Karadzic addresses UN court for a second day

Karadzic addresses UN court for a second day

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic elaborated his defence strategy Tuesday against 11 charges of genocide and crimes against humanity at a hearing in the Hague, DPA reported.

The trial resumed on Monday after a four-month break and saw Karadzic deliver mostly political opening statements to the judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Karadzic has denied all charges and has described the 1990s Bosnian conflict as a "just and holy war" that he was forced to wage against Muslim fundamentalists seeking to turn Bosnia into an Islamic republic.

Relatives of his alleged victims, some of whom are following proceedings closely, are calling on judges to issue a life sentence on the former psychiatrist for his role in the worst case of ethnic cleansing since World War II.

The founding member of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina is alleged to have orchestrated the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, then a UN-declared "safe zone," where Bosnian Serb forces are thought to have killed close to 8,000 unarmed Muslim men and boys.

Some 100,000 people died during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war while more than 2 million people were displaced.

During Monday's hearing, a defiant and remorseless Karadzic also accused prosecutors of fabricating the evidence used to charge him with genocide, war crimes and crime against humanity.

Meanwhile, judges were expected to consider a possible appeal by his legal advisers against the court's refusal to suspend the trial in order to give them more time to prepare his case.

Prosecutors in turn noted that the accused had already had plenty of time to prepare while he remained in custody for over 18 months. The defendant boycotted the trial's opening hearings in October and then obtained a four-month suspension in order to better prepare his case.

"In the interests of ensuring the expeditious conduct of the trial, the proceedings should not again be adjourned," prosecutors have told judges.

The prosecution further noted that witnesses are already en route to The Hague to testify in the case. The first witnesses were due to begin testifying on Wednesday.

First indicted in 1995, Karadzic was arrested in July 2008 in Belgrade, where he had been hiding disguised as the long-bearded Dragan David Dabic, doctor of alternative medicine.

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