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Fiery Karadzic refuses to plead in genocide case

Ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic

Ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic made a defiant stand before a U.N. court preparing to try him on genocide charges, refusing to enter pleas Friday and branding the tribunal a NATO proxy out to "liquidate" him.

Judge Iain Bonomy entered not guilty pleas on Karadzic's behalf on 11 counts. That will allow pretrial proceedings to proceed even though Karadzic rejects the court's legitimacy.

Karadzic is charged with genocide for allegedly masterminding atrocities, including the slaughter of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995 and the deadly siege of Sarajevo, when he was president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb republic.

He blended measured belligerence with sarcasm at his second appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslav, declining to respond to an indictment that accused him of orchestrating Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

"This court is representing itself falsely as a court of the international community, whereas it is in fact a court of NATO whose aim is to liquidate me," Karadzic said. "I will not plead."

Bosnian Serbs count NATO as an enemy after the alliance launched a bombing campaign in August 1995, ultimately forcing the Serbs to negotiate an end to the war with the Dayton peace agreement.

Karadzic confirmed he intended to represent himself with a team of legal advisers, despite Bonomy's warning that the issues ahead would be complex and nuanced.

When the Scottish judge said the rules required him to plead not guilty on the defendant's behalf if Karadzic refused, Karadzic responded, "I would rather hear you say that at the end of the trial rather than the beginning."

Fiery Karadzic refuses to plead in genocide case 08/29/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:41pm]
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