Karadzic sanctioned massacres of civilians: Prosecutor

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 00:24

The Hague: Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic was behind one of "humanity`s dark chapters," prosecutors said Monday as he vowed to attend a hearing on the fate of his war crimes trial.

Karadzic, who has boycotted the trial so far, told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia he would attend a procedural hearing on Tuesday to determine how to proceed in the face of his defiance.
"Radovan Karadzic ordered the operation against Srebrenica, which was a culmination of his efforts to cleanse eastern Bosnia ... to ensure the Serb state that he envisioned," Tieger said on the third day of the trial.

"He covered up the mass expulsions and the murders and continues to do so to this day, and the only regret he had of the entire operation was that some Muslim men got away."

Karadzic, 64, faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1992-95 Bosnian war that claimed some 100,000 lives and caused 2.2 million people to flee their homes.

Tieger has branded him the "the "supreme commander" of an ethnic cleansing campaign of Croats and Muslims.

Charges against Karadzic include the siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, which ended in November 1995 after some 10,000 people, many of them civilians, were killed.

"The accused knew throughout the course of the 44-month siege that his forces were shelling and sniping at civilians and creating conditions of terror for the citizens of Sarajevo," Tieger told the court.

"For 44 months Radovan Karadzic directed a campaign of terror against a civilian population who were targeted for living in the capital of a multi-ethnic country that he sought to ethnically separate."

Karadzic is also charged with taking hostage some 200 UN military observers and peacekeepers in a bid to fend off NATO airstrikes against Serb targets.

"Some hostages were handcuffed to flagpoles... or lightning rods," said the prosecutor. "Some were physically abused."

Tieger showed the court footage of Muslims executed at various sites throughout Bosnia, and submitted into evidence statements made by Karadzic, including: "For the benefit of our people we will do anything we have to do, without mercy."

The wartime leader has refused to leave his prison cell to come to court since the trial began on October 26.

"I would like to repeat once again to Mr Karadzic our previous warnings ... should he maintain his position that he will not attend the trial we may proceed in his absence and assign counsel to represent him," the judge said at the conclusion of the prosecution`s opening statement.

"We advise him to consider this carefully prior to making his oral submissions tomorrow."

The step of imposing a lawyer on Karadzic, which he has vowed to fight, could cause a delay of several months as that person acquaints himself with the case.

Karadzic was arrested on a Belgrade bus in July last year after 13 years on the run.

He risks life imprisonment.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 00:24

More from zeenews

 
comments powered by Disqus