My Meeting With the Monster of the Balkans

Karadzic was terrifying at negotating table, writes Holbrooke
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2008 7:58 AM CDT
Serbian newspaper front pages display pictures of Radovan Karadzic and headlines reading: "Arrested", as published in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, July 22, 2008.   (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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(Newser) – When Richard Holbrooke led the process that resulted in the Dayton Accords and the end of the war in Bosnia, he knew that sending Radovan Karadzic to the Hague was necessary to bring peace to the Balkans. Now, after 12 "inexcusable" years on the run, he has been arrested, and the former ambassador writes in the Washington Post of his only meeting with Karadzic, "whose enthusiastic advocacy of ethnic cleansing merits a special place in history."

Holbrooke met Karadzic in Belgrade, but he refused to shake his hand. Karadzic spoke "passable English" and railed about Serbian "humiliations," but after 10 hours of tortuous negotiations, the ambassador had won the concessions he needed to end the American bombing of Sarajevo. Karadzic's arrest is a huge if belated accomplishment, Holbrooke writes, but it's not the end—Serbia must now catch Radko Mladic, Karadzic's general, and send both "dreadful murderers" to The Hague.