(Listen to Bos’ report here)
Not everyone in Belgrade has been interested to see the world’s most wanted war crimes suspect appear on television at the UN court. In a pub near the detention center from where ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was extradited Wednesday, July 30, Serbs were watching a football match instead.
Belgrade resident Rajko Mitric understands their reluctance to see the man who is on trial on charges that include genocide related to the killing of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
"I am not going to watch the trial on television because there is nothing new to be seen," he told BosNewsLife. "I have seen the the trial of leaders such as former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. And I have noticed that the trial at the Tribunal was not fair. It is a political trial."
Karadzic appeared for the first time Thursday at the U.N. Tribunal in The Hague. During the appearance, he waived his right to an attorney in the courtroom.
Some are pleased with the television coverage, for business reasons.
A Belgrade tourism agency is hoping to cash in on the Karadzic notoriety by launching a sightseeing tour to the apartment where Karadzic lived while practicing alternative medicine, as well as to the nearby cafe and grocery store he visited.
"The tourists, like they say, want to see the building, the cafe, to see where he spend his time," said Dragana Tubic, the manager of the tour. "That is why we organize this. It is not something political that we propose." BosNewsLife arrived as negotiations were ongoing with the owner of the appartment which was rented by Karadzic. "I know you want to provoke me with your question, but not me," he said when asked to give more details. "I am a chess player," he said, refusing to give his name.
Officials say the negotiations center around whether to open the apartment to the public for a fee, and perhaps even allow people to sleep there. They hope news about the UN tribunal and Karadzic will help spark interest in other things Serbian, including the the country’s cultural heritage. (Part of this BosNewsLife News story also airs on its affiliate network Voice of America (VOA). www.voanews.com).