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Page last updated at 22:10 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 23:10 UK

Karadzic appeal deadline passes

Radovan Karadzic
Mr Karadzic masqueraded as an expert in human quantum energy

A deadline for ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to appeal against extradition to the Netherlands on genocide and other charges has expired.

An appeal notice is said to have been posted by his lawyer just before 2000 (1800 GMT) at an unknown location in Serbia in order to delay the process.

Any appeal is expected to fail and Mr Karadzic is likely to be sent to The Hague within days, correspondents say.

Mr Karadzic was captured on Monday after more than 12 years in hiding.

He had been posing as an expert in alternative medicine, using the name of Dragan Dabic.

The real Mr Dabic told the BBC that he had never lost his identity card, which correspondents say raises suspicions that it was cloned by high-ranking Serb officials with access to the country's databases.

Last possible day

The formal appeal notice against Mr Karadzic's extradition was posted somewhere in Serbia minutes before the official deadline ran out, the BBC understands.

How did he find my name and my surname among 10 million Serbs?
Dragan Dabic

His lawyers said earlier they would send the appeal from the remotest post-box they could find at the last possible moment in order to delay the legal process.

"I'll use the legal opportunity to appeal on the last possible day," said Svetozar Vujacic, one of Mr Karadzic's legal team.

Under Serbian law, all Mr Karadzic, 63, needs is proof that the appeal was posted before the deadline and the court must now simply wait for it to arrive, the BBC's Christian Fraser in Belgrade says.

But it is almost certain the appeal will be unsuccessful, our correspondent adds.

Once the court receives the appeal notice from Mr Karadzic, a panel of judges will meet to consider it. If it fails, the case will be handed over to the government, which issues the final extradition order.

Mr Karadzic is accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 1992 to 1995.

Masquerading as expert

Speculation has been rife over the identity of the real Mr Dabic.

Dragan Dabic at his home in Ruma, Serbia, on 25 July
Serbian officials said a pensioner seemed to be the real Dragan Dabic

Some reports suggested he was a slain Serb fighter, others that he was a civilian killed in Bosnia's capital during the war.

Officials announced on Thursday that the real Mr Dabic is almost certainly a 66-year-old father-of-two living in Ruma, a Serbian town just north of Belgrade.

"Dabic's ID differs from Karadzic's only in the photographs of the two," said Rasim Ljajic, a government official in charge of war crimes.

THE CHARGES
Eleven counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities
Charged over shelling Sarajevo during the city's siege, in which some 12,000 civilians died
Allegedly organised the massacre of up to 8,000 Bosniak men and youths in Srebrenica
Targeted Bosniak and Croat political leaders, intellectuals and professionals
Unlawfully deported and transferred civilians because of national or religious identity
Destroyed homes, businesses and sacred sites

Mr Dabic, a market gardener and pensioner, told the BBC that he had never lost his identity card.

"It's always been with me," he said. "Only the police have access to my ID."

"How did he find my name and my surname among 10 million Serbs?" he asked.

Our correspondent says such a question places suspicion on high-ranking Serbian officials.

After his capture in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, it emerged that Mr Karadzic had been masquerading as an expert in "human quantum energy".

He had a website and gave out business cards during alternative medicine lectures.

'Tactics'

Mr Karadzic intends to conduct his own defence in The Hague once extradited.

There is speculation that he intends to drag proceedings out for as long as possible - possibly until 2010, when the court's United Nations mandate runs out.

Mr Karadzic led the formation of a separate Bosnian Serb assembly in 1991 - one of the sparks that ignited the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.

He has been indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide over the massacre of up to 8,000 mainly-Muslim Bosniaks at Srebrenica in 1995.

He has also been charged over the shelling of Sarajevo, and the use of 284 UN peacekeepers as human shields in May and June 1995.


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