Muslim Wire

Genocide trial at UN tribunal adjourned by a day after Karadžić boycotts opening

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 27, 2009

26 October 2009 – The genocide trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić opened today before a United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague but was then adjourned by a day after the defendant failed to attend the proceedings.

Judge O-Gon Kwon, presiding over the trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), said he hoped that Mr. Karadžić, 64, would appear tomorrow and that the court’s registrar would send transcripts and audio recordings of today’s hearings to the accused.

“By this method, the chamber wishes to again encourage Mr. Karadžić to attend these proceedings and reiterates that there are measures that may be taken should he continue to obstruct the progress of the trial,” Judge Kwon said.

Earlier this week Mr. Karadžić lost his appeal against a ruling that the trial should proceed despite his claim of immunity from prosecution due to an agreement he says he struck in 1996 with senior United States officials.

Mr. Karadžić, who served as president of Republika Srpska and as head of the Serb Democratic Party and supreme commander of the Bosnian Serb military forces, was arrested last year and transferred to the custody of the ICTY after more than 13 years on the run.

He is one of the highest-ranking officials to be indicted by the tribunal, which was established by the Security Council to deal with some of the worst crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Mr. Karadžić is charged with two counts of genocide and a series of other crimes, including murder, extermination, persecution, deportation and the taking of hostages, related to actions taken against Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995.

The indictment against him alleges he is responsible for the murder of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica – which was supposed to be a “safe haven” – in July 1995 in one of the most notorious events of the Balkan wars.

He is also accused of being responsible for the shelling and sniping of civilian areas of Sarajevo during a 44-month siege of the city.

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