Karadžić opening statement continues

In the continuation of his opening statement, Radovan Karadžić said that Bosnian Serbs accepted Bosnia-Herzegovina’s independence in 1992.

He said that Bosnian Serbs accepted the independence, under the condition that they would receive a constitutive entity.

The former Bosnian Serb political leader’s trial before the Hague Tribunal began on October 26, 2009.

Karadžić refused to attend the opening statement of the prosecution, claiming that he had not had enough time to prepare his defense for the trial.

Karadžić said that all political decisions of the Serbian Democratic Party, such as the one for forming a special assembly and the Republic of Bosnian Serbs, were a result of earlier moves towards Bosnian independence that there made by the Muslim Party for Democratic Actions (SDA) and the Croatian Democratic Union, which according to him, dismissed the will of the Serbs to remain a part of Yugoslavia.

He repeated that the adoption of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s independence declaration in October 1991 was illegal and unconstitutional, done without the Serb representatives, who left the meeting in protest.

As proof that the Serb political leadership in Bosnia was dedicated to finding a peaceful solution, Karadžić said that his party accepted the solution of “three Bosnias in one Bosnia,” for Bosnia-Herzegovina to be independent with three constitutive communities.

“We said then that we would leave Yugoslavia, that was the best concession, if we had our own constitutive entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Karadžić said.

That was the essence of the plan of Portuguese mediator Jose Cutileiro which all of the sides accepted on March 18, 1992, but that in the end saw SDA leader Alija Izetbegović withdraw his signature.

Karadžić quoted Cutileiro, who after the war stated that many lives could have been saved by that agreement, especially Muslim lives, and that Izetbegović was “encouraged” from abroad to not sign the deal, by countries that thought they knew what was best.

“The Serbs and Karadžić accepted everything, but they have no chance of keeping the peace,” Karadžić said.

The Bosnian Serb leader stands accused of the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina between the years of 1992 and 1994, as well as a campaign of terror against civilians in the siege of Sarajevo during the same period, and taking UN officials hostage in May and June 1995, as well as a count of genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

Karadžić was arrested in Belgrade in July 2008 and extradited to the Hague Tribunal.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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