Court to appoint counsel for Karadzic

CBC News

A UN court will appoint counsel for former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who on Thursday had his war crimes trial delayed until March.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is being held at The Hague, adjourned the case to give Karadzic’s lawyers time to prepare a defence.

Karadzic will be allowed to continue to represent himself, but the court said he should co-operate with his appointed counsel. The court-appointed defence counsel will represent Karadzic whenever he fails to appear in the court.

In a written decision, presiding judge O-Gon Kwon said that should Karadzic "continue to absent himself from the resumed trial proceedings in March, or should he engage in any other conduct that obstructs the proper and expeditious conduct of the trial, he will forfeit his right to self-representation … and the appointed counsel will take over."

Karadzic is charged with 11 counts of war crimes, including two counts of genocide, for allegedly masterminding atrocities during the Bosnian war, including the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim males in Srebrenica and the deadly siege of Sarajevo.

The trial of Karadzic is considered one of the most significant war crimes cases since the Second World War.

Karadzic, 64, boycotted the start of the trial last week, alleging he has not had enough time to prepare his defence despite having been indicted since 1995 and being in custody for 14 months.

He finally appeared at the hearing on Tuesday, again asking for more time to prepare his case. He had previously asked for 10 months to get ready.

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