I worked for 'peace' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 25, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:36 AM, April 25, 2018

I worked for 'peace'

Says Karadzic, urges UN tribunal to acquit him

Convicted criminal Radovan Karadzic yesterday accused Bosnian Muslims of "declaring war" on Serbs, insisting at his appeal before a UN tribunal that he had worked for peace in the Balkans.

The prosecution's case against him was "upside down, the wrong way up," Karadzic insisted, on the second and final day of his appeal in The Hague.

The once-feared Bosnian Serb leader is urging the judges to throw out his 2016 conviction for war crimes and genocide, and either acquit him or order a new trial.

"Nothing in these proceedings that was alleged is true," he said in an animated personal address to the judges, waving his hands for emphasis, as he starkly warned "and that is a guarantee that the conflict between us will persist".

Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in jail for his role in the bloodshed during the Bosnian war which left 100,000 people dead and 2.2 million others homeless, as ethnic conflict tore the former Yugoslavia apart.

He was found guilty of 10 charges, including genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, when some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were separated from their families, shot and killed.

Karadzic was also convicted of the war crime of orchestrating the 44-month siege of Sarajevo in which some 10,000 people died under relentless sniping and shelling.

But Karadzic, 72, insisted Bosnian Serbs were merely defending themselves.

"We never had anything against Muslims, we considered them Serbs with a Muslim religion," he said, adding: "Serbs, Muslims, Croats, we are one people, we have one identity".

"Our main wish was for the Muslims to remain with us in Yugoslavia," he said.

Prosecutors insist Karadzic had "abused his immense power to spill the blood of innocent civilians," and urged the tribunal to impose "the highest possible sentence, a life sentence".

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