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As Radovan Karadzic trial ends, the former Bosnian Serb leader says he expects to be acquitted

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said Tuesday he expects to be acquitted of genocide and all other charges, as judges retired to consider their verdicts in his five-year war crimes trial.

Karadzic is charged with orchestrating atrocities by Bosnian Serb forces throughout the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including a deadly campaign of sniping and shelling in the capital, Sarajevo, and the 1995 murders of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

The conflict left 100,000 dead and forced thousands more from their homes.

"The war did not happen as I wanted it," Karadzic said in his final comments to the three judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. "It was horrible and let's hope to God it was the last, but that is not in my power."

Judges are expected to take months to reach verdicts on the 11-count indictment.

Prosecutors accuse Karadzic, 69, of being a key member of a criminal plot to drive Muslims and Croats from Serb-held territory by unleashing campaigns or murder, rape and persecution.

PHOTO: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic addresses the court of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague Netherlands in this image taken from TV, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. 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." (AP Photo/ICTY via Associated Press Television)
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic addresses the court of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague Netherlands in this image taken from TV, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. 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." (AP Photo/ICTY via Associated Press Television)

"None of what happened was a product of the behavior of the state," said Karadzic, leader of the breakaway Bosnian Serb administration.

Nearly 600 prosecution and defense witnesses testified at the trial that opened — with Karadzic boycotting proceedings — on Oct. 26, 2009.

"The size of this case has been unprecedented," Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said.

Judges also will have to pore over 11,500 exhibits and tens of thousands of pages of written evidence.

Survivors of the siege of Sarajevo hope Karadzic will be sentenced to life in prison.

"I think that there is no adequate punishment for crimes that he committed here," 60-year-old Rabija Idrizbegovic said in the Bosnian capital. "I know, and I'm sure that The Hague (court) has enough evidence to punish him. They asked for life imprisonment, and I support that."

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Amer Cohadzic in Sarajevo, Bosnia, contributed to this report.

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