Karadzic trial to start on Oct 26

Former Bosnian Serb leader faces 11 counts of war crimes

Karadzic, 64, who has unsuccessfully tried to have the trial delayed and have charges against him dropped, faces life in prison on 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, murder, deportation, terror and unlawful attacks on civilians. The trial will start at 9 am on October 26, judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said in an order.

The former Bosnian Serb leader in particular faces two counts of genocide over the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica.

Arrested last year and brought to the Hague-based UN tribunal after 11 years on the run, Karadzic has denied all charges and is representing himself. Karadzic also tried to have all charges against him dropped, on the grounds that former US peace mediator Richard Holbrooke had offered him immunity in 1996 if he left public life.

Holbrooke has repeatedly denied that claim and earlier this week the tribunal also rejected any claim of immunity, as well as Karadzic’s appeal to delay the start of the trial for 10 months to prepare, paving the way for the start of the trial.

“This is not an average trial. This is the most complicated and most voluminous trial in this tribunal,” Karadzic told judges at a hearing last month, asking for more time to prepare. “I cannot be ready for the beginning of the trial. Should I embark on a trial that I am not ready for?” Karadzic asked.

Karadzic has fought the tribunal all through pre-trial proceedings in the past year, reminiscent of the combative former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who also represented himself and harangued judges for four years before the trial ended with his death in 2006.

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