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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
'New' poems by Karadzic published
New Karadzic book
Radovan Karadzic has been on the run since 1996
A book of what is said to be new poetry by former Bosnian Serb leader and fugitive war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic is being launched in Serbia.

The publisher told AP news agency the poems had been completed in the past few months, but some readers said much of the material seemed familiar.

One chapter of the new book is called I Can Look For Myself.

A spokeswoman at The Hague said that if the poems were new it was an outrage Mr Karadzic was free to write them.

The town burns like a piece of incense
Radovan Karadzic

"Instead of hiding in a pit like Saddam Hussein, he is writing books - you don't write books from a pit," said Florence Hartmann, spokeswoman for top United Nations war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte.

"It is outrageous that a fugitive and an indictee is free to write and have books published."

Radovan Karadzic is a name more associated with the killing of Muslim civilians in Sarajevo and Srebrenica than with poetry, the BBC's Matt Prodger in Belgrade says.

But the fact that the former Bosnian Serb leader has been on the run for almost 10 years does not appear to have impeded his literary career, our correspondent adds.

The book includes poems called Plant A Rose, Dangerous Dream and Black Fairytale.

Karadzic cult

The new book, Under the Left Breast of the Century, was launched in Pozarevac, the home town of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who is currently standing trial for war crimes in The Hague.

Chapters are called I Can Look For Myself and Mad Spear
Poem titles include Morning Bomb, Sarajevo, Day And Night, Farewell Assassins
One poem refers to a remote Montenegrin monastery, St Vasilije Ostroski, thought by some to be one of the indictee's hiding-places

"I don't know where he's hiding but I wouldn't say even if I knew," private publisher Slavoljub Obradovic told AP in Pozarevac.

Our correspondent says the popularity of Mr Karadzic's work among some Serbs owes more to his heroic status than it does to any literary merit.

Last year another book he allegedly wrote from hiding, Miraculous Chronicles of the Night, won a Serbian book prize.

T-shirts, posters and badges emblazoned with his image can be found easily on the streets of Belgrade.

Mr Karadzic has evaded several attempts by Nato-led peacekeepers to catch him and is believed to be hiding in the countryside of Bosnia or Serbia and Montenegro.

This may explain why this latest book dwells on emotive descriptions of landscapes and wildlife, our correspondent says.

Mr Karadzic, a psychiatrist until he became leader of the Bosnian Serbs in the early 1990s, wrote poetry and stories as a hobby. Some of his work has been republished since he disappeared.

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07 Mar 03 |  Europe

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