Karadzic appeal rejected, trial date set for October 26

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic will face war crimes and genocide charges in the International Criminal Tribunal on October 26, the court has announced. He stands accused of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.


AFP - Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic will go on trial on October 26 accused of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, The Hague's international criminal court said Thursday.

The court "hereby orders that the trial shall commence on Monday 26, October 26, at 9:00am," said a statement from presiding judge O-Gon Kwon.

The trial at the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague is expected to last two years.

It was due to start October 19 but was put back for administrative reasons until October 21. Then an appeals court on Tuesday granted Karadzic a few extra days until October 26 to prepare his defence but threw out a motion by the former Serbian strongman for a delay of several months.

Karadzic intends to stage his own defence like former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who died in March 2006 before the end of his own war crimes trial.

He had told the court he and a team of legal advisors needed more time to work through a million pages of prosecution documents and interview more than 300 witnesses.

Karadzic, 64, was arrested in Belgrade last July after 13 years on the run.

He faces 11 charges, including for his role in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left 10,000 people dead and the July 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

The court paved the way for setting the trial date by confirming Tuesday on appeal that any immunity deal concluded between Karadzic and US negotiator Richard Holbrooke had no jurisdiction over the court.

Karadzic had maintained that he had concluded a deal in 1996 with Holbrooke during the Bosnia War whereby he agreed to withdrawl from public life in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The trial will open with a two day presentation of the case against Karadzic which the prosecution which is expected to bolster the case over the ensuing year by calling several hundred witnesses to the stand, including victims, relatives of victims and experts.

The court is still urging Serb authorities to arrest Ratko Mladic, 67, the former military chief for the Bosnian Serbs, who has been ion the run since 1995.

Mladic is also charged with war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1992-95 Bosnian war that cost an estimated 100,000 lives.

Since its inauguration in 1993, the court has indicted 161 people for crimes in connection with war in the former Yugoslavia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Of those 120 have been tried.

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