Karadzic's son seized by troops in bid to find Bosnian Serb leader

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The Independent Online

His capture appears to be part of a new effort by international troops to obtain more information on the whereabouts of his father. Radovan Karadzic is wanted by the Hague war crimes tribunal for orchestrating the Srebrenica massacre of almost 8,000 Muslim boys and men 10 years ago this month. Radovan Karadzic and his wartime commander, General Ratko Mladic, have been charged with genocide.

Witnesses said US infantry, backed by armoured vehicles, raided the apartment building where Karadzic's son lives with his wife, children and in-laws. He was handcuffed and given a flak-jacket, then taken to a nearby playground and flown to an unknown destination in a helicopter. An eyewitness Vesna Gutalj said: "They put him in a black Jeep and put a hood over his head."

A Nato statement said Mr Karadzic "may have information vital to the goal of locating indicted war criminals or identifying their supporters". His sister Sonja called the arrest a "kidnapping", part of a constant pressure on their family which she said was "probably related to the Srebrenica event".

A week ago, Montenegrin police searched the Karadzic family home in the town of Niksic, and Serbian police searched the homes of his two brothers, Luka and Ivan, in and around Belgrade last weekend.

Several videos, photo albums, computer disks and a computer were seized in an effort to trace Karadzic's whereabouts.

In May, Nato searched homes of Aleksandr, Karadzic's wife Ljiljana and their daughter Sonja in Pale. Karadzic turned Pale, a popular winter ski resort, into the command post of the 1992-95 war operations. The town was a nerve-centre of the Bosnian Serb campaign which included the daily shelling of the city of Sarajevo for 42 months.

Aleksandr Karadzic was known for his playboy reputation at the time of Bosnian war. Without formal education, he is believed to be working for the private firm of his uncle, Luka.

Before going underground, Radovan Karadzic is believed to have provided his large family with substantial finances. In 1997, he withdrew 36 million German marks (£12.6m) from one of the banks under the control of his wartime aides.

The Office of High Representative, the international body headed by Paddy Ashdown that controlled post-war Bosnia, blocked all bank accounts held by or in the name of Aleksandar Karadzic. The move was supposed to cut all financial support for his fugitive father.