Word on the street: 'I cried with happiness. Today, for the first time, I feel like the war has ended'

Hundreds of people braved the rain to pour out into the streets of Sarajevo to celebrate the capture of Radovan Karadzic, but few were more jubilant than Nidzara Ahmetasevic, 34.

"I cried with happiness," she said. "We just believed they would always remain at large and never be punished. Today, for the first time, I really feel like the war has ended."

Wounded during the bombing of Sarajevo when she was still a teenager, she then had to undergo surgery in a hospital lacking anaesthetic, and came around on a bed covered in blood that was not hers. Now she just wants one thing. "He must be taken to the court, so that the stories of all of his victims can be heard, everything he has said and done, and also who helped him do it," she said.

For Edin Ramulic, the happy day of Mr Karadzic's capture came as he was preparing to bury the remains of his father, who died in Keraterm, one of the Serb concentration camps set by Mr Karadzic and listed in his indictment. More than half of the dozen male members of the Ramulic family were tortured and killed in these camps and Edin considers himself lucky, having escaped after four days.

He said: "The arrest came at the perfect time for my family. With that and the burial, now we have closure."

Bakira Hasecic, one of thousands of rape victims in Bosnia, who today heads the group Women Victims of War, said that she did not know whether to cry with happiness or anguish. "Justice has finally reached the most important war criminal in Europe and the world."

Others reacted with incredulity. In northern Bosnia, the organiser of a rock concert interrupted to announce the news, but received only laughter from the audience for a good joke. Only after mobile phones rang and rang did the crowd grasp the enormity of what had happened.

Nura Begovic, who lives right next to the cemetery in Potocari where victims of the Srebrenica massacre are buried, said she had been glued to the television since the news broke on Monday night. She remembers enduring the entire siege of Srebrenica, during which time she lost her brother, mother-in-law and father-in-law. "Whatever happens to Karadzic at the court, it will not be as horrible as the things he did to our people," she said.

Reaction from many Bosnian-Serbs was muted. A local TV station showed a reporter asking people in the northern city of Banja Luka about the arrest. Most said "no comment", one called it "a tragedy".

But in the centre of Belgrade, there were minor skirmishes between police and nationalists, who see Mr Karadzic and Mr Mladic as defenders of the Serb nation.

And in neighbouring Montenegro, where Mr Karadzic was born, people reacted in disgust. "I am very sad that this has happened to Radovan," said Vukosav Karadzic, from his native village of Petnjica. "I am sorry he did not kill himself but allowed himself to be captured."

Views from the Balkan blogosphere

Borisav Condovic on www.politika.co.yu

"A disgrace for the Serbian people. To sell our leader and hero in this way, and the same people attacking and destroying us will set more conditions. What's next? Recognise Kosovo? We've lost so much land – now our honour too."

Do Kraja on www.b92.net

"Now we only have to keep safe all those who have helped this arrest. Thank you for your courage and bravery. You are the Serbian heroes, not Karadzic."

Voja on www.blic.co.yu

"He didn't listen to the advice by the radicals to kill himself before being captured. He would have been a greater hero and a greater Serb had he surrendered himself. This way he actually proved who he was and what he really is. They should sell that other hero as well, so that we can finish this farce."

RASA on www.politika.co.yu

"We are sick incurable nation. We will destroy ourselves."

Franko Fotto on www.b92.net

"Every honest citizen of Serbia welcomes the capture of Karadzic."

Alex on www.blic.co.yu

"Thank you... Finally, this is a great step towards Europe and final justice for the criminals, there's only Mladic left."

Mara Katanic on www.politika.co.yu

"I don't know why, but I am not sure whether this is good news or not, although I know our government must be obedient to its European and American sponsor."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
United States President Barack Obama, right, uses actor Keegan-Michael Key from Key & Peele to play the part of 'Luther, President Obama's anger translator'
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions