Karadzic fails to respond to Tribunal charges

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The former Bosnian Serb leader refused charges laid against him in the first hearing in The Hague on Friday.

4 August 2008

THE HAGUE - Radovan Karadzic appeared for the first time before the Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague on Friday. It was the first time he had been seen in public since his arrest a week ago.

The proceedings began with the determination of the suspect's identity. Karadzic confirmed he was indeed the former Bosnian Serb leader.

Asked by the UN judge Alphons Orie whether he wished to be represented by a lawyer, Karadzic replied that he had an "invisible advisor".

Orie then began to read the background to the charges. Karadzic is accused, in part, of war crimes and genocide. The 63-year-old remained calm and apparently unmoved as he listened to Orie's recital.

However, the former Bosnian Serb leader did not want to respond to the charges laid against him and intends to make use of the chance to do so within 30 days.

The arraignment lasted almost one hour. During the session, the prosecutor made it clear that a new indictment was still to come.

Orie had not been apprised of this and made no secret of his annoyance and surprise.

At the end of the session Karadzic was allowed to speak briefly. He used the opportunity to claim irregularities in his capture. "You were misinformed about the date of my arrest," he told Orie.

Karadzic also claimed numerous further irregularities concerning his relationship with the Tribunal and his appearance before it. He further said he feared his rights would be violated and that his life might be at risk. He claimed there was even a plot to assassinate him, but Orie stopped him at this point and advised him to address these issues later.

The court has decided to reconvene on 29 August.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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