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Karadzic victims: 'Dark memories we hoped to put behind us'

The first appearance of Radovan Karadzic at the international war crimes tribunal aroused mixed feelings in Belgrade, reflecting the divisive attitude of Serbs towards their recent past.

Many Serbian TV stations aired the appearance live. "I hate to see any Serb before that court," said Milan Stojovic, 58. "I watched the trial against [former Serbian president Slobodan] Milosevic and follow now the one against [ultra-nationalist leader Vojislav] Seselj," he added. "I am convinced that the tribunal, as well as large parts of the international community, do not understand what went on during the war."

For Mira Jovicevic, 42, who fled Sarajevo in 1992, Mr Karadzic's appearance before the court "means stirring dark memories we hoped to put behind us". Ms Jovicevic lost her twin brother during the war in the besieged Bosnian capital. "My only desire was to forget what my family and I lived through," she said. "Now it's all coming back."

In Bosnia, the trial opening was described as "an absolute minimum of justice that victims of genocide and other crimes have been waiting for over the past 13 years". Munira Subasic, of the Association of Mothers of Srebrenica, said she was "happy to see Karadzic at the tribunal".