I fought just and holy war against Muslim extremists, says Karadzic
Published 02/03/2010 | 05:00
Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, answered genocide charges for the first time yesterday with a claim he fought a "just and holy" war against Muslim extremists.
He finally broke his silence with an appearance in the dock to personally defend himself against 11 United Nations indictments for war crimes.
Karadzic (64) gave a rambling and passionate testimony that painted him, and the Serbs, as the true victims of the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995.
"I stand before you not to defend the mere mortal that I am, but to defend the greatness of a small nation," he declared. "I will defend that nation of ours and their cause that is just and holy."
During four hours of gabbled argument, Karadzic defended himself against charges of Europe's worst genocide since the Holocaust, blaming Islamic militants, America, Germany and the EU for the war.
"What I'm going to present here is the marble truth," he said. "Everything the Serbs did as part of their own legitimate defence, all of that is treated as a crime."
Referring to himself in the third person as "Dr Karadzic", he denied waging a violent ethnic campaign against Muslims and Croats during a war that left 100,000 people dead.
"The Serbs were the party that made concessions for the sake of preserving peace and they were never in favour of a war solution," he said.
Karadzic showed the court a photograph of what appeared to be a Middle Eastern militant holding the severed head of a Serb fighter, an image that recalled alleged links between Bosnian Muslims and Islamist groups such as al-Qa'ida.
He accused a "conspiracy" of Muslims, hiding behind calls for Bosnian independence, of waging a "jihad" against Serbs.
"They had an Islamist goal. They wanted 100pc power as it was in the days of the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire," he said.
The war was not started by Serbs but began, Karadzic said, after America and the EU triggered the break-up of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia by recognising unilateral declarations of independence from Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia.
Karadzic said the Western media had aided Muslim "war tricks", including the faking of concentration camp photographs. Karadzic has refused to enter a plea and has accused the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia of denying him the time to mount a full defence. (© Daily Telegraph, London)