Vesna Peric Zimonjic – The Independent August 4, 2008
The former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic lived under US protection after the Dayton peace accords until the CIA intercepted a phone call in which he broke the terms of a "secret deal" to stay out of politics, a Serbian newspaper claims.
"Karadzic, indicted for genocide and war crimes, was under US protection until 2000, when the CIA intercepted his telephone conversation that clearly proved he personally chaired a meeting of his old political party," the Belgrade daily Blic quoted a "well-informed US intelligence source" as saying.
"They went crazy realising Karadzic was making a fool of them," it said yesterday. "The US and CIA withdrew [his] informal protection."
Mr Karadzic has revived the allegations of a deal between himself and the chief US peace negotiator in Bosnia, Richard Holbrooke, since appearing before the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague last Thursday.
Mr Holbrooke has denied any deals with Mr Karadzic, telling CNN last Thursday that this was a "flat-out lie".
"He's been spreading it for 12 years through his friends, now he's making it personally. It would have been morally reprehensible and illegal to do such a thing ... We made no deal," Mr Holbrooke said.
However, statements by two top officials of the former warring sides seem to confirm the deal.
The former Bosnian Serb foreign minister Aleksa Buha told Belgrade Radio he witnessed the agreement. He said the deal was made "in the night between 18 and 19 July 1996".
The former Bosnian foreign minister Mohamed Sacirbey told the Mostar paper Dnevni that he learnt about the deal through the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's head of mission, the US diplomat Robert Frowick, in the summer of 1996.
Last updated 05/08/2008