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Bildt to meet accused war criminal's lawyer

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Bildt to meet accused war criminal's lawyer
Rodova Karadzic
07:22 CEST+02:00
Foreign minister Carl Bildt has agreed to meet the lawyer representing former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to discuss the possibility of testifying at the accused war criminal's trial.

Karadazic's lawyer requested the meeting "to know whether to ask Mr Bildt to testify or not," Carl Henrik Ehrenkrona, the general director for the foreign ministry's legal service, told AFP.

"There are discussions going on to find the proper time and place," he added, declining to give further details.

Bildt was a mediator for the European Union in the Balkans conflict, before becoming the first post-war High Representative of Bosnia-Herzegovina in December 1995.

Karadzic has asked the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he is accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, to press Sweden and the United States for evidence confirming an immunity deal.

He claims he struck a deal with top US official Richard Holbrooke in July 1996, shielding him from prosecution in return for disappearing from the public eye.

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

On June 2, the Swedish justice ministry told the court that Bildt would be ready to testify on this subject, but added that the minister "to the best of his knowledge has no relevant information on the alleged immunity agreement."

The tribunal ruled in December the alleged immunity deal, if it existed, would be invalid and could not stop the trial.

Karadzic, 64, was arrested on a Belgrade bus last July, 13 years after he was first indicted.

He faces 11 charges, 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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