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'Great powers' were behind the Bosnian war, says Karadzic

Latest update : 2009-08-26

In detention at The Hague and facing war-crimes charges, the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said the war in Bosnia was a creation of the world's "great powers" well before he entered the political scene.

AFP -  The world's "great powers" orchestrated the Bosnian war for their own geopolitical ends, Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, awaiting trial for war crimes, told AFP on Wednesday.
"The world can see from what was done in Bosnia the pattern of how some countries used and abused a small nation for their own ends, such as to enforce their own military alliances and to achieve imperial goals," said Karadzic in a written reply to questions submitted to him in detention in The Hague.
"The breakup of Yugoslavia and the war in Bosnia was envisaged by the great powers well before I came into political life," he added.
"They then set those events in motion through the use of their intelligence services and military."
Karadzic, 64, is facing trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Notably, he is charged over the 44-month siege of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo that left 10,000 people dead; and the July 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the village of Srebrenica. The Srebrenica massacre was the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.
Karadzic said he hoped his trial, which a judge has said should start in September, would expose the "truth" of what happened in Bosnia at the time of the breakup of Yugoslavia.
His innocence would be proven if prosecution witnesses told the truth, he added.
"The world deserves to know the truth and what was done by the international community on its behalf," he said.
Karadzic did not name the countries he claimed were behind the Bosnia war. But he has applied through the tribunal for documents from several nations including France, Germany and the United States, which he says would help prove his innocence.
"I express my sympathy to the victims of the war in Bosnia -- Serbs, Croats and Muslims -- for their suffering," he wrote to AFP. "I hope that my trial will show who is truly responsible for that.
"Some of those people will find out that those responsible were that part of their own leadership who rejected all of the opportunities that existed to avoid the war, and some of their foreign friends who used them for their own purposes."
Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in July last year after 13 years on the run.
In his answers, he repeated his claim that he had made an agreement in July 1995 with US diplomat Richard Holbrooke that granted him indemnity from prosecution in exchange for his withdrawal from public life.
"I am terribly disappointed that the tribunal has refused to even hold a hearing so that I may prove the existence of that agreement and its binding effect on the tribunal."
He said he was working "full time, seven days a week" preparing for trial and would continue representing himself, with the backing of a team of lawyers.
"I know the facts better than any lawyer. So I think it is better for me to have legal expert assistance on legal issues and deal with the facts of the case myself.
"If I represent myself, I can have the floor every day. This will allow me to force the witnesses to present a true picture of what happened in Bosnia and who is responsible for it."
His preparations, Karadzic added, involved reading over a million pages of material and reviewing about 350 days of audio and video material.
"The truth is out there," he said.

Date created : 2009-08-26