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25 Jul, 2008 21:32

Karadzic’s judges appointed

The Chairman of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Fausto Pocar, has named the three judges who'll oversee the trial of Radovan Karadzic on war crimes charges.

Meanwhile, Radovan Karadzic’s lawyer Svetozar Vujacic says his client won't be extradited to The Hague before Wednesday, but the Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic says the former Bosnian Serb leader could already be in The Hague by Monday evening.

Karadzic’s lawyer had previously said he would lodge an appeal against his client’s extradition to The Hague at the last minute on Friday evening, sending it at 7.55pm by registered mail from a post-office in Serbia: whether or not he actually did so is not known at this moment.

Vujacic has also submitted papers at court in Belgrade arguing that his client’s arrest didn’t follow correct legal procedures. He says that despite official information that Karadzic was arrested on Monday, he was detained on Friday.

“We have evidence and three witnesses who were there on July 18. Someone will have a lot of explaining to do about why they lied to us and the world public about the date of Radovan Karadzic's arrest,” said Vujacic.

On their part, police are investigating how Karadzic evaded capture for so long.

Radovan Karadzic has already said he will defend himself in court, although lawyers who are close to him have offered to do the job.

Svetozar Vujacic is not only Karadzic’s lawyer but he’s also a friend of the family, who has known Karadzic for years, and he believes it is a very sad day for Serbia because the country has accused and let down another hero.

Karadzic’s family wants to arrive from Pale to be with him. Two of his brothers have already visited him in his detention cell.

One of them, Luka Karadzic, in an exclusive interview to RT, said the High Representative of the International Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Miroslav Lajcak, said he had made the decision that the family should not be allowed to come to Belgrade.

“That’s a demonstration of force, that’s the democracy that the West is trying to implement here in this region,” Luka Karadzic said.

Miroslav Lajcak banned the family from leaving the country because of suspicions they helped Karadzic elude capture for 13 years.

Lajcak ordered local police to confiscate the travel documents of Karadzic's wife Ljiljana Zelen-Karadzic, son Aleksandar, daughter Sonja and son-in-law Branislav Jovicic.

Meanwhile, journalists have tracked down the ‘real’ Dragan Dabic, under whose identity Karadzic had been living for years.

He is a 66-year-old construction worker from Ruma, a town north of Belgrade.

For more background on Karadzic’s arrest and his life on the run, please follow the link

Meanwhile, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic has hailed the arrest of Karadzic, saying anyone responsible for crimes in the former Yugoslavia has to face justice. He says his capture shows that those in power in Serbia respect both national and international law.

Serbia's new government is to reinstate the ambassadors it withdrew from EU countries that recognised Kosovo’s independence. Belgrade believes the move will speed up its bid to join the European club. The Serbian ambassadors were recalled from those countries who recognised Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February.

Earlier Brussels had warned Serbia that it couldn’t join the EU unless it handed over the war crimes suspect.

Karadzic was on the run for more than a decade before his arrest earlier this week on charges of genocide and war crimes. It's been reported that he was betrayed by people close to him.