Tory candidate backed Karadzic

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Political Correspondent

Labour yesterday demanded that the Prime Minister repudiate John Kennedy, a Tory parliamentary candidate who has defended a Bosnian Serb leader accused of war crimes.

Mr Kennedy, originally John Gvozdenovic, has spoken on television seeking to explain the actions of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader wanted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal on charges of genocide for "ethnic cleansing".

More recently, Mr Kennedy, without naming Mr Karadzic, said that anyone against whom there is evidence must answer charges.

Calum Macdonald, a Labour MP interested in Bosnia, said: "Karadzic has the blood of thousands of innocent civilians on his hands. It is an absolute disgrace that an apologist for an indicted war criminal should be selected as a Tory candidate. I shall be writing to the Prime Minister today calling upon him to dissociate himself from the views of Mr Kennedy."

Mr Kennedy, who has denied being an apologist for Mr Karadzic, was selected eight weeks ago as the Conservative candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, a new marginal seat in the West Midlands.