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Karadzic to Defend Himself at Hague Trial

Radovan Karadzic confirmed Wednesday that he plans to defend himself on all 11 charges against him at the International Criminal Tribunal (ICT) for the former Yugoslavia.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic

Karadzic maintains he was promised immunity, a claim dismissed by the ICT

In his third appearance at The Hague-based court, the former Bosnian Serb leader criticized the speed of the case, saying it was intended only to give the appearance of a fair trial.

Karadzic, 63, repeated his claim that the trial was illegal because of a deal he allegedly made with US peace envoy Richard Holbrooke in 1996, who offered him immunity from prosecution.

Karadzic said that, in promising him immunity, Holbrooke was acting in the name of and with the backing of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the US, China, Britain, Russia and France.

Holbrooke has dismissed the claim, while Judge Iain Bonomy said it was irrelevant to the proceedings. "Even if it were all true, it would have no impact on the conduct of an independent court," the judge said.

Prosecutors to streamline charges

Bosnian Serb ultra-nationalists

The former Bosnian Serb leader still holds sway over many Serbian ultra-nationalists

The indictment covers genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left 10,000 dead and the July 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

Prosecutors said they would present a streamlined version of the indictment against Karadzic on Monday.

At his last appearance before the court on August 29, Karadzic refused to enter a plea. Pleas of not guilty were then entered by the tribunal on his behalf.

The former Bosnian Serb leader had been on the run for some 12 years before his arrest in Belgrade on July 21. Serbian authorities extradited him to The Hague on July 30.

Karadzic told Wednesday's pre-trial hearing that he and his family had undergone enormous suffering because he was forced to go into hiding and later stand trial despite the promise of immunity.

He also demanded more time to prepare his case and asked the court to help him put together a competent team of legal advisors.

The court did not set a date for the trial to begin.

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