Europe

Karadzic 'drove Bosnia war crimes' - UN prosecutors

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Media captionThe BBC's Anna Holligan: “This is one of the most complex trials in the history of international justice”

War crimes prosecutors have called former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic the "driving force" behind the persecution of non-Serbs in the 1990s.

Closing arguments are being heard in The Hague, where Mr Karadzic has been on trial for five years.

Prosecutors want him to get life imprisonment. He is charged with 11 crimes committed during the Bosnia war, including the most serious, genocide.

He listened intently in court. The verdict is expected in a year's time.

"The policy of ethnic cleansing has been fully exposed as has Dr Karadzic as its driving force," said UN prosecutor Alan Tieger.

Mr Karadzic is accused of acting together with former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic to expel or slaughter Bosnian Croats and Muslims (Bosniaks) who were living in areas claimed by ethnic Serbs.

Their campaign was designed to carve out an "ethnically pure" region. Mr Karadzic, 69, portrays himself as a patriotic leader who was engaged in a heroic struggle to protect the Serb identity.

He is expected to close his own defence on Wednesday and Thursday.

Notorious massacre

He is accused of genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered.

"Radovan Karadzic is waiting. On Wednesday it's his last chance to try to convince the judges that he is innocent," said his lawyer, Peter Robinson.

Mr Karadzic was arrested in 2008 in Belgrade, where he had spent years masquerading as a faith healer, heavily disguised.

Some survivors of the Bosnia war attended the trial. Mothers of Srebrenica spokeswoman Munira Subasic said "we expect that [the] criminal Karadzic will get a life sentence, that he will be found guilty not only of the genocide of Srebrenica but also the genocide in other cities of Bosnia".

More than 100,000 people died in the Bosnian war, in which atrocities were committed by all three warring sides.

Mr Mladic is also on trial at the special tribunal in The Hague, which is winding up the final war crimes cases relating to the wars in former Yugoslavia.

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