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War crimes suspect claims Bildt helped engineer immunity deal

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07:01 CEST+02:00
Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic is pressing Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt for information the suspected war criminal says will help prove he'd been promised immunity by the United States.

Karadzic wants both Sweden and the United States to be forced to provide evidence confirming the immunity deal he claims he was granted.

He requested the UN's war crimes court to press the two countries for the evidence of the deal in a court submission Monday.

"The information is critical to (his) case," he said in his submission.

Karadzic claims he struck a deal with top US official Richard Holbrooke in July 1996.

In return for disappearing from the public eye, he would be shielded from prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), he says.

But Karadzic also sought the court's help in interviewing Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who had helped mediate an end to the Balkans conflict.

"Mr. Bildt was in daily contact with Holbrooke during the period in which the agreement was made and was jointly responsible for obtaining the resignation of Dr. Karadzic," he claimed.

He had so far received no response to his requests for an interview with Bildt.

Holbrooke, who was the US peace negotiator in Bosnia at the time, has insisted that no such deal existed.

Karadzic, currently awaiting trial before the ICTY, claims the US government had indicated that it had documents relating to the deal. None have yet been produced, however.

The tribunal ruled in December that the alleged immunity deal, even if it existed, would be invalid and could not stop Karadzic's prosecution.

Karadzic, 63, was arrested on a Belgrade bus last July, 13 years after he was first indicted.

He faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, notably for 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.

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