

MARK HARMON: [at tribunal] Can you estimate, Mr. Erdemovic, how many civilians were killed by your unit and members of the Bratunac unit on the 16th of July?

DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC: [at tribunal] [through interpreter] Somewhere about 1,000, 1,200. I don't know. I estimated the number according to the buses.

5th SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] It's a pity I don't have a weapon. I would kill them and then kill myself and say goodbye. When they make fun of me, nothing would stop me. All at once, I wouldn't be at all sorry.

INTERVIEWER: [subtitles] Who makes fun of you?

5th SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] The people from Sarajevo make fun of us. They jeer at us. Their hearts aren't aching.

2nd SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] They know the crimes they did. They all know.

6th SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] Why don't they arrest them? It means they don't want to.

5th SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] We don't need The Hague. The Hague is no good.

6th SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] They just sit on chairs. And f--- him. Coffee in front of them, juice, everything in front of them. If we had power, we would fight better for our rights. But you didn't want to help us.

5th SREBRENICAN WOMAN: [subtitles] We don't have any power.

REPORTER: [radio broadcast] Five satellite photographs today provided compelling evidence of systematic executions by Bosnian Serbs. On July 13th, an American spy satellite passed-

RADOVAN KARADZIC: [radio broadcast] Muslim civilians are free to stay or to leave. The terrorist elements may cause further troubles, but people, civilians, as well as U.N. personnel, are completely safe and secure. Simply, our army is very, very responsible.

Peace

NARRATOR: Peace came in 1995. Karadzic wasn't at the signing of the Dayton Accord. Accused war criminals weren't invited. He wasn't in Sarajevo, either. The treaty had given Sarajevo to his enemies.

Instead of all Serbs united in a greater Serbia, Bosnia was occupied by a huge foreign army sent to put the country back together again, to bring the refugees home and to bring war criminals to trial. The West had declared there could be no peace without justice, that people could not live together while those responsible for the atrocities were still free. But as month followed month, the peacekeepers seemed to be biding their time.

INTERVIEWER: [1996] If IFOR will send - one day, we don't know - some troops to arrest you?

RADOVAN KARADZIC: How many troops?

INTERVIEWER: How many do you think they have?

RADOVAN KARADZIC: They will need many more troops than they have right now.

NARRATOR: NATO soldiers were told to arrest war criminals only if they came across them in the normal course of their peace- keeping duties.

LOUISE ARBOUR, Chief Prosecutor, War Crimes Tribunal: Without being unduly cynical, there's no question that when you have posters all over Bosnia with indicted war criminals knowing that they're wanted, and at the same time you have SFOR troops who may have various degrees of enthusiasm about encountering anybody, the chances of an encounter are pretty minuscule.

NARRATOR: The suspicion that NATO wasn't serious about arrests grew with reports that Karadzic was passing through checkpoints unhindered.

KENNETH BACON, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense: [press conference] We are looking into this, and we're trying to find out exactly what happened, but no, we do not have any evidence that he did.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: The photo is very poor. I can give them a much better photo.

NARRATOR: While Karadzic laughed, prosecutors at The Hague grew frustrated. But America wanted no casualties, and the Pentagon held to its position.

KENNETH BACON: From the very beginning we said our troops are not going there to be policemen, they're not going there to search out war criminals. And they're not.

LOUISE ARBOUR: If you're going to send troops to operate in a theater that is very volatile, and you make it known right from the beginning that you can't take a casualty, I think you become a prisoner of a policy that makes you profoundly ineffective.

RADOVAN KARADZIC: They are not capable of doing that without terrible losses on both sides.

NARRATOR: Nineteen ninety- six: Karadzic was still free, living at home in Pale. According to the peace agreement, he was barred from public office, but in Republica Srpska, the part of Bosnia controlled by Serbs, he wasted few opportunities to prove that his show would go on just as long as he wanted.

JACQUES KLEIN, Senior U.S. Member, Bosnian Peacekeeping Mission: Right now, there's a perception that you can hide in Pale. And there are other war criminals out there who are all kind of saying, "Well, as long as they don't get him, they're not going to come after me." But no matter what we do, the notion that there are war criminals that the international community has not arrested sends a cold chill through the body politic.

NARRATOR: With elections coming in the fall of 1996, the international community finally required Serbian president Milosevic to force Karadzic to bow to the inevitable. He agreed to step down from public life.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, U.S. Special Envoy: [press conference] Dr. Karadzic states, and I quote, that he shall "withdraw immediately and permanently from all political activities." He will not appear in public or on radio or television or the other media or means of communication, or participate in any way in the elections. And I want to stress he knew what he was signing. He knew he was signing the end of his political career.

NARRATOR: He had no intention, of course, of a final farewell. Karadzic still controlled the police, the media and vast revenues from monopolies on oil and cigarettes.

Biljana Plavsic became the new president of Republica Srpska. During the war, she had been a hard- line nationalist. Now she was an obvious puppet: as someone said, "Karadzic in a skirt."

BRANA CRNCEVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] She was elected by Radovan's wish and I must say that we, as Radovan's friends, were for her. When he consulted us, we agreed that she should be president of Republica Srpska. We were all for it.

She didn't disappoint him. Emotionally speaking, she killed him because Radovan believed that anyone else would be weaker. He believed in Biljana's strength. No one resists time. Time damages everything. Time damaged Biljana also. She is not the start of Radovan's catastrophe, she is simply the introduction to the Serb catastrophe.

NARRATOR: May, 1997.

JUDGE GABRIELLE KIRK McDONALD: The trial chamber finds the accused, Dusko Tadic, as follows. Count 1, guilty. Count 10, guilty. Count 11, guilty. Count 13-

NARRATOR: Dusko Tadic, a Serb, was found guilty of a series of horrifying atrocities against Muslims, but he was little more than a common thug, and his conviction underscored the absence at the Hague of those higher up the chain of command: Mladic, Karadzic. [www.pbs.org: More on the war criminals]

The chief prosecutor ordered a change of tactics. The first secret indictments were issued. War criminals would no longer know they were on the wanted list.

LOUISE ARBOUR, Chief Prosecutor, War Crimes Tribunal: You need an element of surprise if you want to apprehend someone whom you have every reason to believe will resist.

NARRATOR: On July 10th 1997, British troops operating with American support served the first secret indictments. Simo Drljaca, former police chief of Prijedor, a scene of horrific ethnic cleansing, was shot dead resisting arrest. The Serbs gave him a state funeral. But not everybody could be there.

Another suspect, Milan Kovacevic, was arrested in the same raid and flown to The Hague. Suddenly the net around the war criminals had tightened.

LOUISE ARBOUR: There are many who say it's unfair. Well, it's not unfair. First of all, it's perfectly legal. And secondly, it's smart.

NARRATOR: "Only Unity Can Save the Serbs" had been the war cry. Now Serb unity was shattering. In Banja Luka, seat of the Bosnian Serb presidency, the long- time rumors of graft and corruption finally caught up with Karadzic. Biljana Plavsic, tired of her role as puppet, accused the men in Pale of siphoning off government revenues into their own bank accounts.

BILJANA PLAVSIC: [speech] [subtitles] Resist! Resist! Resist! And we send the same message back to Pale.

NARRATOR: In Republica Srpska, where the average wage had fallen to $40 a month, it was a message that hit home. There was an immediate reaction from Pale. Karadzic's radio stations accused Plavsic of betrayal. Busloads of his supporters bore down on Banja Luka for a showdown.

JACQUES KLEIN, Senior U.S. Member, Bosnian Peacekeeping Mission: Their goal was to come to Banja Luka and trash the town, embarrass the local leadership there and intimidate the population. And they miscalculated.

NARRATOR: A decision was made to protect Plavsic. British troops threw a security cordon around the city, while in the town's main hotel, angry crowds surrounded the Karadzic supporters. Jacques Klein arrived to read them the riot act.

JACQUES KLEIN: [at hotel] Mr. Krajisnik and those who have immunity, by definition, are free to leave with their bodyguards. The bodyguards, however, will leave their weapons behind.

[press conference] Someone is issuing documents to people which are fraudulent, which are illegal. And why anyone would want to come to a political rally carrying a hand grenade is far beyond my comprehension.

[to interviewer] It was horribly embarrassing for them to be disarmed and led out by British troops. Now, that showed me something. It showed me that a group of thugs, when faced with professional soldiers, will not chance or risk an incident.

NARRATOR: As the Karadzic forces filed out, his power began to ebb away. Peacekeeping forces saw their chance to attack his power base, and continued to back Plavsic. In the following weeks, they cracked down on the Karadzic police force, his radio stations and his smuggling rackets. Within months, he became an outlaw in hiding.

JOVANKA KARADZIC, Mother: [through interpreter] It is really hard, very hard. It's very hard when people start saying he is here and there. They said he was in the mountains. They wrote in the papers that he was in Russia, after that, that he was somewhere else. All those things are being said. There is no stability in our country.

INTERVIEWER: [through interpreter] The last time that you saw him, did he give you the impression that he was afraid, or frightened?

JOVANKA KARADZIC: [through interpreter] No, he was not. It is his nature. I could never see that he was afraid. Just the opposite. He talked for so long, and cheered me up me and so on. He saw it was very hard for me, very hard. My heart was aching.

INTERVIEWER: [through interpreter] Did you cry in front of him?

JOVANKA KARADZIC: [through interpreter] No, no, no. Oh, not in front of him. But as soon as I sat in the car, I cried all the way home. Crying can help your soul. It's very difficult to keep everything inside.

BRANA CRNCEVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] I know his destiny. In 100 or 200 years, he will be proclaimed a saint among Serbian people. The Serbs will mention him in prayers as one of their heroes who died innocent. The world cannot change anything here.

NERMIN TULIC, Theater Producer: [through interpreter] There is no question of forgiving someone for something like that. I think if I had to do it, that if someone in some way ordered me to do it, I would prefer to kill myself than to forgive. In Sarajevo, 1,600 children were killed, not to mention the others. If the evil and the spirit of Karadzic are not eradicated, this will repeat itself.

MARKO VESOVIC, Writer: [through interpreter] I will not stop writing about Karadzic because he was the one who destroyed my world. I cannot forget the cries of my child and the fears of my child of the shells, or running away from the shells. I'll never forgive him for that, and much less for the fact that he literally took this world of mine like a piece of paper, crumpled it and threw it away in the trash.

NERMIN TULIC: [through interpreter] I believe in an idea of Bosnia which has lasted for a thousand years. I believe in the children. I think if we can bring our children up well and properly, that Bosnia will be as it was before this horror. Wounds must be given time to heal.

I have three daughters. Two were born after that day in June when the bomb went off. These days, I like to say that these little girls of mine are both my left and right leg. Snow cannot last forever. There must come a time when the snowdrops or the violets return. In the same way, there cannot always be darkness. The sun must reappear.

ED VULLIAMY, "The Guardian": Here we have the beginning of some sort of reckoning. We have people who are doing their job. They are investigating crimes. They are drawing up indictments. They are collecting evidence. They are making sure that these crimes will be certainly recorded forever, so that there will be a little corner of history that will have judged this war as it should have been judged.

ANNOUNCER: Go to FRONTLINE on line for more about this report, including a close look at the case prepared against Karadzic in The Hague, an in- depth portrait of Karadzic's personality, tactics, and what it's like to negotiate with him, selections from his poems and speeches, reports on concentration camps and indicted war criminals, and much more at FRONTLINE on line at www.pbs.org.

Next time on FRONTLINE:

1st SCIENTIST: What we're trying to do is figure out exactly what's going on out here.

ANNOUNCER: Something's lurking in these waters.

2nd SCIENTIST: Wild animals are being affected by their environment.

ANNOUNCER: It's a chemical predator attacking wildlife.

3rd SCIENTIST: There is enough evidence to take certain chemicals off the market today.

ANNOUNCER: Are humans also falling prey?

4th SCIENTIST: It's a wake- up call. If the animals are affected, then humans could be affected.

ANNOUNCER: "Fooling With Nature" next time on FRONTLINE.

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Kevin Sim

PRODUCED BY
Pippa Scott

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_________________

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A FRONTLINE coproduction with
The Center for Investigative Reporting, Inc.

(c) 1998
WGBH EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION AND
THE CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING, INC.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Now it's time for your letters. Our program, "Inside the Tobacco Deal," drew criticism from the head of the American Lung Association. John R. Garrison said that we overlooked the real hero in the tobacco wars, Minnesota attorney general Hubert Humphrey, III.

Garrison wrote, "He faced enormous public and political pressure to accept the sweetheart deal of June 20th, 1997, that other state attorneys general negotiated with the tobacco industry. Attorney General Humphrey showed great courage when he stood up and said no to that bad deal."

Another viewer lodged this complaint:

HARRY NORTON: [Simpsonville, South Carolina] Your actions amount to legal extortion (higher taxes and more loss of personal freedom). Under the guise of protecting my children and the terrible crime of trying to make a profit, people like you have virtually destroyed our personal freedoms. This is Harry Norton in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

ANNOUNCER: And this cautionary note:

JAMES MILLER: [New York City] We should keep in mind that tobacco cartels are reaching kids all around the world and not just on our shores. They have to be held accountable for their misdeeds, no matter where they do business.

ANNOUNCER: Let us know what you thought about tonight's program. [fax (617) 254- 0243; e- mail, FRONTLINE@PBS.ORG; U.S. mail, DEAR FRONTLINE, 125 Western Ave., Boston, MA 02134]

And missing from the credits of "Inside the Tobacco Deal" was a very special thanks to the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation and the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley.

Copyright / 1998 WGBH Educational Foundation

 


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