Serbia PM Warns against Attacks on Bosnian Serbs as Karadzic Judged


Serbia's Prime Minster warned Thursday against attacks on Bosnia's Serb entity in light of the impending verdict from a U.N. war crimes court on its founder and former leader, Radovan Karadzic.

Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) mid-afternoon began delivering their long-awaited verdict on Karadzic, who founded the Republika Srpska (RS), a breakaway Bosnian territory, in 1992.

"I warn those who think of taking the verdict, which will be pronounced today for the former RS president, as an excuse for political or other attacks against the Republika Srpska," Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said.

Karadzic faces 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide for his alleged role in Bosnia's 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war that claimed more than 100,000 lives and displaced 2.2 million others.

The war ended with the Dayton peace accord, which divided Bosnia into two semi-independent entities, the RS and a Muslim-Croat Federation.

"We will stand with our people, we will protect the right to survive and exist in Republika Srpska," Vucic said.

He was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 17th anniversary of the launch of NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia in the Kosovo war.

The memorial event took place in the central Serbian town of Varvarin, where ten people were killed and 17 injured when NATO warplanes bombed a bridge.

"We will never threaten anyone, but we will not allow anyone to step on Serbs only because they are Serbs. We are nobody's doormat, we are a proud people," Vucic said.

Karadzic is still considered a hero by many Serbs in the RS, where officials on Sunday named a student dorm after him.

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