Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic has launched an appeal of his 40-year prison sentence before a United Nations court and demanded a retrial, claiming that his original trial was a "flawed process" that "led to an unjust result."
Addressing the start of a two-day appeal hearing by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in The Hague, Karadzic on April 23 called on the UN judges to overturn his conviction for atrocities committed during Bosnia-Herzegovina's 1992-95 war.
The 72-year-old Karadzic told the five-judge panel that Serbian forces acted only in self-defense during the conflict, which ended with more than 100,000 people dead and some 2.2 million others forced to leave their homes.
"There is so much evidence that our strategy was not offensive. Our strategy was defensive in all of Bosnia," he asserted.
Karadzic and his legal team argued that prosecutors and trial judges committed a number of legal and procedural errors during his seven-year trial.
Prosecutor Katrina Gustafson charged that "every one of [Karadzic's] grounds of appeal suffer from basic flaws," and that he "failed to show any unfairness."
The prosecution is also appealing, asking the judges to increase Karadzic's sentence to life imprisonment.
A verdict is expected by the end of the year.
Karadzic was convicted in March 2016 of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, including the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, and sentenced to 40 years behind bars.
The massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys near Srebrenica is considered the worst mass killing on European soil since World War II.
Karadzic was sentenced by the judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which officially closed in December.
The MICT is handling outstanding UN war crimes cases for the Balkans and Rwanda.