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Karadzic says defence 'not ready'
Former Bosnian Serb leader says his war crimes tribunal case is moving too quickly.
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2008 12:41 GMT
Karadzic openly practiced alternative
medicine while in hiding [EPA]

Radovan Karadzic, a former Bosnian Serb leader facing war crimes charges at The Hague, has told a pre-trial conference that he is at a disadvantage in preparing his defence because the case is moving so fast.

But Iain Bonomy, the Scottish judge overseeing trial preparations, reprimanded Karadzic and prosecutors for not being adequately prepared for the hearing.

Karadzic, who was arrested in July after 13 years on the run, faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for allegedly instigating atrocities by Bosnian Serb forces throughout Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

He has chosen to defend himself but is assembling a team of legal experts to advise him.

Karadzic complained of not having a defence team and that he was being left on an uneven footing with the court.

The judge said that if Karadzic is having trouble keeping pace with proceedings, it is his own fault for choosing to defend himself.

Bonomy said that prosecutors are still waiting for the court to approve planned changes aimed at streamlining Karadzic's indictment, a process likely to take several weeks.

Milosevic trial

While Karadzic is entitled under the United Nations court's rules to defend himself, the tribunal fears his decision could lead to a repeat of the defects in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, his one-time political mentor and the former Yugoslav president.

Acting as his own counsel, Milosevic prolonged his genocide trial for four years before the case was aborted without a verdict when he died of a heart attack in his UN jail cell in March 2006.

With that in mind and pointing out the complexity of the case, Bonomy has repeatedly urged Karadzic to hire an attorney.

He tentatively set January 20 as a date for a new status conference.

Prosecutors said Karadzic will be supplied with the amended indictment's supporting material by the end of the week, after which he will have 14 days to respond.

If the court decides to accept the amended charges, Karadzic will need to enter a new plea.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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