Karadzic says isn't guilty, acted as any president would

Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, whose verdict for the gravest war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including genocide, will be handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Thursday, has reiterated that he does not feel responsible, although he does not deny that the crimes were committed.

"There is no reasonable court that would convict me," Karadzic says in an interview which the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) released on Wednesday.

BIRN editor in chief Erna Makcic has told Hina that the interview was conducted with the ICTY's permission. Karadzic responded in writing and the answers arrived in Sarajevo on Monday.

According to Karadzic, the fact that many Bosnian Serb political and military leaders have been convicted should not affect his verdict because those convictions were generally based on "a lot of sheer propaganda" expounded during trials.

He says that "no Serb would have been convicted" of the mass murder of civilians at Sarajevo's Markale open air market if ICTY trials had been based on UN documents.

Karadzic does not deny that war crimes were committed in Srebrenica in July 1995, but says they were exaggerated because "several hundred people with blindfolds" were killed there. He says they were killed by individuals who hid it all from their superiors, including himself.

"Those who did that are first and foremost enemies of Serbs, then enemies of those families, and then of the Muslim community," he says and suggests postponing a discussion on what happened in Srebrenica for a later time and that the discussion be held by "a competent Serb-Muslim commission".

"We could compare who was more cruel, who killed more women, children and elderly, who slit more throats, cut off more ears and genitalia, but that shouldn't be for the media but for the sake of a consensus by a just and competent Serb-Muslim commission for the truth, when the time is right. Anything else would only make matters worse," Karadzic says, although the ICTY and the International Court of Justice have found in separate verdicts that the Bosnian Serb army and police committed genocide against over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

Karadzic also says that Bosnian Serb wartime military leader Ratko Mladic is not responsible for the Srebrenica crimes, otherwise he would have punished him himself.

He also says there was no genocide in Bosnia at the start of the 1992-95 war, as claimed in the indictment. "There was no genocide in 1992, only chaos which we all saw in Croatia before that and predicted that it would happen in Bosnia if we entered a civil war."

He says the problem at that time was that the Croats did not want to stay in a rump Yugoslavia, although it was definitely the best solution not only for the Serbs but for the Muslims too.

He continues to see himself as a peacekeeper and a statesman, but says that if the ICTY acquits him, he will stay out of politics and dedicate himself to his family.

"My chances in the verdict should be the same as the chances of any president of state in the modern world, neither bigger nor smaller. Courts should be aware of all presidential obligations, options and limits, and be dedicated to the truth and justice. All the evidence simply shows that the president, in such circumstances, couldn't have done anything more, and that my constant struggle for keeping the peace, preventing the war and reducing the suffering of all people, regardless of faith, represents an exemplary effort worthy of respect, rather then persecution," Karadzic says.

Last update: Wed, 23/03/2016 - 12:05

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