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Karadzic threatens boycott of ICTY war crimes trial

[JURIST] Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive] on Thursday announced his intention to boycott the opening of his war crimes trial, set to come before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Monday. Karadzic claims that the tribunal's schedule does not provide him adequate time to prepare [text, PDF] his defense, and that two years would be necessary for a case of such magnitude. ICTY spokesperson Nerma Jelacic said that the trial would proceed as scheduled despite Karadzic's statement. Karadzic, underscoring his belief that the trial process has been rushed, said:

all this is happening in unequal, disproportionate and unjust circumstances, where the defence is deprived of an absolute minimum conditions for the preparations that would make the defence a serious and respectable opponent.

Also Thursday, the Swedish Ministry of Justice announced that it will release [press release] Karadzic's successor, Biljana Plavsic [BBC profile], next week after the completion of two-thirds of her 11-year sentence. The ICTY approved her release [JURIST report] last month.

Karadzic faces 11 charges [amended indictment, PDF], including genocide and murder, for war crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. In June, the ICTY said that Karadzic's trial was expected to conclude in early 2012 [JURIST report]. His trial is planned to be the tribunal's last. Karadzic has twice refused to enter pleas [JURIST report] to 11 charges against him including genocide, murder, persecution, deportation, and "other inhumane acts," for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Karadzic was originally indicted [text, PDF] by the ICTY in 1995 but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest last year [JURIST report].

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