Karadzic family homes raided

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European Union forces and NATO troops searched the homes of relatives of Bosnia's most-wanted war crimes suspect, Radovan Karadzic, yesterday, looking for clues to his whereabouts, officials said.

Troops began simultaneous searches at 5am at the homes of Karadzic's wife, Ljiljana, his daughter, Sonja, and his son, Alexandar, who is called Sasha.

A few hours later, troops entered the premises of a local company called Petrol and searched the office of Sonja's husband, Branislav Jovicic. They also searched the home of Ranko Cicovic, who used to be Karadzic's driver.

"The aim is to find material or information relevant to the network of Radovan Karadzic," said Maj. David Fielder, a spokesman for the European Union Force, EUFOR, at the site.

During the search of Sonja's apartment, troops found some useful information — mostly "paper-based," but some of it electronic — that may help the search, Fielder said.

Ljiljana Zelen-Karadzic lives in her sister's house in the wartime Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale, 10 miles east of Sarajevo. Sonja and Alexandar live with their families in apartment buildings, also in Pale.

Bosnian Serb police officers were helping EUFOR and NATO troops at the various sites that were searched, Fielder said.

Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb wartime political leader, and Ratko Mladic, his military commander, were indicted by the UN war Crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for genocide and other crimes, including the slaughter of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995. Both have eluded capture for the last 11 years thanks, NATO officials believe, to a network of supporters who finance and otherwise facilitating their hiding.

Mladic is believed to be hiding in Serbia, but there have been no hints about Karadzic's whereabouts for years.

Karadzic's home in Pale, as well as the homes of his children, have been raided many times. Documents and other material have been seized and his family members questioned. But none of those raids and interrogations resulted in Karadzic's arrest.

His crimes, and those of Mladic, are related to the Bosnia war, which took place between 1992 and 1995.

The government of the United States is offering $5 million for any information that could lead to the arrest of Karadzic, Mladic or two more suspects on the run, Stojan Zupljanin, a Bosnian Serb military leader, and Goran Hadzic, a political leader wanted for war crimes in Croatia.