Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader indicted for genocide and war crimes, appears Thursday for the first time before a UN tribunal since his decade-long flight from justice ended.
Karadzic will exercise his right to a 30-day delay in entering a plea at his trial, one of his lawyers told the AFP.
Karadzic was transferred to the detention unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) shortly before 8am local time on Wednesday after an overnight transfer from Belgrade.
Judge Alphons Orie will officially inform Karadzic of the 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity on the indictment, and give him an opportunity to plead.
He is notably accused of playing a leading role in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left 10,000 dead, and in the July 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the UN-declared safe haven of Srebrenica.
(Read the official indictment against Karadzic here: http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/kar-ai000428e.htm)">www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/kar-ai000428e.htm)
He faces life imprisonment if found guilty.
According to his Karadzic’s brother Luka, the former leader of Bosnian Serbs prepared extensively for his defense while in hiding and expected to be arrested.
"He was well-prepared for his possible arrest and thinks everything will end well.... True, my brother thought he would be arrested a bit later, in six months," his brother said in an interview with Izvestia, a pro-Kremlin paper.
The authorities who captured the former Bosnian Serb leader confiscated his laptop and more than 50 discs containing documents prepared for his defence in The Hague, his brother said.
Karadzic "hopes for help from Russian diplomacy," he added.
Moscow is a traditional ally of Belgrade and has expressed concern that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague is biased against Serbs.