Karadzic: Poet Turned Monster

'Butcher of Bosnia' saw himself as an intellectual and guardian of his people
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2008 7:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Serbian strongman Radovan Karadzic viewed himself as a high-minded intellectual but his hardline nationalism drove him to become responsible for Europe's most bestial atrocities since the Nazis, writes the Times of London. The former Bosnian leader, now captured after 12 years on the run, was a poet and author and worked as a psychiatrist for years before entering politics.

Karadzic declared himself the leader of Bosnia as Yugoslavia collapsed, triggering a bloody war in which he attempted to "ethnically cleanse" the country of Muslims with a brutal campaign of killing and rape. Atrocities like the slaughter of at least 6,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebenica made him Europe's most wanted man after the war. He remained a folk hero to many Serbs and was protected by 80 fiercely loyal guards during his years on the run.