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Karadzic takes stand as war crimes trial resumes

Former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive] appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] as his trial resumed Monday to defend himself against charges of war crimes. According to news reports, Karadzic did not appear to obstruct the process of the ICTY [CNN report], despite repeatedly seeking to have his trial delayed. Karadzic is defending himself against 11 counts [amended indictment, PDF], including genocide and murder, and has denied all of the charges. Karadzic is accused of being responsible for the July 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in eastern Bosnia.

In September, ICTY judges warned that trial might take another four years [JURIST report], two years longer than expected. Karadzic's trial previously resumed in April, after the ICTY dismissed [JURIST reports] his latest motion to delay court proceedings, in which he argued that there had been a violation of his right to a fair hearing because the court had rejected previous evidentiary challenges. In March, Karadzic lost another motion [JURIST report] to postpone his war crimes trial on charges related to crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. Karadzic claimed that a February ruling increasing the remuneration for his defense lawyers should also give him extra time to prepare for his case. Earlier in March, the ICTY heard opening statements [JURIST report]. Karadzic claimed that attacks against Bosnian Muslims were "staged," denying [JURIST report] any involvement in war crimes. In February, the ICTY rejected [JURIST report] Karadzic's imposition of a court-appointed defense lawyer, claiming the right to legal assistance of his own choosing.

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