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U.N. Tribunal Holds Hearing On Karadzic Trial

This video frame grab image taken from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia television, and made available through AP Television News, shows former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in court at the Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday.
AP/ICTY via APTN
This video frame grab image taken from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia television, and made available through AP Television News, shows former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in court at the Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1990s Bosnian war, appeared in court in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Karadzic, who confirmed he intends to act as his own lawyer, once again raised his claim that U.S. peace envoy Richard Holbrooke granted him immunity in exchange for disappearing from the political scene, thus paving the way to a peace settlement of the Bosnian war. Holbrooke has always denied this claim.

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Judge Iain Bonomy said he and two other judges were studying Karadzic's motions on his claimed immunity deal. But he also warned the defendant not to try to exploit his appearances in court for political purposes.

The judge raised the specter hanging over this tribunal: Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, who acted in his own defense and turned that trial into a propaganda exercise. Milosevic died in 2006, four years into the proceedings.

Many international law experts hope the prosecution has learned from other mistakes of the Milosevic trial, in particular avoiding an overambitious indictment that covers too many crimes and requires too many witnesses.

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