The former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will at last appear at his trial today, three day after proceedings opened against him on 11 war crimes charges.
He has stayed in his cell since the prosecution began to read its indictment last week, but has now issued a letter saying he is to ask the court for more time to prepare his defence. “Mister K remains absent from these proceedings and has communicated to the chamber once again that this is because he considers himself not to be accurately prepared,” said Judge O-Gon Kwon. Karadzic is representing himself, but one of his legal team says they estimate they need 10 months to prepare his defence. But the court’s patience with delaying tactics is fraying: “I think the court now has to make a decision and appoint a lawyer for him. Because otherwise you are having these kind of games the whole time and I am a little bit afraid that we will never get a verdict,” said a lawyer for the mothers of the Srebrenica victims, Axel Hagedorn. The 11 charges include alleged genocide for the massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995. His military commander, Ratko Mladic is still at large on the run from the war crimes tribunal. The possibility is increasing that the court may appoint a lawyer for Karadzic so that the trial can proceed, even though his services are likely to be refused. Karadzic is also accused of planning the 43-month siege of Sarajevo, during which an estimated 10,000 people died.