Karadzic's War Crimes Trial Resumes

The war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic resumed Tuesday in The Hague, but once again Karadzic boycotted the proceedings. The judges at the international tribunal, however, ruled the trial could continue without him being in court.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

At a court in The Hague, U.N. prosecutors began laying out their case against the former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. They said that he laid a genocidal campaign against Bosnian Muslims and they presented their case without Karadzic present. He continues to refuse to appear in court. Karadzic faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli sent us this report about the trial's start.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Prosecutor Alan Tieger said that in 1992, Radovan Karadzic harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear to pursue his vision of an ethnically segregated Bosnia. The method used is known euphemistically as ethnic cleansing.

Prosecutor ALAN TIEGER: His forces killed thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, imprisoned thousands more in squalid and brutal camps and detention facilities, and forced hundreds of thousands away from their homes.

POGGIOLI: Tieger says some of the evidence would come from the defendant himself in the form of telephone intercepts and transcripts of his speeches to Bosnian-Serb commanders during the three-and-a-half year war. But the defendant's chair was again empty. Karadzic, who insists on defending himself, says he needs more time to prepare his case. But presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon warned Karadzic that if he persists in boycotting the trial, a lawyer may be appointed to represent him. The court is eager not to repeat the mistakes of the ill-fated trial of Karadzic's erstwhile ally, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, which failed to reach a verdict when the defendant died four years into the proceedings.

Karadzic is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, The Hague.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.