At his first appearance before the UN war crimes tribunal at the Hague, Radovan Karadzic went on the attack, saying he had been kidnapped and feared for his life.
The former Bosnian Serb leader said he had been siezed three days before his official arrest date and had been deprived of the right to make a phone call.
He also accused former mediator Richard Holbrooke of plotting to kill him:
“This is a question of life and death,” he said. “If Mr. Holbrooke still wants my death and regrets there is no capital punishment I am wondering if his arm is long enough to reach me even here.”
Karadzic has been indicted on 11 counts of war crimes in connection with the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s.
He faces two charges of genocide over the siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of around 8000 Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.
Karadzic said he would enter a plea after studying the charges and a revised indictment prosecutors are preparing. He has been given 30 days to do this.
The former Bosnian Serb leader has decided to represent himself during the trial, even though he says he has an “invisible advisor”.
The next hearing has been adjourned until August 29.
In the meantime, the tribunal Judge said Karadzic will be held in a Dutch detention centre, but could file for provisional release.