THE HAGUE (AFP) — The United States promised Radovan Karadzic that he would avoid trial at the UN war crimes court if he withdrew from public life, the Bosnian Serb wartime leader claimed in court documents seen Friday.
"Mr (Richard) Holbrooke undertook on behalf of the USA that I would not be tried before this tribunal..." Karadzic said in a written submission to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where he faces genocide charges.
In the document, made public by the tribunal, Karadzic said the former US negotiator, credited with designing the Dayton peace agreement that ended Bosnia's bloody 1992-95 war, had made an offer in 1996 "in the name of the USA" to "the statesmen and ministers who were my authorized representatives".
"The offer was as follows: I must withdraw not only from public but also from party offices and completely disappear from the public arena, not give interviews and not even publish literary works, in a word, become invisible long enough for the Dayton agreement to be implemented in full."
In turn, Holbrooke promised Karadzic freedom from prosecution by the ICTY, and that his Serbian Democratic Party would not be prevented from taking part in elections, the document claims.
Karadzic also alleged that then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright proposed to Biljana Plavsic, the president of Republika Srpska, "that I get out of the way and go to Russia, Greece or Serbia and open a private clinic or at least go to Bijeljina -- just as long as I left Pale..."
Holbrooke had denied in an interview with CNN on Thursday any such deal with Karadzic.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »