AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Less than a month after his capture, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is wanted in court - as a witness rather than as the defendant.
Momcilo Krajisnik, the former parliament speaker of the Bosnian Serb ministate during the 1992-95 war, submitted a request Thursday to call Karadzic at a hearing in his appeal of his conviction on five counts of war crimes.
Krajisnik was convicted in 2006 by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague and sentenced to 27 years imprisonment for the persecution, extermination and the murder of Muslims and Croats during the war, which left more than 100,000 dead. He was acquitted on genocide charges.
An appeals court is scheduled to hold a hearing next week. It is unusual for an appellate court to hear new evidence, and the judges must be persuaded that critical evidence could not have been made available during the original trial.
In his submission, Krajisnik said he had previously wanted Karadzic to testify on his behalf, but his former ally in the Bosnian Serb leadership had then been a fugitive and could not appear in court.
But in 2001 - several years after Karadzic went into hiding - he gave defense investigators a statement that Krajisnik had hoped to introduce as evidence, the submission said.
The court refused, however, accepting objections by the prosecution that Karadzic could not be cross-examined, said Krajisnik's submission, released by the court.
"To state the obvious, Mr. Karadzic has only recently become available," wrote Krajisnik, who is acting as his own lawyer.
Karadzic was captured in Belgrade, where he ran an alternative health clinic. He was heavily disguised in a bushy beard and long hair.
Krajisnik said he waited until now to submit his arguments because he needed to "to take stock of this extraordinary and totally unpredictable turn of events." He also wanted to give Karadzic time to settle into the U.N. detention unit where both men are being held.
Karadzic could testify that Krajisnik "wanted to avoid war at all costs," and attest to his "tolerance and conciliatory nature" toward Bosnian Muslims, the defendant wrote.
Krajisnik said it was clear during his trial that Karadzic was the most significant figure in his case, and his testimony could have affected the verdict.
He said Karadzic's arrest, just when he was preparing his appeal, was "an extraordinary coincidence." Failing to take advantage of the opportunity now "simply does not bear contemplation," he said.