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Karadzic's Computer: Lawyer Says Laptop Holds Key To Defense

Radovan Karadzic in The Hague

Radovan Karadzic in The Hague

Serbia has been abuzz with reports that a laptop computer belonging to Bosnian wartime leader and current Hague defendant Radovan Karadzic has been found.

Officials from Serbia's Action Team for Cooperation with The Hague Tribunal credit an unspecified tip and "the activities of competent state bodies" with the confiscation on August 11 of a bag containing the laptop, numerous newspaper clippings, and 55 CDs.

DNA tests are reportedly being conducted to determine that the materials in fact belonged to Karadzic.

One person not buying the reports is Svetozar Vujacic, a member of Karadzic's legal team. Speaking to RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Vujacic said the laptop was confiscated at the time of his client's arrest. (The defense claims Karadzic was arrested on July 18 and held three days before an announcement was made.)

What Vujacic doesn't dispute is the potential value of the find.

Vujacic says the CDs contain recordings of conversations with former officials ranging from U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair that contain, in the lawyer's words, "impeaching evidence against the world community" -- including purported evidence that "it was not Serbia and Republika Srpska that caused the war, but Western powers," and that the massacres in Srebrenica and Bratunac "were performed under the auspices of the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Germany, and America."

The evidence to be provided by the laptop and accompanying materials, Vujacic says, will acquit Karadzic and "compromise the entire world order."

Not everyone agrees.

Zoran Dragisic, a military and political analyst, said even if the materials include unsavory information about the West's role in the Bosnian war, Karadzic is hardly likely to be spared.

"The fact is that people in Srebrenica were killed and that Karadzic headed Republika Srpska at the time," Dragisic says. "His responsibility remains."

Sonja Biserko, the head of the Helsinki Committee of Human Rights in Serbia, said continued speculation over Karadzic, his laptop, and other elements related to his defense are unimportant compared to the central fact that he has finally been arrested.

"It's irrelevant whether they found his laptop now or earlier," she said. "This is just a farce meant to turn attention away from the basic fact that Karadzic stands accused of the gravest of war crimes, including genocide."

-- Zoran Glavonjic

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