Karadzic: I am not linked to wartime atrocities

AP News
Posted: Oct 01, 2014 9:32 AM
Karadzic: I am not linked to wartime atrocities

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic insisted Wednesday that U.N. prosecutors do not have "a shred of evidence" linking him to atrocities throughout the Bosnian war and accused them of putting the Serb people on trial.

In an 874-page defense summary, Karadzic said he should not be convicted by the U.N.'s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. Still, he acknowledged that as wartime leader of the breakaway Serb entity in Bosnia, he "bears moral responsibility for any crimes committed by citizens and forces."

Karadzic is charged with crimes including genocide and persecution committed by Bosnian Serb forces during the 1992-95 war that left 100,000 dead. Prosecutors say he should be sentenced to life.

In court, the 69-year-old said his 11-count indictment is based on the contention he was a key member of a criminal plot to rid Serb-dominated areas in Bosnia of Muslims and Croats.

Without that theory, "the only thing that would remain would be my good deeds toward my people and the other two peoples," he told judges.

Karadzic withdrew from public life after the war and later went into hiding. He was finally arrested in 2008 in Serbia disguised as a new-age healer. His trial began in 2009.

In his written arguments, Karadzic said he was unaware at the time of the slaughter of Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces at Srebrenica in 1995 — the worst massacre in Europe since World War II. He said evidence at his trial called into question the number killed there — widely accepted as over 8,000 — and whether the slayings were genocide.

Stephen Moore

He accused prosecutors Wednesday of building their case on "allusions, random chit-chat, (and) testimony by their own employees."

Suggesting that prosecutors were trying not only him but all Bosnian Serbs, Karadzic said: "If I am crazy, are a million and a half crazy who let their only sons go into freezing trenches to defend their homes and families for three years?"