Karadzic claims 'evidence' of immunity deal

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic filed “evidence” on Monday of an immunity deal he claims to have struck with a United States diplomat and asked the United Nations’s Yugoslav war-crimes court to throw out his case.

Karadzic claimed there were witnesses to US envoy Richard Holbrooke’s promise of immunity from prosecution in return for his disappearing from the public eye.

“The indictment should be dismissed, or the proceedings should be stayed, so that the hands of the tribunal are not stained with Holbrooke’s deception,” said a motion before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Dr Karadzic honoured his part of the agreement. He now seeks to require the tribunal to honour Holbrooke’s part.”

Karadzic, who faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, claims that Holbrooke made the undertaking at a meeting, which Karadzic did not attend, in Belgrade on July 18 and 19 1996.

Present were former Serb President Slobodan Milosevic, his intelligence chief, Jovica Stanisic, Bosnian Serb Assembly speaker Momcilo Krajisnik and Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha—all of whom had conveyed its outcome to Karadzic, he said.

The deal was signed by the Bosnian Serb representatives, but Holbrooke “declined to put his own obligation in writing”, states the motion.

Karadzic said Krajisnik and Buha could testify to Holbrooke’s promise. Milosevic died during his own war-crimes trial in 2006, while Stanisic was too ill to make any statements.

Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton peace agreement that ended the Bosnian conflict, is now the US representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He has denied making any immunity deal with Karadzic.

Karadzic (63) claimed to have 15 witnesses with information supporting the existence of the deal, as well as evidence from government documents, books and newspaper articles.

He asked the court for a hearing to “determine who is telling the truth about the Holbrooke agreement and who is not”.

The court said last December that any immunity deal would not be binding and could not stop the prosecution.—AFP


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