Karadzic Refuses to Leave Cell for Trial

Proceedings halted as alleged war criminal boycotts
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2009 6:34 AM CDT
The empty seat where Radovan Karadzic was supposed to sit at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague today.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, POOL)
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(Newser) – The long-awaited trial of Radovan Karadzic was halted just 15 minutes after opening because the former Bosnian Serb leader refused to leave his cell and attend the proceedings. Although prosecutors in The Hague asked the judges to continue in his absence, the presiding magistrate suspended the proceedings until tomorrow. The judges added that they may appoint a lawyer for Karadzic, who is representing himself, if he continues to no-show the trial.

Karadzic had said last week that he would refuse to attend court today, but it was unclear whether proceedings would go on in his absence. He is accused of 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity for his role in the Balkans War, including the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. His military commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, is still at large.