Dr Karadzic Doesn't Like Me, He Blames the Messenger

17/10/2012 23:14 BST | Updated 17/12/2012 10:12 GMT

It's not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last time that Dr Karadzic mentions me in the dock. He doesn't like me.

For despite the deaths of more than 100,000 in the Bosnian War, and the evidence of thousands of survivors, he still blames the messenger. The last time he talked about me he asked how I could sleep at night, given the lies I have told.

Today he didn't have time to go into much detail about his case against me and ITN. It was all about the world's case against him. A big, bold and brazen performance from a man whose world has connected with mine since I first shook his hand in 1992.

He will be defending himself for two years and has indicated he will contest "everything except the weather."

It is very strange being named and known by a man charged with some of the worst crimes in Europe since the Second World War. Some would wear the association as a badge of honour, but make no mistake, the association has not come without its own trials and tribulations for me.

For when Dr Karadzic was in hiding, some of his apologists and supporters launched an attack on my journalistic integrity in an attempt to destroy my reputation and damage ITN.

We chose to sue for libel when their accusation that we had fabricated a powerful story about Bosnian Serb atrocities was picked up and believed by some intellectuals here.

John Simpson of the BBC was amongst them. He has recently apologised and admitted he was wrong. We won our case overwhelmingly. What happened in the detention camps of Bosnia - what we saw and reported - was true, and our trial stopped lies entering the well of history.

But whilst our libel trial was a mere footnote of history, this trial is on the main page - a vital moment in Bosnia's history.

For the trial chamber must decide who was responsible for what happened in the detention camps, in Sarajevo and in Sebrenitsa. How high did the chain of command reach? How much did Dr Karadzic know and orchestrate?

It is vital too for the process of reconciliation in Bosnia. Those who survived Bosnia's war will most certainly be listening, waiting for history to record their suffering and rule on who was responsible.

But forgive me for not hanging on Karadzic's every word. I first heard him defend his actions to create a Greater Serbia on a Sarajevo hillside in 1992, as his tanks shelled the people in the valley below. And I've been hearing his version of events ever since - for 20 years - as more than twenty Bosnian Serb war criminals have been convicted whilst protesting their innocence.

Most memorably for me personally, was hearing their attempt to re-write history alongside 14 ITN colleagues at the High Court in London during a protracted and painful libel trial.

I'm sure over the coming years the unrepentant Dr Karadzic will not give up. He mustn't. History needs to hear his side and to decide.

But as I say, I won't be hanging onto every word of Dr Karadzic's forthcoming defence.

In fact, this time I might very well sleep through some of it. For Dr Karadzic, in answer to your question, I sleep very well indeed.

I hope much better than you do.

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