Monday 22 January 2018

Karadzic denials 'lack credibility'

Radovan Karadzic, pictured in 1992, is facing a war crimes trial in the Hague
Radovan Karadzic, pictured in 1992, is facing a war crimes trial in the Hague

Prosecutors called former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic a liar in closing remarks at his genocide trial, saying his denials of responsibility for atrocities committed on a massive scale while he was in charge lack any credibility.

Prosecutor Alan Tieger said Karadzic, 69, should be imprisoned for life if found guilty.

Karadzic was president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb Republic during the 1992-1995 Bosnia War that left 100,000 dead. His responsibilities included ultimate oversight of the army commanded by Gen Ratko Mladic, who is also on trial for genocide at the UN Yugoslav Tribunal.

Karadzic says he is innocent of any wrongdoing and was unaware of the 1995 slaughter of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys by Serb forces at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since the Second World War. Karadzic is expected to deliver his closing remarks on Wednesday.

Mr Tieger said Karadzic publicly "bragged at the time about the painstaking steps he was taking" to violently remove non-Serbs from parts of Bosnia to create an "ethnically pure" Serb state within Bosnia. Karadzic denies it, Mr Tieger said, promoting a "revisionist history" and "blaming those who did his dirty work".

Karadzic is charged with 11 crimes in total, including genocide for Srebrenica and for the ethnic cleansing of numerous towns at the start of the war in 1992. He is also charged with murder and persecution for the shelling and sniper campaign that terrorised the citizens of Sarajevo during a lengthy siege.

Karadzic went into hiding after the war but was caught in neighbouring Serbia in 2008, having spent years in disguise as a bushy-bearded new-age healer. He was transferred to the tribunal and went on trial in 2009. He led his own defence, but never followed through on vows to take the stand himself.

A verdict is expected sometime in mid-2015.

Press Association

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