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.

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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.

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