Page last updated at 20:48 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Lone Karadzic finally appears

Radovan Karadzic at his first appearance at the trial in the Hague.
Karadzic made his first appearance in court on the fourth day of the trial

By Peter Biles
BBC News, The Hague

Trial Chamber 3 at The Hague is a small, almost intimate courtroom.

But there was little warmth as Radovan Karadzic squared up to the prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Mr Karadzic entered the chamber seven minutes before the scheduled starting time.

He looked like a man in a hurry rather than someone accused of dragging out this trial.

Wearing a pair of small reading glasses, he peered at the documents he had brought with him.

However, his briefcase seemed remarkably slender for a man who complains of being snowed under by two million pages of evidence, including 700,000 of his own documents.

Familiar guise

He ran his hand through his thick mane of white/grey hair as he waited for the four red-robed judges to take their seats. Mr Karadzic wore a pink shirt and a crimson tie.

If his guise was familiar, so too were his arguments.

In his submission, he made it clear that he regarded Tuesday's proceedings as no more than "a status conference", a discussion on procedural issues surrounding the trial.

However, the prosecutors saw it as Day Four of the trial itself, with this being the first appearance by the accused.

Sitting alone in the area of the courtroom reserved for the defence team, the former Bosnian Serb leader was closely watched by an armed UN security guard.

The presentation was blisteringly fast at times, as Mr Karadzic reeled off the statistics for the volume of material he has to digest at present.

He claimed he had even sacrificed "walks in the fresh air" in order to read all the documents.

He was defiant and unyielding to the end.

Judge O-Gon Kwon said it was "unfortunate" that Mr Karadzic had repeated his earlier submissions, by simply demanding more time.

Mr Karadzic will now wait until the end of this week to hear what the judges decide to do about the legal stalemate that has dogged the start of this trial.

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