Karadzic shuns war crimes pleas

Judge enters 'not guilty' after former Bosnian Serb commander refuses to plea.

    Karadzic refused to enter a plea [EPA]

    'Secret deal'

    He faces charges related to a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" during the 1992-95 Bosnian war in which 100,000 people died.

    Barnaby Phillips, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Sarajevo, said: "Bosnians here felt Karadzic was playing with the court, that he wasn't taking it seriously.

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    "You have to remember that people here suffered from 1992 to 1995 and they hold him directly accountable for that suffering - and yet he refused to be engaged and enter a plea." 

    "Bosnian Muslim feeling is very much engaged in the Hague process in a way that Serb feeling isn't ... [the Serbs] feel that it is biased and discredited against them."

    Karadzic has urged the UN court to order evidence from Richard Holbrooke, the former US diplomat, about an alleged secret deal which he claims Holbrooke tried to broker.

    'No prosecution'

    Karadzic says Holbrooke promised him that he would not face prosecution at the end of Bosnia's war if he agreed to disappear from the public eye.

    Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton peace agreement that ended the war, denies suggesting such a deal and described Karadzic as the "intellectual architect" of racial hatred in former Yugoslavia.

    "Of all the evil men of the Balkans, he is the worst," he said.

    Nerma Jelacic, an ICTY spokeswoman, said: "The case is extremely important for us ... to conclude all trials, including that of Radovan Karadzic, but also the two fugitives that remain on the run, Ratko Mladic [Karadzic’s military commander] and Goran Hadzic [ex-Croatian Serb leader]."

    Karadzic, who was arrested in Belgrade last month, will reappear before the tribunal on September 17.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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