Monday, November 2, 2009

Karadzic to attend special session of Hague Tribunal

SARAYEVO, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will attend on Tuesday a special session of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague but only to express his opinion on the future of his trial, a spokeswoman for the tribunal said.

The special procedural session is scheduled to open at 04:15 p.m. local time (13:15 GMT) to discuss the future of Karadzic trial because the alleged Bosnian Serb war criminal is boycotting the regular court meetings claiming that he needs at least 10 more months to prepare his defense.

"The judge demanded last week that the prosecutor and the accused presented their opinion on several scenarios, including the possibility of the trial without Karadzic, the appointment of a defense lawyer, the appointment of the so-called 'friends of the court,' or any other proposals," Nerma Jelacic said.

Karadzic has been a no-show at the trial since its start last Monday and refused to show up in the court until his demands were met.

However, he has sent a letter to presiding judge O-Gon Kwon saying that he would attend the procedural hearing to determine how to proceed with the trial.

"I hope we will be able to find a solution which will lead not only to an expeditious trial, but a fair one," he said in the letter made public on Monday.

Karadzic, 64, was arrested last year after he had spent over 12 years in hiding.

He is defending himself against war crimes and genocide charges that include the massacre of some 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.

Prosecutors argue that Karadzic had 15 months to prepare for the trial and should have been ready for court proceedings to begin. Karadzic insists he is innocent of all charges brought against him, which date from the 1992-95 Bosnian war.