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Karadzic denies claims of masterminding genocide

THE HAGUE, Netherlands--Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic cast himself as a “mild man, a tolerant man” as he opened his defense Tuesday in his long-running genocide trial, claiming he tried to prevent fighting and then worked to reduce casualties in the bloody 1992-95 Bosnian war.

His claims brought snorts of derision and cries of “He's lying! He's lying!” from some Muslim survivors of the war who were watching the trial from the public gallery at the U.N. tribunal.

In another of the tribunal's courtrooms, Goran Hadzic, a former leader of rebel Serbs in Croatia, became the last of the tribunal's 161 indicted suspects to face justice as his trial got under way.

Karadzic told judges he was a “physician and literary man” who was a reluctant player in the violent breakup of Yugoslavia. He said before the war many of his friends, including his hairdresser, were Muslims.

“Everybody who knows me knows I am not an autocrat, I am not aggressive, I am not intolerant,” he told judges. “On the contrary, I am a mild man, a tolerant man with great capacity to understand others.”

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