Karadzic to make first appearance before UN tribunal

July 31st, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

The Hague, July 31 (DPA) Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is to appear for the first time before a UN court in The Hague Thursday, facing charges of committing genocide and war crimes against Muslims and Croats during the 1992-95 Bosnia war. The session at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)marks the first time Karadzic will appear in public since he disappeared in the aftermath of the Balkan war.

Karadzic was arrested on a Belgrade bus by Serbian authorities July 21 and transferred to the Netherlands early Wednesday. He has since been at the UN detention centre in Scheveningen, near The Hague.

At the court session, the prosecution will read the 11-count indictment against him. Charges include genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, persecution, deportation, unlawfully inflicting terror on civilians and taking hostages.

Karadzic will be asked to enter a plea on each of the 11 counts.

Under ICTY regulations, he has 30 days following the initial appearance to enter his pleas. Karadzic’s Serbian lawyer, Svetozar Vujacic, told Serbian reporters late Wednesday that his client would make his request within the 30 days.

The indictment against Karadzic holds him responsible for, among others, the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, the deadly 44-month siege of Sarajevo and brutal ethnic-cleansing campaigns.

Chief ICTY Prosecutor ICTY Serge Brammertz said in a news conference at the court Wednesday his team was reviewing the indictment, last amended in 2000, to include new case law and evidence presented before the court during the past eight years.

The initial appearance - his first under his true identity since the war - will be broadcast live on Dutch public television and can be received also by satellite throughout Europe.


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