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Former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic insists he is innocent as his genocide trial nears end

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic insisted Wednesday that United Nations prosecutors do not have "a shred of evidence" linking him to atrocities throughout the Bosnian war, and accused them of putting the entire Serb people on trial.

In an 874-page written brief summarizing his defense, Karadzic said he should not be convicted by the U.N.'s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, but acknowledged that, as wartime leader of the breakaway Serb entity in Bosnia, he "bears moral responsibility for any crimes committed by citizens and forces of Republika Srpska."

Karadzic is charged with crimes including genocide and persecution committed by Bosnian Serb forces during the 1992-95 war that left 100,000 dead. Prosecutors say he should be convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

PHOTO: FILE - A Thursday, July 11, 2013 photo from files showing former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic awaiting the start of his appeal at the courtroom of the U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands. Prosecutors called former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic a liar in closing remarks at his genocide trial, saying his denials of responsibility for atrocities committed on a massive scale while he was in charge lack any credibility. Prosecutor Alan Tieger said Karadzic, 69, should be imprisoned for life if found guilty. Karadzic says he is innocent of any wrongdoing and was unaware of the 1995 slaughter of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys by Serb forces at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II. (AP Photo/Michael Kooren, Pool, File)
FILE - A Thursday, July 11, 2013 photo from files showing former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic awaiting the start of his appeal at the courtroom of the U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands. Prosecutors called former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic a liar in closing remarks at his genocide trial, saying his denials of responsibility for atrocities committed on a massive scale while he was in charge lack any credibility. Prosecutor Alan Tieger said Karadzic, 69, should be imprisoned for life if found guilty. Karadzic says he is innocent of any wrongdoing and was unaware of the 1995 slaughter of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys by Serb forces at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II. (AP Photo/Michael Kooren, Pool, File)

In court, the 69-year-old said his 11-count indictment is based on the contention that he was a key member of a criminal plot to rid Serb-dominated areas of Bosnia of Muslims and Croats.

Without that theory, "the only thing that would remain would be my good deeds toward my people and the other two peoples," he told judges who are expected to take months to reach verdicts.

In his written arguments, Karadzic said he was unaware at the time of the slaughter of Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces at Srebrenica in 1995 — the worst massacre in Europe since World War II — and said evidence at his trial called into question the number of people killed — widely accepted as more than 7,000 — and whether the slayings amounted to genocide.

He accused prosecutors Wednesday of building their case on "allusions, random chit-chat, (and) testimony by their own employees."

And suggesting that prosecutors were trying not only him, but all Bosnian Serbs, Karadzic said: "If I am crazy, are a million and a half crazy who let their only sons go into freezing trenches to defend their homes and families for three years?"

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