Serb camp commander denies 80 war crimes

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The Independent Online

Dragan Nikolic, the first suspect to be indicted by the UN tribunal for former Yugoslavia, pleaded not guilty yesterday to 80 counts of war crimes including murder and rape during his role as camp commander at the Susica camp in north-east Bosnia.

The Bosnian Serb, who turned 43 this week in detention near the court in The Hague, was making his first appearance at the tribunal to enter a plea after his arrest by Nato-led peace-keepers a week ago.

The indictment against Niko-lic, issued in 1994, is a litany of violence allegedly inflicted by him and his subordinates.

Witnesses testified at 1995 hearings that Nikolic had introduced himself to prisoners as "God" and told them he held their lives in his hands as camp commander from late May 1992 until late September 1992.

The charges of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention represent the highest number of counts in any public indictment issued by the court so far.

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