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Karadzic Supporters Stage Protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnian Serbs have staged rallies in cities throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina's Serb entity in support of arrested war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.

At least 1500 people gathered Saturday on a hill above Sarajevo in the town of Pale, Karadzic's wartime stronghold. Another major rally took place in the Bosnian Serb administrative center of Banja Luka. Protesters carried signs expressing support for Karadzic and calling him a hero.

Serbian authorities arrested Karadzic this week in a Belgrade suburb after he had been in hiding for close to 13 years. The former Bosnian Serb leader is facing charges of war crimes, including genocide.

In Belgrade Saturday, Karadzic's lawyer, Svetozar Vujacic, refused to confirm whether he had met a Friday deadline to submit documents appealing his client's extradition to The Hague, where Karadzic could appear before the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

A Serbian newspaper earlier reported that Vujacic was mailing a last-minute appeal on Friday.

Saturday, Serbian news media quoted the lawyer as saying that Karadzic could be taken to The Hague next week.

In Belgrade, Serbia's Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic Saturday expressed optimism that Karadzic's capture would improve the country's prospects for forging closer trade ties with the European Union. He said he expected the EU to approve an interim trade agreement with Serbia now that Belgrade has proved its cooperation with the U.N. tribunal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.