‘Bildt interview supports my immunity deal’: Karadzic

Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic asserted on Monday that Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has submitted information backing his claims of an immunity deal.

Bildt, who served as European Union mediator during the Balkans conflict, was interviewed by Karadzic’s lawyer, Peter Robinson, on August 13th about the deal Karadzic claims to have struck with US diplomat Richard Holbrooke.

“The information provided by Minister Bildt demonstrates that … Dr Karadzic was reasonable in believing that Holbrooke had the apparent authority to represent that Dr Karadzic would not be prosecuted,” said a motion filed by Karadzic on Monday.

Bildt has previously rejected any notion that an agreement was struck with Karadzic.

“Such a deal never existed. There has not been any attempt to drop the charges,” he told Sveriges Radio in August 2008.

According to documents attached to the motion, Bildt told Robinson that he was not present at the meeting at which the “deal” was struck, nor did he believe Holbrooke had promised Karadzic “something more”.

But the defence lawyer maintained the interview “lends support to Dr Karadzic’s position that Holbrooke possessed the apparent authority to make such a representation”.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic lodged an appeal last month against a UN court’s rejection of the alleged immunity deal.

He says Holbrooke had convinced him to withdraw from public life in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Holbrooke – the architect of the Dayton peace accords that ended the 1990s Bosnian war – is now US President Barack Obama’s special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has denied making any deal with Karadzic.

Karadzic, 64, was arrested in Belgrade last July after 13 years on the run.

He faces 11 war crimes charges related mainly to his role in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left 10,000 people dead, and the July 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

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