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Radovan Karadzic war crimes trial to resume

Radovan Karadzic at The Hague (2 March 2010)
Radovan Karadzic made his opening statement last month

The international court trying ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for alleged war crimes has dismissed his appeal for the trial to be delayed.

The court said the trial would resume on 13 April after rejecting Mr Karadzic's bid to have it postponed until 17 June.

Mr Karadzic had argued he needed more time to prepare himself.

He is charged with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide - all of which he denies.

Prosecutors, who say he orchestrated a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against Muslims and Croats in eastern Bosnia to create an ethnically pure Serbian state, are now due to call witnesses.

THE CHARGES
Eleven counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities
Charged over shelling of 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

In March, Mr Karadzic used his opening statement to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague to dismiss the two worst alleged atrocities of the 1992-95 Bosnian war as myths and deny his involvement.

Mr Karadzic told the court that Sarajevo, where some 12,000 people died in 44 months, was "not a city under siege" by Bosnian Serb forces.

He also said claims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys were based on "false myths".

Mr Karadzic, who has been representing himself, boycotted proceedings last year, insisting he needed more time to prepare his case.

In November, the court appointed British lawyer Richard Harvey to take over the defence if he continued his boycott.

Mr Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in 2008 after nearly 13 years on the run.

During his time in power, he was president of the self-styled Bosnian Serb Republic and commander of its army during the Bosnian conflict which left more than 100,000 people dead.

He is the most significant figure to face justice at this tribunal since former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who died of a heart attack in 2006 before his own trial was concluded.



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