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Karadzic 'will appear at trial'

View of the empty seat where Radovan Karadzic was supposed at the start of his trial in The Hague, Netherlands, 26 October 2009
Radovan Karadzic refused to appear in court at the start of his trial

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic says he will appear at his trial in The Hague on genocide and war crimes charges.

He boycotted the trial's start last week saying he needed more time to prepare his defence.

In a letter to the presiding judge, Mr Karadzic says he will attend a procedural hearing at the court on Tuesday to discuss his defence.

His letter also calls for a fair and expeditious trial.

Proceedings were adjourned when Mr Karadzic failed to appear in court last Monday.

KARADZIC WRITES TO JUDGE

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When he again failed to appear on Tuesday, presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said he had chosen not to exercise his right to be present and "must therefore accept the consequences", announcing that the court would proceed in his absence.

He said the court would consider imposing a lawyer to represent Mr Karadzic if he continued to boycott proceedings.

The 64-year-old has decided to represent himself during the proceedings.

'Undisputed leader'

The former president of Republika Srpska, head of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and commander of the Bosnian Serb Army faces two charges of genocide and nine more of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1992-1995 war, which left more than 100,000 people dead.

THE CHARGES
Eleven counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities
Charged over shelling Sarajevo during the city's siege, in which some 12,000 civilians died
Allegedly organised the massacre of up to 8,000 Bosniak men and youths in Srebrenica
Targeted Bosniak and Croat political leaders, intellectuals and professionals
Unlawfully deported and transferred civilians because of national or religious identity
Destroyed homes, businesses and sacred sites

While protesting his innocence, Mr Karadzic has refused to enter pleas and his legal counsel in Belgrade said he would reject any lawyer imposed by the court.

Prosecutors, who have branded him the leader of an ethnic cleansing campaign in the Bosnian War, resumed setting out their case.

Winding up his opening statement, prosecutor Alan Tieger dwelt on the Srebrenica massacre, in which up to 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed.

"The murder of these men and the expulsion of the women, children and elderly did not arise from nowhere," he said.

"These crimes were the culmination of the accused's determination to cleanse eastern Bosnia to ensure the Serb state he envisioned."

The prosecution has labelled Mr Karadzic the "undisputed leader" of Serbs responsible for carrying out atrocities during the conflict.

He was taken to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague last year, after 13 years in hiding.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.



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