Alexa

Karadzic says in pretrial brief he is not guilty

Karadzic says in pretrial brief he is not guilty

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has filed a pretrial brief at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal saying he is not guilty of all 11 charges filed against him.
"If the law is applied fairly and the truth about the events in Bosnia is allowed to come out, he is confident that the trial chamber will find him not guilty," Karadzic and his team of legal advisers said in the brief released Tuesday by the U.N. court.
At previous hearings Karadzic has refused to enter pleas to the charges which include genocide, extermination and persecution. The court entered not guilty pleas on his behalf.
No date has yet been set for his trial but the court's president recently told the Security Council it will begin in late August.
Prosecutors accuse the 64-year-old Karadzic of masterminding atrocities by Serb forces throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war, including the deadly siege of the capital Sarajevo and the July 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men in the Srebrenica enclave.
Pretrial briefs are intended to outline for tribunal judges the prosecution and defense evidence, but Karadzic said the case against him is so wide-ranging that he could not address prosecution allegations in his 37-page brief.
Instead, he summarized the legal requirements prosecutors have to meet to prove each of the charges _ such as establishing intent commit genocide _ without relating them specifically to the allegations in his case.
But in an introduction, Karadzic said that "the nature of his defense is that he never planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted any of the crimes charged."
"He is not guilty of each and every charge alleged in the indictment," he added.
Karadzic also urged the trial chamber to "order the prosecution to reduce the scope of the case that he has to meet."
Karadzic was arrested on a Belgrade bus almost a year ago, disguised as a New Age healer after 13 years as one of the world's most-wanted fugitives from international justice.
His wartime military chief, Gen. Ratko Mladic, remains on the run.