Karadzic attends court session in Hague

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Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic attended a court session in The Hague for the first time on Tuesday, telling the judges he needed more time to prepare his defense.

MOSCOW, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic attended a court session in The Hague for the first time on Tuesday, telling the judges he needed more time to prepare his defense.

"I do not want to boycott these proceedings, but I cannot take part in something that has been bad from the start and where my fundamental rights have been violated," Karadzic told the International Criminal Tribunal judges during a special session.

The alleged Bosnian Serb war criminal had boycotted the trial since it started last Monday, arguing he needs at least 10 more months to prepare for the trial.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said the court was unlikely to grant Karadzic more time to prepare, and Prosecutor Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff reiterated that if Karadzic continues his boycott, the court might appoint a defense attorney for him.

Karadzic, accused of war crimes and genocide dating from the 1992-95 Bosnian war, is defending himself at the trial.

Earlier on Tuesday, Serbian media quoted Karadzic's legal representative Svetozar Vujacic as saying the former Bosnian Serb leader will go on hunger strike if the court does not allow him to defend himself.

"I don't need other people, I just need time," Karadzic was quoted by CBS News as saying at the court session. "It would be cheapest and easiest, with fewest problems, to give me more time to prepare."

O-Gon Kwon said the judges would decide how to proceed. He said a written ruling would be issued later in the week, adding the next court hearing, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, was adjourned.

Last week, prosecutors urged the three-judge panel not to allow Karadzic to deliberately hold up the trial, arguing that he had 15 months to prepare for the trial and should have been ready for court proceedings to begin.

Karadzic, 64, was arrested last year after he had spent over 12 years in hiding. The crimes he is accused of include the massacre of some 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. Karadzic insists he is innocent of all charges brought against him.

 

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