Serbia still waits for Karadzic's appeal, nationalists plan demos

Other News Materials 29 July 2008 12:29 (UTC +04:00)

Special war crimes court in Belgrade is still waiting for Radovan Karadzic's appeal against extradition to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague to get to the court, court officials said Tuesday.

By the end of working hours Monday, the special court - part of Belgrade's district court which deals with war crimes - received all the post shipments send during the weekend, but not the appeal, court officials said.

Karadzic's lawyer Svetozar Vujacic earlier said he would send the appeal at the last minute before the deadline on Friday midnight from "a postbox outside Belgrade." Vujacic however refused later to comment on the appeal prompting speculation that he had not filed the appeal at all, reported dpa

The court has no legal deadline in which to wait for the appeal and can extradite Karadzic any time, but his lawyer said that "five days would be reasonable time to wait for the appeal."

If the appeal was filed and reaches the court, the panel of judges will have three days to discuss the appeal. The extradition warrant is signed by the Ministry of Justice. In previous cases, the court took couple of days to decide on the extradition.

Karadzic's status as one of the top war crimes suspects in the Balkans, and the uncertainty of his appeal raised speculation by both media and local analysts that he will be sent to The Hague "secretly and discreetly" in the early morning hours, most probably from an army airport in Belgrade.

While Karadzic awaits his extradition, Serbian opposition ultranationalist Radical party - whose leader Vojislav Seselj is also on trial in The Hague - and other ultranationalists organizations have been organizing protests against Karadzic's arrest daily.

During these demos, several journalists were attacked and one seriously injured, causing lower media coverage of the protests.

Protesters clashed with the police, ransacked bars and offices, destroyed several sculptures in downtown Belgrade, and threatened government officials, calling them "traitors."

Radicals and other nationalists now plan an "All Serbs" rally on Tuesday evening.

The rally will be "Gandhi like," according to the Radical party's secretary general Aleksandar Vucic, adding that journalists would be protected. Radicals expect thousands of people to gather. In previous days only several hundred people protested.