Berserkistan Navigator Bosnian Serbs Pledge
to Protect Karadzic

ĎIf anyone tried to take Radovan to the Hague, he would be killed. I would take up a weapon and kill him.í
óCafe owner Zdravko Radovic

Radovan Karadzic PALE, July 19, (AP) -- Bosnian Serbs in Radovan Karadzicís stronghold pledged Friday to protect their leader if anyone tries to deliver him to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

News that Karadzic has resigned, announced Friday morning in Serbia by U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke, reached Karadzicís headquarters slowly. By late afternoon, many people in Pale, just southeast of Sarajevo, had not heard. The announcement capped months of pressure for Karadzic to step aside. Holbrooke said Karadzicís agreement to quit as head of his political party and renounce all public politicking was only a step towards forcing him to answer to war crimes charges.

But Artman Cafe owner Zdravko Radovic, 36, a sturdy man with close-cropped dark hair and beard, said he would stand behind Karadzic. Like many Pale residents he referred to Karadzic by his first name. "If anyone tried to take Radovan to the Hague, he would be killed. I would take up a weapon and kill him," said Radovic, a Sarajevo native. "If you club one Serb on the head, itís like hitting the whole nation."

As he spoke at a corner table of his Artman cafe, Bosnian Serb security officers in civilian clothes -- one with a pistol tucked in his belt -- played pool behind him.

Karadzic may still retain great influence, even if he is formally out of power. International officials have said the move to strip him of power was part of a long-term effort to isolate and weaken him. They also hope his absence will make the Bosnian Serbs more likely to cooperate with the Dayton peace agreement. In opposition to the accord, Karadzic wants Bosniaís Serbs to break away from the Muslims and Croats.

Karadzicís Serbian Democratic Party, or SDS, said Karadzicís move enabled the party to thwart international efforts to prevent it from participating in Bosniaís September elections. It said it would win the vote. Several Serbs said that Aleksa Buha, the man replacing Karadzic as party leader, was a good replacement. "Buha is good for our cause," said a 45-year-old man who identified himself only as Milan. He, too, was from Sarajevo and said his father was killed there in the early days of the war.

But Janko Lalovic, a traditional Serb military cap on his flowing gray hair, wasnít so sure. "I never thought for a moment that Karadzic would give in to the pressure," he said. "What now? Who am I supposed to vote for? It looks like I fought for nothing."

To learn more...
Berserkistan, July 19 · Karadzic Resigns, but Holbrooke Fails to Secure Serbís Arrest
Berserkistan, July 19 · Karadzic Ouster is Partial Victory for Holbrooke
Berserkistan, July 19 · NATO and IFOR Partners Welcome Karadzic Resignation


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