Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, sentenced last month to 40 years in jail for war crimes including genocide, on Wednesday requested that he be released pending his appeal, saying "19th century" jail conditions were ruining his health, Reuters reported.
The head of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia today turned down his request but ordered that health conditions at the detention unit in Scheveningen be looked at.
Karadzic, 70, who had requested the tribunal hearing because he said the health and detention issues were pressing, focused in a 10-minute address on his conviction which he said was unjust and had been refuted in court.
Pressed by tribunal head Theodor Meron to address his health concerns directly, Karadzic said his health had declined during the eight years he had spent in custody, something he blamed on a "malignancy" in the detention unit which he said had already claimed the lives of other detainees.
Conditions there were "19th century, like some Communist or Turkish prison," he said.
"It did not occur to anyone to investigate the high instance of malignancy," said Karadzic, a psychiatrist who was living in disguise working as a spiritual healer in Belgrade when he was caught in 2008.
Meron declined his appeal to be freed, but said Karadzic's complaints about health conditions in the unit would be investigated.