Karadzic Genocide Trial Opens After Months Of Delay The trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic resumed in The Hague on Tuesday, after months of procedural wrangles. Karadzic faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes relating to the war in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

Karadzic Genocide Trial Opens After Months Of Delay

Karadzic Genocide Trial Opens After Months Of Delay

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Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appears in the courtroom of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague in November 2009. He faces 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for the Bosnian war from 1992 to 1995. Michael Kooren/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Michael Kooren/AFP via Getty Images

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appears in the courtroom of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague in November 2009. He faces 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for the Bosnian war from 1992 to 1995.

Michael Kooren/AFP via Getty Images

After using delaying tactics for months, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was back in a Dutch courtroom Tuesday to face the first prosecution witness. Karadzic faces 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for the war in Bosnia during the 1990s. He denies all the charges.

Outside The Hague, Admira Fazlic, 29, eagerly awaited the start of the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She was 11 when Bosnian Serbs detained her and her Bosnian-Muslim family during their brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing.

"We hope that this case of Karadzic will finish as soon as possible, and that he will get the biggest punishment possible," Fazlic said.

In His Mentor's Footsteps

The specter of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic hangs over the tribunal, which failed to bring his trial to conclusion. Milosevic died in jail in 2006, four years into the proceedings.

The two cases cover many of the same atrocities. This time, the prosecution has streamlined its witness list, but it will still focus on the major crimes: the siege of Sarajevo, which killed more than 10,000 people, and the massacre of about 8,000 unarmed Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

Like Milosevic, Karadzic is acting as his own lawyer. But unlike his gruff and burly mentor, Karadzic is more deferential. He spoke through a translator.

"I'm sorry, I may sound clumsy sometimes. This is first time I'm appearing as a defense counsel, but I hope I will hone my skills in time," he said.

The trial began with the prosecution's first witness, Ahmet Zulic, who testified about beatings he underwent and murders he saw committed while held in Serb detention.

Prosecutor Ann Sutherland asked him about his injuries.

"Well, I had fractures, broken ribs, six or seven vertebrae were affected. I had a fracture on my arm," Zulic said. "They made me make the sign of the cross, which I refused to do. And so when I was doing push-ups, they stepped on my hands and my fingers were broken."

Tough With Witnesses

In his cross-examination, Karadzic hammered the witness, dropping names and asking Zulic a string of questions about people he knew and even about people he didn't know. The questioning rattled the witness.

"I can't let him get away with this, really, he's trying to set me up," Zulic said.

Karadizic's needling even tested presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon's patience.

"Try to concentrate on relevant questions," the judge said. "Move on please."

"Your Excellency, we are dealing with the credibility of this witness," Karadzic said. "The witness wrote he omitted to write the horrors in his diary to prevent his grandchildren from suffering. He didn't have any grandchildren at the time he kept his diary, so that is relevant."

When arrested in July 2008 in Belgrade, after 12 years in hiding, Karadzic emerged with a completely different look. The stern, pompous wartime leader had been replaced by a long-haired and white-bearded mystic specializing in New Age healing.

Now he has a new demeanor: lawyerly and eager to please his judges.