Karadzic appears before war crimes tribunal

July 31st, 2008 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS  

The Hague, July 31 (DPA) Former Bosnian Serb leader and war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic appeared before the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for the first time Thursday afternoon. He was formally charged with 11 counts, including genocide, complicity in genocide, persecutions, deportation, unlawfully inflicting terror on civilians and taking hostages during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Asked whether he would use the services of an attorney or represent himself, the clean-shaven Karadzic - looking tired, thinner and older - smiled and said he would represent himself.

He then listened impassively as Judge Alphons Orie read out a list of charges relating to the reign of terror and crimes against humanity inflicted on the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat ethnic groups by the Bosnian Serbs.

As the indictment was read out over the ensuing 18 minutes, Karadzic occasionally closed his eyes while listening.

The former Bosnian-Serb leader, dressed in a smart black suit, with a white shirt and dark purple tie, was ushered into the courtroom between two court police officers.

When asked to verify his identity and last adress, Karadzic, who was arrested in Belgrade last week after 13 years on the run, said his official address was with his wife in the city of Pale.

“But if you were asking about my unofficial address, then I can tell you that that is in Belgrade.”

Karadzic smiled for the first time when Judge Orie asked him if all of his family had been informed about he had been transferred to the Netherlands.

“I think practically everyone knows that I have been brought to the Netherlands,” he smiled.

Judge Orie, addressing Karadzic in a polite manner and occasionally smiling at the defendant, apologized at one point for “having to complete the formalities”.

Asked whether Karadzic had seen the ambassador of his country, Karadzic replied: “I consider myself to be a citizen of Bosnia-Herzegovia, Montenegro and Serbia.”

He said he had been visited by the ambassador of Montenegro but not by the others.

Karadzic also said he had heard the prosecution would review the indictment, and he requested the right to see the new, amended version.

Prosecutor Serge Brammertz confirmed to the court the prosecution is preparing a new indictment, and the court promised Karadicz to give him the new indictment if and when it would be ready.

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