Karadzic defends himself against genocide charges

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The Independent Online

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic today defended himself against genocide charges, claiming attacks against Muslims were self defence.

Karadzic is facing the UN war crimes tribunal accused of orchestrating a campaign to destroy the Muslim and Croat communities in eastern Bosnia to create an ethnically pure Serbian state.

Today he said his people defended themselves against Islamic fundamentalists who started the war in Bosnia to lay claim to the entire country.

Karadzic was giving his opening statement at the tribunal in The Hague. He was arrested in Belgrade 19 months ago after 13 years as a fugitive and faces charges of genocide and war crimes.

Karadzic told the tribunal his cause "is just and holy" and that he has a good case.

He traced the origins of the 1992-95 Bosnian war to the rejection by Bosnia's Muslim leadership of all power-sharing proposals.