The Sunday Magazine

Mr. Karadžić, how is the ethnic cleansing going?

Twenty three years ago Michael Enright, then the host of As It Happens, got the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadžić, on the phone.
Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic in the courtroom for the reading of his verdict at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. (Robin van Lonkhuijsen/Associated Press)

On March 24, 2016, a United Nations tribunal convicted ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

In January, 1993, Michael Enright, then the host of As It Happens, reached Mr. Karadžić on the phone, and asked him some very pointed questions. Here's how journalist David Graham described that interview in an article in The Atlantic on March 24, 2016:

"It's a remarkable interview: A reporter asking extremely tough questions of a leader, with great authority and command of facts, about a faraway conflict. You don't hear this sort of exchange often. For one, few war criminals will talk to the media. For another, few reporters have the chops to pull it off live like this. They might worry about losing access, too—although when the interview ended, Karadzic signed off with a cheery, "Welcome, any time!"

In January 1993, Sarajevo was under siege. Karadzic's forces had taken over most of Bosnia and, in his words, "cleansed" large portions of the territory of non-Serbs. There were reports of death camps and mass rapes. 2:18


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