Karadzic denies genocide charges in Bosnia

June 12th, 2012 - 5:38 am ICT by IANS  

The Hague, June 12 (IANS/AKI) Wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has denied that forces under his command committed genocide in Bosnia. He demanded an acquittal, claiming prosecutors had failed to prove his guilt.

“There are none of my fingerprints on any crimes,” Karadzic told the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Karadzic, who was arrested in Belgrade in 2008 after 13 years in hiding has been charged on 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Wherever I was involved… it was for humanitarian reasons and to ease the suffering of civilians, regardless of nationality,” he said.

The charges against him centre on a massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men in the eastern town of Srebrenica in 1996 and the 44-month siege and shelling of the capital Sarajevo which killed over 12,000 people.

“The prosecution hasn’t proven my responsibility for the events in Srebrenica, nor that it was genocide,” Karadzic told the court.

“It’s up to the prosecution to prove who did the killings and for what motives,” he said.

He conceded that there had been killings “on personal basis and for revenge”, but denied that Bosnian Serbs were a part of a “joint criminal enterprise” aimed at ethnically cleansing the territory under their command.

He said people frequently moved from one territory to another during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war to escape fighting areas, but no one denied them the right to return.

Karadzic said the prosecution “hasn’t proven the number of victims which is being used in public”.

He said the number of victims was a part of “Muslim propaganda” to which the “prosecution succumbed” and a “part of game which is bringing misery to people there and lays ground for future enmities”.

The prosecution ended presentation of its evidence last month and Karadzic was scheduled to start presenting his evidence in October.

The tribunal was expected to rule on Karadzic’s acquittal demand at a later date. It could clear him of some or all charges, or accept the prosecution’s arguments and order the trial to proceed with defence evidence.

Karadzic denied that Sarajevo was under siege and that Serb forces shelled the city at random in order to terrorize civilian population.

“What could have been a motive for terrorizing Sarajevo when at the time between 50,000 and 70,000 Serbs lived there, who were barred from leaving?” he asked.

He said some 80,000 Muslim soldiers mingled with the civilian population in Sarajevo, threatening Serb positions and there was exchange of fire on both sides.


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