Radovan Karadzic's trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity began today in the Hague, but the former Bosnian Serb leader insisted in his 90-minute opening statement that rather than being punished for what happened during the war, "I should be rewarded for all the good things I have done," he said. "I did everything humanly possible to avoid the war … I succeeded in reducing the suffering of all civilians." Further, the 67-year-old blamed the Bosnian conflict—which killed 100,000—on Muslims and Croats, the AP reports.
"It is a terrible misconception and great injustice, this portrayal of the Serbs as the ones who started the war," said Karadzic, who painted himself as a reluctant figure in the violence, calling himself "mild" and "tolerant." The AP describes him as looking "relaxed and cheerful" as he read his statement, but war survivors observing the trial cried, "He's lying!" as Karadzic spoke. Karadzic also claimed that neither he nor anyone else believed there would be a genocide in Bosnia, al-Jazeera reports. And as for the Srebrenica massacre, which Karadzic is accused of masterminding, his legal adviser says he plans to "challenge the scale of the massacre," in which almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys died.