Faced with a July 1 ultimatum from Bosnia’s top civilian official and threats from former ally Yugoslavia, Radovan Karadzic signaled Tuesday he may step down as leader of the Bosnian Serbs.
As Karadzic, speaking through a top aide, said he was ready to “sacrifice his power,” international officials in Vienna set a Sept. 14 date for Bosnian elections. International authorities have complained that Karadzic, an indicted war crimes suspect, should be removed from power before elections are held.
Even if Karadzic steps down, he could rule the Serb half of Bosnia through proxies who share his secessionist goals - unless he were forced to stand trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
Only Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic or the NATO-led Bosnian peace force could deliver Karadzic to the tribunal.
Momcilo Krajisnik, a top Bosnian Serb leader, floated the prospect of Karadzic’s resignation Tuesday as Serb-led Yugoslavia issued a veiled warning for Karadzic to step aside or face the consequences.
Krajisnik, speaking to reporters, said he was relaying Karadzic’s stance.
“He would never put his interests above the peace plan and those of the Republika Srpska,” said Krajisnik, using the local name for the Serb entity that makes up 49 percent of Bosnia.