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article imageKaradzic gets court appointed lawyer, trial adjourned until March

By Gemma Fox     Nov 5, 2009 in World
The ex Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has had a lawyer appointed to him by the UN's Yugoslav War Crimes court after his failure to attend the first week of his own trial.
The court appointed counsel will represent Karadzic when he fails to show at the trial in the future. The court also adjourned the trial until March 1 in order to give the lawyer time to prepare for the trial.
Karadzic, 64, who was to represent himself throughout the trial, boycotted the start of his trial and only appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday.
There are eleven charges against him but Karadzic says that he is innocent of all of them. Despite his protests of innocence he refuses to enter pleas against the charges. He would face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if he were convicted of all the charges.
A court statement said, "The accused's conduct has effectively brought the trial to a halt, which is evidently his purpose."
In ordering the court registry to appoint the counsel to represent Karadzic at the resumption of the trial the statement said Karadzic was to be represented, "if that should be required" but also stated that he could still represent himself by dealing with day-to-day matters.
Karadzic had seven days in which to apply for permission to appeal this decision.
Appearing in court for the first time on Tuesday, Karadzic argued that he had not had sufficient time in which to prepare his defence and asked for a ten month adjournment.
However, presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon dismissed that claim stating that the court had already determined that the defendant, Karadzic, had had sufficient time to prepare his defence.
Arrested in Belgrade in 2008, Radovan Karadzic had been on the run for thirteen years.
Through his time in power he was the president of the Bosnian-Serb republic and also the commander of their army during the war of 1992-1995. The conflict left 100,000 people dead.
Indicted in 1995, Karadzic faces two charges of genocide, nine of war crimes and of crimes against humanity. Last year he was taken to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Prosecutors call Karadzic the "undisputed leader" of Serbs who carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing atrocities during the 1992-1995 war.
Karadzic is also responsible for the massacre in Srebrenica, say prosecutors. In Srebrenica an estimated figure of 8000 Bosniak men and boys were killed.
Mostly muslin, Bosniaks are descended from Bosnian Slavs who adopted the Islamic faith in the Middle Ages under the Ottoman Turkish rule.
List of charges against Radovan Karadzic:
* Eleven counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and various other atrocities
* Throughout the siege of Sarajevo, shelling the city. Around 12,000 civilians died in the siege
* Accused of being responsible for organising the massacre in Srebrenica in which 8000 Bosniak men and boys were killed
* Specifically targeting Croat and Bosnian intellectuals, professionals and political leaders
* The unlawful deportation and transferring of civilians because of their national or religious identity
* Destroying sacred sites, homes and businesses
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