War Crimes Trial Against Former Bosnian Serb Leader Resumes

10.27.09 | FL News Team

The war crimes trial against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [[ KAHR-ah-JEECH ]] resumes today. He is accused of carrying out some of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War Two. The judge adjourned the first day of trial after only 15 minutes Monday because Karadzic refused to show up. The 64-year-old is representing himself in the trial before the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. In documents released Monday, Karadzic said he skipped Monday's proceedings because he was "not prepared." He added that he had no plans to boycott the trial. The judge has threatened to appoint a lawyer to represent Karadzic if he fails to show up again. Today's hearing will begin with the prosecution's opening statements. The judge has indicated the court is prepared to try Karadzic in absentia if necessary.

Karadzic was taken into custody last July after being found living disguised and using a false name in Belgrade. He faces eleven charges, including two counts of genocide, for crimes against humanity allegedly carried out during the Bosnian war after the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. He could be sentenced to life in prison if fully convicted on all charges stemming from a 44-month siege of Sarajevo in which 12-thousand civilians were killed by snipers and shelling. Karadzic is also accused of being the ringleader of the mass murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and youths in July 1995 at Srebrenica [[ sreh-breh-NEET-sah ]].