Karadzic dodges Hague questions on ethnic cleansing
THE HAGUE |
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic dodged prosecution questions at the Yugoslavia tribunal Wednesday on whether the Bosnian Serb republic took part in ethnic cleansing to break from the rest of Bosnia.
Called to appear as a defence witness in the appeals hearing of former ally Momcilo Krajisnik, Karadzic was asked whether the roundup of Bosnian Muslim people and the creation of war commissions and crisis staffs was part of a political strategy.
Karadzic was exempted from answering when his defence accused the prosecutor of making a "transparent attempt" to use Karadzic's answers against him at his own war crimes trial.
In court documents Karadzic had said "Krajisnik was not obsessed by ethnic separation with the Muslims, nor was that the policy of the Serb leadership."
The appearance of Karadzic, who has also been indicted on war crimes and genocide charges over the 1992-95 Bosnian war, was thought to provide a glimpse into how he would conduct his own defence. Karadzic's trial is expected to start next year.
Karadzic denied Wednesday the Bosnian Serb republic intended to use armed force to define borders in former Yugoslavia, stressing that the republic's goals were a political platform for negotiations with the European community.
Krajisnik, who was sentenced to 27 years in prison in September 2006 for a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Bosnian Muslims and Croats, was able to call Karadzic as a witness after his arrest in July after 11 years on the run. Krajisnik has appealed his conviction.
Karadzic denied Krajisnik, who headed the parliament of the self-styled Bosnian Serb republic during the war, was involved in the decision making of the Bosnian Serb republic.
He also denied Krajisnik was a member of an expanded Bosnian Serb presidency, stressing that the expanded presidency, or war presidency, was never established because the Bosnian Serb republic did not declare a state of war despite hostilities.
(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)
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