THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Major events in Bosnia's war — the 44-month Serb siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica — are "myths" that were staged or fabricated to vilify Serbs, Radovan Karadzic declared Tuesday at his Yugoslav war crimes trial.
Speaking on the second day of his defense, the wartime Bosnian Serb leader said the genocide indictment against him was riddled with false evidence. He also denied Serb culpability in the 1992-95 war that killed 100,000.
Prosecutors say Karadzic was the "supreme commander" of a campaign to kill or expel Muslims and Croats from eastern Bosnia and create an ethnically pure Serbian state. He is charged with two counts of genocide and nine other counts of murder, extermination, persecution, forced deportation and the seizing of 200 U.N. hostages. He faces possible life imprisonment.
During seven hours stretched over two days, Karadzic gave a uniquely Serb view of events. His account stood in glaring contrast to news reports and television footage at the time and also contradicted the verdicts against Bosnian Serb political leaders and military commanders who are already serving long sentences for war crimes.
Karadzic boasted that by the end of his trial he would prove those men innocent.
Karadzic, representing himself, won a minor victory from the court, which granted him permission to appeal its earlier refusal to delay his trial until mid June. The judges canceled the scheduled appearance today of the first prosecution witness and adjourned until the appellate court rules on his complaint that he had not been given enough time to prepare his defense.