by DAVID AXE and ANDREW BALCOMBE
The long, painful process of accounting for alleged war crimes stemming from the 1992-1995 Bosnian war continues. Two years after his arrest on a bus near Belgrade, 64-year-old Radovan Karadzic, former president of the Republika Srpska, stood before the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague last week to defend himself against 11 counts of war crimes, including two for genocide.
As leader of the self-proclaimed Serb state in Bosnia, Karadzic allegedly oversaw the killings of thousands of Bosnian Muslim civilians. Karadzic, who is handling his own defense after failing to show up for earlier trial dates, insists he is not guilty. The war between Christian Serbs and Muslim Bosnians was “just and holy,” Karadzic said. “I stand here before you not to defend a mere mortal of a man, but Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
The incidents pinned on Karadzic include: the 1992 mass executions of prisoners at Serb detention camps; the August 1995 artillery attack on a Sarajevo market that killed 43 people; and the execution of around 1,000 Bosnian Muslims detained at a Srebrinica school in July 1995.
Karadzic blamed the conflict on Bosnian Muslims, especially Islamic fundamentalists whom he claimed wanted “100-percent control of Bosnia for Muslims.” Karadzic labeled these fundamentalists “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Serbs were only “defending themselves from aggression and this is being treated as a crime,” he claimed.