Karadzic boycotts opening of trial

17:18 by Editor · 3 Post a comment on AAWR

THE HAGUE: The trial of Radovan Karadzic was adjourned last night after the accused war criminal boycotted the opening -- claiming he needed more time to prepare his case.

"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 at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The judge adjourned the hearing until Tuesday afternoon, local time, when the prosecution will present its opening statement. "We request Mr Karadzic to attend so that his trial is not further obstructed," he said.

Karadzic's refusal to show up was a disappointment for the many relatives of victims who travelled to the court.

Nevertheless, Munira Subasic, who lost a husband and a son when Bosnian Serb forces murdered 8000 Muslim men in the UN-protected Srebrenica enclave in July 1995, said the case came as a relief after the trial of Karadzic's mentor Slobodan Milosevic collapsed without a verdict when he died in 2006. "We want to remind the Europeans that for 14 years we are waiting for justice. The Milosevic trial failed and now is the time for this justice to come," she said.

Observers agreed that the accused's absence should not overshadow the case's significance.

"The Karadzic trial is really the trial that the Yugoslavia tribunal was designed for," said Michael Scharf, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Professor Scharf said evidence presented at the Milosevic trial made it "absolutely clear that Karadzic was a much greater monster and much more responsible for the atrocities than Milosevic ever was". This is also seen as a chance for the tribunal to make amends for Milosevic's trial, which dragged on for four years before his fatal heart attack.

Karadzic, 64, is charged with genocide -- one count for the 1995 murder of 8000 Muslim men in Srebrenica and a second for the Bosnian Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing against Muslim and Croat populations. He faces nine other charges including extermination, persecution and taking peacekeepers hostage.

He has repeatedly refused to enter pleas, but insists he is innocent. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted at his trial, which is expected to last at least two years. He is boycotting the hearing to protest at his lack of time to prepare for the trial.

Seeing Karadzic finally face justice is enormously significant to victims, said the chief prosecutor, Belgian Serge Brammertz.

He recalled meeting a woman who lost 21 family members in the war and still has not found all their bodies. "If you see what those crimes have done to the people in the region, you easily understand the importance of bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice," he said. continues here

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3 Responses to "Karadzic boycotts opening of trial"
gta mls said...
27 October 2009 at 17:37

This is a highly disgusting matter. I know there is a right of each person to a legal court hearing and also the principle in dubio pro reo, but I'm afraid I would sentence this man to death even without a proper trial. It is obvious, he is to blame and the time he claims, he needs for his case to be prepared just shows itself the need to create almost impossible stuff to work for his defense. But it's mostly just an obstruction to avoid being convicted. And this is intolerable. Julie

T.Jones said...
28 October 2009 at 00:16

He was defending his people this is a show trial

Anonymous said...
30 October 2009 at 07:15

A (South?) Korean judge, interesting.

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