Image: Radovan Karadzic at Hague
Jerry Lampen  /  Reuters file
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic stands in the court room of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the start of his initial appearance in The Hague on July 31.
updated 8/26/2008 6:33:50 PM ET 2008-08-26T22:33:50

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has called for the U.N. genocide and crimes against humanity case against him to be dismissed because negative publicity means he can not get a fair trial.

In a three-page filing dated Aug. 24 and released Tuesday, Karadzic said any presumption of innocence "has been ... reduced to a joke" by what he called "demonization in the media."

The document's release came just days before Karadzic was due to make his second appearance at the U.N.'s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

On Friday he will be asked by Scottish judge Iain Bonomy to enter pleas to 11 charges. If Karadzic refuses, the court will enter not guilty pleas on his behalf and begin preparations for trial. If convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence.

Karadzic was extradited to The Hague after his arrest in Serbia in July while posing as a bearded new age guru. He had been on the run for 13 years.

Since his arrival in The Hague, Karadzic has been held in a cell at the tribunal's detention unit built inside the walls of a Dutch jail near the North Sea coast.

He is charged with genocide for allegedly masterminding atrocities, including the slaughter of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995 and the deadly siege of Sarajevo, when he was president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb republic.

In the written statement, Karadzic wrote that "nobody in the world believes that there is any possibility of an acquittal."

The filing released Tuesday was Karadzic's latest attempt to draw attention to a deal he claims he cut with the United States to disappear from the public eye in return for immunity from prosecution at the U.N. court.

Karadzic says he agreed to the deal with U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke in the aftermath of the peace deal known as the Dayton Accord that ended Bosnia's bloody 1992-95 war.

Holbrooke has rejected the claim, calling it "an invented story" that no one should believe.

In his latest filing, Karadzic says the deal meant that he was unable to defend himself against "the systematic, continuous and total demonization of my person" in the media following his disappearance in 1996.

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