In 1989 he co-founded the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina which aimed at gathering the republic's Serb community and protecting its interests.
He led the Republika Srpska during the 1990s, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991. He is accused of having ordered the ethnic cleansing of Croats and Bosnian Muslims. He is currently a fugitive wanted for war crimes by the ICTY. In his defense, critics say that he is no more guilty than any other war-time political leader. His seeming ability to evade capture for over 8 years has made of him a local hero among the Serbs, most of whom boast that they would not turn him in for the $5 million reward offered on his head.