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Karadzic awaits transfer to The Hague court

Latest update : 2008-07-28

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic's lawyer said he does not expect his client to be transfered to the ICC before Wednesday. Karadzic faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the Bosnian war.

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic is unlikely to be transferred to The Hague to face war crimes charges until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest, his lawyer said.
   
In an interview with the Vecernje Novosti daily, lawyer Svetozar Vujacic refused to give details of his client's transfer appeal, which was lodged at the last minute before the expiry of a midnight Friday deadline.
   
"I can't tell you what is written in the appeal, or when or from which post office it was sent," he said. "If I told you, the appeal would arrive at the court very quickly and Radovan Karadzic would already be on his way to The Hague."
   
Once the appeal has been received, a three-judge panel of Serbia's war crimes court will have three days to decide on its merits before the justice ministry must issue a final order for the transfer.
   
Meanwhile, Serbia's former nationalist prime minister Vojislav Kostunica criticised the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), saying it did not guarantee justice.
   
"You can't ask Serbia to send Serbs to The Hague while the tribunal is declaring innocent those who have undoubtedly committed war crimes against the Serbs," Kostunica was quoted as telling the Glas daily.
   
Kostunica was referring to a decision this month by the UN tribunal to clear the former commander of Bosnian Muslim forces in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, of war crimes against Serbs.
   
Although pro-Karadzic protests in Serbia have been low-key so far, the nationalist opposition are planning a major rally for Tuesday in Belgrade to lobby against the ICTY.
   
President Boris Tadic has received e-mail death threats, his office has revealed.
   
Karadzic, 63, indicted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, was arrested while riding on a suburban bus in Belgrade.
   
Controversy still exists over whether Karadzic was arrested on Friday July 18, as his lawyer says, or on July 21, as the authorities claim.
   
The Serbian secret service had been on Karadzic's trail for six weeks, following a telephone tip-off, the Blic daily newspaper reported Sunday, citing a source close to the inquiry.
   
The caller, who refused to give his identity, told the authorities about a doctor practising alternative medicine who travelled across Serbia giving conferences on health.
   
"Check him out, his voice is a lot like that of Karadzic," the caller was quoted as saying before hanging up.
   
Karadzic had completely changed his appearance and identity, styling himself as Doctor Dragan Dabic and donning large glasses and a white Panama hat atop his long white hair and bushy beard.
   
Meanwhile, a woman in her fifties pictured in the world's press smiling at Dabic has denied being Karadzic's mistress, Vecernje Novosti said.
   
"I did not hide Radovan Karadzic. I was not his mistress," Mila Cicak told the newspaper.
   
Some Serbian newspapers had speculated about the relationship between Cicak and Karadzic.
   
"I did not know Radovan Karadzic, I knew Dragan Dabic, a doctor who introduced me to the world of alternative medicine," she said.
   
In Vienna Sunday the Austrian interior ministry said it was checking whether a man questioned by Austrian police in May 2007 was Karadzic or someone who looked like him.
   
Austrian newspapers had claimed Saturday that detectives came across Karadzic while looking for a Serb accused of killing a man in a neighbourhood bar.
   
But on Sunday a man contacted Serbia's Tanjug news agency to say that he was in fact the man questioned by police.
   
"I wear glasses, I have a long white beard, a moustache and tie my hair up in a pony tail," Petar Glumac said.
   
Glumac added that he had practised alternative medicine for 20 years under the name of "Dr Pera", a name cited by several witnesses questioned about Karadzic in Vienna.
   
Together with his military commander Ratko Mladic, who remains at large, Karadzic was the most wanted fugitive connected with the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
   
Karadzic went on the run in 1996, shortly after the ITCY issued an arrest warrant for him.
   
He is notably accused of playing a leading role in the 44-month siege of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo and the July 1995 massacre of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, the bloodiest single atrocity in Europe since World War II.
   
His arrest came shortly after the election of a pro-European government in Belgrade. The EU has made any possible Serbian membership conditional on Belgrade cooperating fully with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
 

Date created : 2008-07-28

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