(AFP) – Jul 28, 2008
BELGRADE (AFP) — Serbia's war crimes court awaited Monday an appeal by Radovan Karadzic against his transfer to The Hague as footage was aired of the Bosnian Serb wartime leader under the guise of a medicine man.
Attempts by Karadzic to delay his transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) appeared to have succeeded, at least until a mass rally planned for central Belgrade by his supporters on Tuesday.
"The appeal hasn't been delivered to the court yet (and) it's almost certain that it won't arrive today, although I can't be sure," Ivana Ramic, spokeswoman of the Serbian war crimes court in charge of the case, told AFP.
Karadzic's lawyer Svetozar Vujacic said he was confident a ploy to delay his client's transfer -- to face charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity -- had worked.
The only confirmation the appeal was filed came from Karadzic's brother Luka, who said it had been sent from a remote post office at the very last minute required under Serbian law, just before a midnight Friday deadline.
Once the appeal is received, a three-judge panel of the Serbian court has three days to decide on its merits before the justice ministry must issue a final order for the transfer of Karadzic to the ICTY in The Hague.
Karadzic, 63, was arrested on July 21 in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, after more than a decade on the run disguised as an alternative medicine guru who specialised in "human quantum energy".
Ultra-nationalists have staged daily protests in support of Karadzic since his capture, some of them marred by attacks on journalists and threatening chants against Serbia's pro-Western leaders.
The hardline opposition Serbian Radical Party said it would organise a "massive" protest against Karadzic's arrest starting in central Belgrade at 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Tuesday.
A firebrand Radicals leader, Aleksandar Vucic, said he expected tens of thousands of people to attend the rally.
Meanwhile, Serbian state television RTS showed footage of Karadzic, under his alter ego of alternative health guru Dragan Dabic, attending a celebration at a private hospital on June 22.
"Good afternoon, how do you do," Karadzic, with a long grey beard and grey hair tucked under a white hat, was heard saying.
His eyes hidden behind the thick glasses, Karadzic presented his female companion to his host, a doctor called Sava Bojovic.
His voice and accent appeared different from his last public appearances back in 1996.
Karadzic vanished from public life in that year, shortly after the ICTY issued an arrest warrant for him.
Whilst in hiding, he completely changed his appearance and identity, styling himself as Dabic and donning the large glasses and white Panama atop long white hair and a bushy beard.
Karadzic's brother Luka visited the ex-Bosnian Serb leader in a detention cell in Belgrade again on Monday, bringing him two suits, local media reported.
Further details about the operation that snared him also emerged, with police sources quoted in the daily Press saying more than 50 secret service agents had tracked Karadzic for months after acting on a tip-off.
Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said a search of Karadzic's last hideout in his Belgrade flat had uncovered military documents of his Bosnian Serb regime.
The documents concerned meetings of his military chiefs of staff from Republika Srpska, the self-declared state Karadzic carved out during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war. An entity of the same name exists in post-war Bosnia.
Such documents were likely to be used at Karadzic's trial in The Hague, since Serbia is obliged to provide the ICTY with its archives for court proceedings.
Karadzic is notably accused of playing a leading role in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo, which claimed more than 10,000 lives, and the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim males -- the bloodiest atrocity in Europe since World War II.
His arrest -- greeted with celebration in Sarajevo -- improved the prospects of Serbia joining the European Union, which has set Belgrade's cooperation with the ICTY as a precondition for membership talks.
However it has caused a spike in nationalist sentiment in Serbia, where the opposition is trying to pile pressure on the new pro-European government, accusing it of treachery.
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