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Karadzic attends UN war crimes court for first time

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Radovan Karadzic appeared at his U.N. war crimes trial on Tuesday for the first time since it began last week, claiming his "fundamental rights have been violated" by judges who started without him.

The former Bosnian Serb leader, accused of masterminding Serb atrocities throughout the 1992-95 Bosnian war, had boycotted the first three days. On Tuesday, Karadzic, who is defending himself, again insisted that he needed more time to prepare.

"I do not want to boycott these proceedings, but I cannot take part in something that has been bad from the start and where my fundamental rights have been violated," he said.

Karadzic faces two counts of genocide and nine other charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He has refused to enter pleas, but insists he is innocent of all charges.

Prosecutor Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff urged judges to impose a court-appointed lawyer on Karadzic so that the case can continue even if he continues his boycott. "Mr. Karadzic cannot be allowed to manipulate the proceedings through his decision to not attend hearings," she said.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said judges would issue a written ruling later in the week on how to proceed. He canceled a trial hearing scheduled for today and adjourned the trial pending the ruling.

Karadzic attends UN war crimes court for first time 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 11:35pm]
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