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UN court appoints Karadzic lawyer, adjourns trial until March 2010

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-05

The UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has appointed a lawyer to represent former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, postponing his trial until March 2010.

AFP - A UN court imposed Thursday a lawyer on Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and postponed to March 1 the genocide trial he has boycotted since it started last week.

"The trial chamber hereby determines that the overall interests of justice are best met by the appointment of counsel," said a written decision by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

"The trial chamber hereby ... orders that the trial will resume on March 1, 2010."

Karadzic, 64, boycotted his trial since it opened on October 26, demanding more time to prepare his defence, which he insists on conducting himself.

He stands charged with 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1992-95 Bosnian war in which some 100,000 people died and 2.2 million were forced to flee their homes.

"The accused has indeed substantially and persistently obstructed the proper and expeditious conduct of his trial by refusing to attend the proceedings," said the court's decision.

"The accused's conduct has effectively brought the trial to a halt, which is evidently his purpose."

It ordered the court registry to appoint counsel to represent Karadzic's interests when the trial resumes, "if that should be required", stating that he would still "continue to represent himself including by dealing with the day-to-day matters."

Karadzic has vowed to resist the imposition of counsel on him.

He will have seven days to apply for permission to appeal the ruling, and another seven days thereafter to file an appeal.

Date created : 2009-11-05

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