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Karadzic in court Tuesday
Karadzic says he needs more time to prepare his defenseImage: AP

Karadzic trial

November 5, 2009

The International Criminal Court has imposed a legal counsel on former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in its war crimes trial against him. The move is in response to a boycott of the trial by Karadzic.


The judges at the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ordered a court-appointed counsel to represent Karadzic in the event he continued to boycott the hearings.

The genocide trial began on October 26 but the accused did not appear, claiming he had not been given enough time to prepare his defense. Karadzic had been warned on four occasions that his continued boycott would result in the appointment of a counsel to represent him.

"The accused has indeed substantially and persistently obstructed the proper and expeditious conduct of his trial by refusing to attend the proceedings," said the written decision imposing the legal counsel. "The accused's conduct has effectively brought the trial to a halt, which is evidently his purpose."

The ICC judges said Karadzic would still be able to represent himself following the appointment of the legal counsel, but that if he continued his boycott of the proceedings when the trial resumes on March 1, 2010, then the legal counsel would step in.

Karadzic currently has a legal team consisting of 20 mainly volunteer legal advisors, but would forfeit that privilege if he continues his boycott.

The UN court has charged Karadzic with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.

The conflict killed an estimated 100,000 people and displaced 2.2 million others.


Editor: Deanne Corbett

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