Karadzic shuns genocide trial

Court considers imposing counsel on former Bosnian Serb warlord


Karadzic, who has denied all 11 war crimes charges arising from the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including genocide, is representing himself and had threatened to boycott the start of the trial, saying he needed more time to prepare.
Judge O-Gon Kwon said during the 15-minute proceedings that the trial would restart on Tuesday with the prosecution’s opening statements and the court would assign lawyers to Karadzic if he refused to appear.
“There are circumstances in which trials can proceed in the absence of the accused who has voluntarily waived his right to be present,” the South Korean judge said. Judges are eager to get the trial of the tribunal’s highest profile defendant under way after his arrest 15 months ago.
The chair where Karadzic sat during pretrial proceedings at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was empty, and because he had no legal representation other nearby chairs also were empty.
The break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s saw some of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War Two as Serbs, Croats and Muslims fought for land. More than 100,000 people were killed in warfare and by such policies as “ethnic cleansing”. Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb political leader, is charged with genocide over the massacre of about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in July 1995.
He is also charged over the 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo by Serb forces, in which between 10,000 to 14,000 people were killed according to various estimates.
Protesters gathered outside the tribunal on Monday, shouting and venting frustration at Karadzic’s boycott.
Members of about 20 victims groups gathered around a banner with the names of 8,106 victims killed at Srebrenica and the words “Europe’s shame”.
“It is a mockery,” said Jasna Causevic, of the group Society for Threatened Peoples, about Karadzic’s boycott, adding he was trying to control the tribunal.

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