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Author Topic: Radovan Karadzic boycotts opening of war crimes trial  (Read 2805 times)
Koen
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« on: 26 October 2009, 21:55:56 »
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/26/radovan-karadzic-war-crimes-trial

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Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader charged with genocide for the worst mass murders in Europe since the Nazis, called the bluff of the special UN war crimes tribunal today by boycotting the opening of his trial.

Presiding over the trial in courtroom number one of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, the judge, O-Gon Kwon, of South Korea, sparked uproar in the gallery by adjourning the keenly awaited case after a brief 20-minute hearing.

Dozens of Bosnian Muslim victims and survivors of the Serbian mass murder at Srebrenica in 1995 howled and wailed as the judge adjourned the proceedings and pleaded with Karadzic to appear in court tomorrow afternoon.

Karadzic faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly orchestrating a systematic campaign of murder, terror and deportation in the 1992-95 war aimed at seizing half of Bosnia and ridding it of all non-Serbs.

"This is nothing but dirty, dirty politics," said Zumraca Sehomerovic, from the eastern town of Srebrenica, who travelled for two days by bus from Sarajevo to witness the appearance of a hated figure in the dock. "I'm totally shocked by this. We've been waiting for this for 14 years, demanding justice. But instead of being punished, he's being rewarded."

Her husband and son were among the almost 8,000 Muslim males massacred by the Serbs at Srebrenica in an act that the court has already established was one of genocide.

Bakira Hasecic, one of the thousands of Bosnian Muslim rape victims of a systematic Serbian campaign of sexual assault during the war, said that if the international court was incapable of delivering justice, Karadzic should be handed over to a local court. "Let him come to Sarajevo. We've got courts. We'll deal with him," she said.

The Karadzic trial is arguably the biggest and one of the last to be held at the tribunal. He was arrested last year in Belgrade after 13 years on the run under a new identity and heavy disguise as a new age healer.

He is insisting on defending himself in the trial, allowing him to play for time and delay the proceedings.

The prosecution team used today's short hearing to insist Karadzic have defence lawyers imposed on him and be forced to attend the chamber. Giving in to Karadzic's delaying tactics meant that "the trial can only start if the accused says it should," argued Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff, a prosecutor. "There is no reason today not to start the trial."

The same tactics were used by the late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian warlord Vojislav Seselj to politicise their trials and drag them out interminably. Judges have been criticised by lawyers, victims' associations and human rights activists for allowing the war crimes suspects to set the agenda and manipulate the court.

Judge Kwon said a recording of this morning's brief proceedings would be made available to Karadzic in his cell in the nearby detention unit and that the accused should appear tomorrow afternoon.

Karadzic last week described his long-awaited trial as "the biggest, most complex, important and sensitive case ever before this tribunal", and argued that he needed a lot more time to plough through around 1 million pages of prosecution evidence.

"My defence is not ready," he said. "I will not appear before you on that date [today]." This threat appeared in the English version of a 10-page letter from Karadzic. The original, in Serbian, contained no explicit threat of a boycott.

Karadzic was the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 war, which left 100,000 dead – mainly Bosnian Muslims – and divided the country into Serbian and Muslim-Croat halves. He has been indicted on two counts of genocide, the gravest charges possible, for allegedly overseeing the mass murder and deportation of tens of thousands of Bosnia's Muslims in the north-west of the country in 1992 and at Srebrenica, in the north-east, in 1995.

He faces a further nine charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the 44-month Serbian siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, in 1992-95, and for taking more than 200 UN peacekeepers hostage in 1995 in order to deter Nato from launching bombing raids.



http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091026/ap_on_re_eu/eu_war_crimes_karadzic

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands – His chair was empty, his headphones lay idle on the desk. In Courtroom One at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, outraged survivors of Bosnia's bloody war gasped in disbelief Monday as judges adjourned the opening day of Radovan Karadzic's trial after just 15 minutes.

The former Bosnian Serb leader boycotted his war crimes trial, claiming he did not have enough time to prepare his defense — even though he was indicted in 1995 and had known he would be tried since being captured in Belgrade over 15 months ago.

The tactic forced a one-day delay in the trial and demonstrated that the former psychiatrist was ready for a tumultuous battle of wills with the UN war crimes tribunal. Judges adjourned Monday's hearing but declared that the trial will begin Tuesday "with or without" Karadzic.

Karadzic, 64, is charged with two counts of genocide and nine more of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prosecutors allege he masterminded Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, from ethnic cleansing campaigns against Muslims and Croats in 1992 to the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

"We expected some kind of justice but there is not any," said Suada Mugic, a Srebrenica survivor who took a 30-hour bus trip from Bosnia to watch the trial. "This is very hard and upsetting for us. Everything reminds us of 1995. My husband disappeared, my father and some 23 members of my family."

She was one of dozens of Bosnian survivors who traveled across Europe to squeeze into the courtroom's small public gallery for the historic trial. The Bosnian war left more than 100,000 people dead, most of them victims of Bosnian Serb attacks.

Karadzic's whereabouts were unknown for years until his arrest last year, posing as New Age healer Dr. Dragan Dabic, disguised behind thick glasses, a bushy beard and straggly gray hair.

Arrested in July 2008 after 13 years on the run, he has been working with a team of legal advisers for months getting ready for this trial, where he intends to defend himself.

He has repeatedly refused to enter pleas, but insists he is innocent and faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

More than 200 witnesses are expected to testify in the prosecution's case, which is scheduled to last 300 hours. Karadzic has been given equal time for his defense.

For its part, the tribunal is anxious to avoid the debacle that ensued when it tried Karadzic's patron, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who dragged his trial out for more than four years by refusing to cooperate with court-appointed lawyers. That trial was finally scrapped without a verdict after Milosevic died in his jail cell of a heart attack in 2006.

In a letter dated Friday and released after the proceedings began Monday, Karadzic again pleaded for more time.

"From a standpoint of an accused there is nothing more important than a proper preparation and conduct of a defense," he wrote.

One of his legal advisers, Marko Sladojevic, told The Associated Press that Karadzic also would not be in court Tuesday.

"I think it would be legal suicide if he takes part now" without sufficient preparation, Sladojevic said after visiting Karadzic in his cell.

Monday's trial opening lasted just 15 minutes, before Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon adjourned proceedings and urged Karadzic to attend its resumption Tuesday afternoon, when prosecutors will begin their opening statement with or without him.

Prosecutor Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff urged judges to appoint a defense attorney to represent Karadzic whether he likes it or not, saying he should not be able to deliberately hold up the trial.

Sladojevic said appointing a defense lawyer against Karadzic's will would "create an even bigger mess."

Param-Preet Singh of the New York-based Human Rights Watch group said denying Karadzic the right to self-defense could backfire.

"To strip him of that right by imposing counsel, you could have the situation where you have an uncooperative defendant forced to defend himself in a way he did not want," she said.

Survivors — most of them Bosnian Muslims — gasped in disbelief as the judges marched out Monday. Some survivors briefly refused to leave court and one threatened a hunger strike.

Admira Fazlic, who was imprisoned in Bosnian Serb-run camps during the conflict, shook her head as she walked away.

"We are shocked," she said. "Radovan Karadzic is making the world and justice (look) ridiculous. He is joking with everybody."

In the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, Mayor Alija Behmen welcomed the start of the trial, even if it was delayed a day. Prosecutors allege that Karadzic led the 44-month siege that killed more than 10,000 of the city's residents.

"In the name of over 10,000 people killed during the longest siege in the history of warfare ... we have the right to ask for satisfaction, and satisfaction is the punishment of those responsible for the crime," Behmen said.

Michael Scharf, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, said he expects Karadzic to show up in court sooner or later.

"This is a gambit. It's the first salvo in a battle of the wills," Scharf said. "He tried to see whether he could succeed in getting them to have a long-term postponement by boycotting and the only thing they gave him was 24 hours, so he lost I think stage one."

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FACman
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« Reply #1 on: 27 October 2009, 00:24:22 »
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Tomorrow they should strap him into a wheel chair, have a gag on hand and force him to face the justice that is his due, with defense counsel appointed by the court. When the trial is over, and if he is found guilty, do not put him in prison for the remainder of his life, but release him into the custody of the families of his victims to experience their mercy.
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« Reply #2 on: 27 October 2009, 18:50:11 »
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Karadzic war crimes trial to resume

The genocide and war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is due to resume in The Hague, a day after it was adjourned.

Karadzic boycotted the opening proceedings on Monday in protest at what he says is a "rush to justice" by the UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

"In light of the absence of the accused and of counsel to represent him, the chamber will adjourn these proceedings today," Judge O-Gon Kwon said within 15 minutes of the opening of the trial.

He said the hearing would reconvene at 14:15pm local time (1315 GMT) on Tuesday for the prosecution's opening statement.

"We request Mr Karadzic to attend so that his trial is not further obstructed," O-Gon said.

'Messy start'

Karadzic opted to defend himself in the trial, although he has no legal background, saying he needs more time to prepare his defence.

He faces 11 counts of genocide and war crimes for allegedly masterminding Serb atrocities during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The bloodiest conflict seen in Europe since the second world war left an estimated 100,000 people dead.

Among the key charges Karadzic faces is one count of genocide over the massacre of Muslim men and boys at the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995, in which about 8,000 people died.

He also faces another genocide charge over the siege of Sarajevo.

Barnaby Phillips, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Bosnian capital, said: "People here are a little bit disappointed. Sarajevo had a terrible time during the war, it was actually under siege for 44 months.

"From early 1992 to towards the end of 1995 more than 10,000 people were killed here and yet this trial has got off to a very messy, a very inconclusive start."

Issue of lawyer

Tim Friend, Al Jazeera's correspondent at The Hague, said: "We're seeing a hint of how he is going to play this.

"When you represent yourself, you have more chance of delaying a trial than when you have a lawyer appointed - the latter conform to the strictures of the court and progress is made.

"I think he probably learned something from his previous trial. If he continues not to appear, it is my understanding he will have a lawyer imposed upon him."

Axel Hagedorn, a lawyer for the mothers of Srebrenica, told Al Jazeera that the court has a tough decision to make regarding whether they give him a lawyer or more time.

"In both cases it will delay the case, " Hagedorn said.

"If a new lawyer comes in he will have to prepare himself, I would say for at laest one year ... and if they don't do it Karadzic might get three more months, and in the long term he might do it again."

'Criminal intent'

Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor in the case, said: "We hope to be able to prove the criminal intent and to show that it was a planned operation - ethnic cleansing, genocide - planned in advance, implemented by Karadzic, Mladic and a number of other persons," Brammertz said.

"This trial is important for the victims who will finally see justice being done," he told the AFP news agency.

Karadzic has repeatedly refused to enter pleas, but insists he is innocent.

According to the charge sheet, he stands accused of having "participated in an overarching joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslim and
Bosnian Croat inhabitants from the territories of Bosnia Hercegovina claimed as Bosnian Serb territory."

His trial is expected to last for up to two years and he faces a maximum sentence of life in jail if convicted.

Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade last July after 13 years on the run.

He had been posing as New Age healer, named Dr Dragan Dabic, and had disguised behind thick glasses a bushy beard and straggly gray hair.

Prosecutors had wanted to try Karadzic alongside his wartime military chief, General Ratko Mladic, but Mladic has yet to be apprehended - one of two suspects still sought by the court.

The other is Goran Hadzic, a former leader of rebel Serbs in Croatia.


Quote
Prosecutors at the genocide and war crimes trial of ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic have branded him the leader of an ethnic cleansing campaign.

The court ruled the trial in The Hague could resume despite Mr Karadzic boycotting it for a second day.

In opening remarks, prosecutors said Mr Karadzic had "harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear" to pursue his vision of a state without Muslims.

Mr Karadzic denies all charges, which relate to the Bosnian war of the 1990s.

The former Bosnian Serb leader, who is representing himself at the trial, says he still needs at least nine months to prepare his defence.
   
Separately, former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic - convicted of war crimes - has been released.

Plavsic was the highest ranking official from the former Yugoslavia to have pleaded guilty for her part in the Bosnian War. She was sentenced in 2003 to 11 years in a Swedish jail.

But a Swedish court has allowed her early release for good behaviour.

'Hatred and fear'

At The Hague, Mr Karadzic, 64, faces two charges of genocide and nine more of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The former president of Republika Srpska, head of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and commander of the Bosnian Serb Army has refused to enter pleas, but has said he will co-operate with the court to prove his innocence.
   
Radovan Karadzic at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, file pic from August 2009

In opening remarks at his trial, the prosecution labelled him the "undisputed leader" of Serbs responsible for carrying out atrocities during the 1992-1995 conflict.

"This case is about that supreme commander, a man who harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear to implement his vision of an ethnically separated Bosnia: Radovan Karadzic," prosecutor Alain Tieger said.

Mr Karadzic had "ethnically cleansed vast portions of Bosnia and Hercegovina" during the war, Mr Tieger said, describing him as a "hands-on leader who maintained direct contact".

"In the course of conquering the territory that he claimed for the Serbs, his forces killed thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, imprisoned thousands more in squalid and brutal camps and detention facilities, and forced hundreds of thousands away from their homes," the prosecutor said.

Mr Tieger said that as well as witness testimony, some of the evidence against Mr Karadzic would come from intercepts of his own phone calls and transcripts of his speeches.

He quoted Mr Karadzic as saying before the war that Serb forces would turn the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, into "a black cauldron, where 300,000 Muslims will die".

Mr Tieger said witnesses who survived the long siege of Sarajevo would describe living "in constant fear, day after day, for years, knowing that they or their loved ones were targets".

Empty chair

Announcing the court's decision to proceed in his absence, Judge O-Gon Kwon said Mr Karadzic had chosen not to exercise his right to be present and "must therefore accept the consequences".

He said the court would consider imposing a lawyer to represent Mr Karadzic if he continues to boycott proceedings.

Mr Karadzic is not due to give his opening argument until next week.

His legal counsel in Belgrade said he would reject any counsel imposed by the court.

Another of his legal advisers, Kevin Jon Heller, said that from the scope of the trial - thought to include 1.2 million pages of evidence, numerous crime scenes and hundreds of witness - it was understandable why Mr Karadzic, who is not a trained lawyer, had stayed away.

Mr Karadzic was taken to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague last year, after 13 years in hiding.

He was indicted in 1995 on two counts of genocide and a multitude of other crimes committed against Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb civilians during the 1992-1995 war, which left more than 100,000 people dead.

The charges relate to several events, including the campaign of shelling and sniper attacks on Sarajevo during the 44-month siege of the city, in which some 12,000 civilians died.

Mr Karadzic is also accused of being behind the massacre of more than 7,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and youths in Srebrenica in July 1995, and of attacks on more than a dozen Bosnian municipalities in the early stages of the war.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Correspondents say the judges want to complete the trial by 2012, conscious that the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic ended without a verdict after four years when he died in custody.

Prosecutors have abbreviated the scale of their case, and will call fewer witnesses and include alleged crimes in fewer locations.

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« Reply #3 on: 28 October 2009, 17:53:35 »
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Another day in the Hague...
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« Reply #4 on: 28 October 2009, 18:57:11 »
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Karadzic 'ordered ethnic cleansing'

Prosecutors have branded Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, as "supreme commander" of ethnic cleansing during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

But Karadzic, who faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, was not in the court in The Hague on Tuesday to hear the prosecution begin to outline its case, boycotting proceedings for a second consecutive day.

"This case is about that supreme commander, a man who harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear to implement his vision of an ethnically separated Bosnia: Radovan Karadzic," Alan Tieger, the prosecutor, said.

Tieger also quoted Karadzic himself as saying before the war that Serb forces would turn Sarajevo into "a black cauldron, where 300,000 Muslims will die".

"'They will disappear, that people will disappear from the face of the earth'," he quoted Karadzic as saying in an intercepted call.

He said witnesses who survived the deadly 44-month siege of the city would describe living "in constant fear, day after day, for years, knowing that they or their loved ones were targets".

'Widespread crimes'

Parampreet Singh from Human Rights Watch told Al Jazeera the prosecution's use of Karadzic's own words was an interesting way of attempting to prove their case against him.

"Through the telephone intercepts, through the various internal documents and speeches given in rallies - they're using that information to show ... the extent to which [the prosecution allege] he was in control of devising the policies that led to the widespread commission of crimes against non-Serbs in Bosnia," she said.

Karadzic faces genocide charges over the Sarajevo siege and the massacre of Muslim men and boys at the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995, in which about 8,000 people died.

"Radovan Karadzic's forces took Srebrenica in their effort to clean out one of the last significant Muslim presences in the east of Bosnia," Tieger said.

"Over the days that followed, thousands of Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered, the women, children and elderly expelled and the Muslims in Srebrenica eliminated."

Tim Friend, Al Jazeera's correspondent at The Hague, said that the prosecution "feel they have substantial evidence linking Radovan Karadzic to these horrendous events during that bloody war".

"He [the prosecutor] said Karadzic was a man who spread hatred, had no regard for humanity and that his hand was at the helm, that he was in charge when events like Srebrenica took place.

"He [the prosecutor] said he [Karadzic] was in charge, and directly ordered, the siege of Sarajevo, when civilians were deliberately targeted ... and was also responsible, directly, on his orders, for the taking of UN peacekeepers as human hostages against further attack against the Bosnian Serbs."

'Rush to justice'

Karadzic has refused to appear in protest at what he said is a "rush to justice" by the UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

O-Gon Kwon, the presiding judge, said that he regretted Karadzic's decision not to attend the hearing, and said the court would consider imposing a lawyer to represent him if he continues to boycott proceedings.

Judge O-Gon said he had warned Karadzic he must accept the consequences of refusing to be at his trial and that the court will decide how to proceed next week.

"Should the accused maintain his absence from the proceedings on Monday there will be a hearing on Tuesday, November 3, at which the chamber will hear oral submissions" on how to proceed, he said.

The court will not sit again until Monday.

Karadzic has opted to defend himself in the trial despite having no legal background and says he needs more time to prepare his defence.

He has repeatedly refused to enter pleas, but insists he is innocent.

'Criminal enterprise'

According to the charge sheet, he stands accused of having "participated in an overarching joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat inhabitants from the territories of Bosnia-Hercegovina claimed as Bosnian Serb territory".

His trial is expected to last for up to two years and he faces a maximum sentence of life in jail if convicted.

Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade last July after 13 years on the run.

He had been posing as a New Age healer named Dr Dragan Dabic, and had disguised himself with thick glasses, a bushy beard and straggly grey hair.

Prosecutors had wanted to try Karadzic alongside his wartime military chief, General Ratko Mladic, but he has yet to be caught.

He is one of two suspects still sought by the court, the other being Goran Hadzic, a former leader of Serb fighters in Croatia.



more stuff to read: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8328973.stm
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« Reply #5 on: 29 October 2009, 16:44:44 »
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FACman, this is the Hague.
They will try to entice him with a meal prepared by a five star chef.
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« Reply #6 on: 29 October 2009, 18:51:54 »
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Karadzic will boycott genocide trial on Monday: legal aide

THE HAGUE — Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic will again boycott his genocide trial when it resumes at a UN tribunal in The Hague next week, one of his legal advisers said Wednesday.

"He will not attend Monday," Marco Sladojevic told AFP in a telephone interview after a meeting with the 64-year-old Karadzic.

Karadzic, who is defending himself, failed to appear at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Monday and Tuesday, arguing he needs more time to prepare his case.

The former Bosnian Serb leader is charged with 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1992-95 war in which 100,000 people were killed and 2.2 million forced from their homes.

Sladojevic said Karadzic "would most probably attend" a scheduled hearing on November 3 but only if it deals with procedural matters.

"He hopes that the judge will clarify (this)," he added.

Judge O-Gon Kwon, who is presiding over the UN tribunal, said Tuesday if Karadzic did not appear in court next week then the case may go ahead in his absence.

Karadzic, whose trial is expected to last two years, is accused of having "participated in an overarching joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat inhabitants from the territories of Bosnia-Hercegovina claimed as Bosnian Serb territory," according to the charge sheet.

Key among the charges is the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys at the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995, as well as the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that ended in November 1995.

He is alleged to have worked with Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, who died midway through his own UN genocide trial in March 2006.

Karadzic's former military commander, Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, is still on the run.


Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved
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« Reply #7 on: 4 November 2009, 22:14:49 »
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8341424.stm

Lone Karadzic finally appears

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Trial Chamber 3 at The Hague is a small, almost intimate courtroom.

But there was little warmth as Radovan Karadzic squared up to the prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Mr Karadzic entered the chamber seven minutes before the scheduled starting time.

He looked like a man in a hurry rather than someone accused of dragging out this trial.

Wearing a pair of small reading glasses, he peered at the documents he had brought with him.

However, his briefcase seemed remarkably slender for a man who complains of being snowed under by two million pages of evidence, including 700,000 of his own documents.

Familiar guise

He ran his hand through his thick mane of white/grey hair as he waited for the four red-robed judges to take their seats. Mr Karadzic wore a pink shirt and a crimson tie.

If his guise was familiar, so too were his arguments.

In his submission, he made it clear that he regarded Tuesday's proceedings as no more than "a status conference", a discussion on procedural issues surrounding the trial.

However, the prosecutors saw it as Day Four of the trial itself, with this being the first appearance by the accused.

Sitting alone in the area of the courtroom reserved for the defence team, the former Bosnian Serb leader was closely watched by an armed UN security guard.

The presentation was blisteringly fast at times, as Mr Karadzic reeled off the statistics for the volume of material he has to digest at present.

He claimed he had even sacrificed "walks in the fresh air" in order to read all the documents.

He was defiant and unyielding to the end.

Judge O-Gon Kwon said it was "unfortunate" that Mr Karadzic had repeated his earlier submissions, by simply demanding more time.

Mr Karadzic will now wait until the end of this week to hear what the judges decide to do about the legal stalemate that has dogged the start of this trial.



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