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Karadzic refuses to enter plea on war crimes charges

[JURIST] Bosnian Serb leader and former fugitive Radovan Karadzic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] Friday refused to enter a plea [VOA report] and denied the assistance of counsel in his first appearance [ICTY video, ASX] before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official site], where he faces war crimes charges [amended indictment; case materials]. Karadzic was originally indicted [text] by the court's prosecutor in 1995, but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest earlier this month [JURIST report]. Karadzic is accused of numerous acts of genocide and crimes against humanity for overseeing the Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] prison massacre and other killings of Bosnian Muslims and Croats during ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Karadzic had earlier said he will represent himself [JURIST op-ed] in defending against the charges, and faces life in prison if convicted. AFP has more.

Karadzic was transfered to the ICTY Wednesday, after his lawyer's tactic to delay sending the appeal [JURIST report] failed to prevent his extradition from Serbia, where he had been hiding. His capture has been a major goal of the ICTY [press release], and follows the June arrest [JURIST report] of former Bosnian Serb police commander Stojan Zupljanin [Trial Watch profile]. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz [ICC profile; JURIST report] had long criticized Serbia for its failure to find and capture [JURIST report] Karadzic and other war crimes suspects. Brammertz has vowed to try all war crimes suspects [JURIST report] before the expiration of the ICTY's mandate in 2010.

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