Radovan Karadzic faces first trial witnesses





Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is facing the first prosecution witnesses as his trial for genocide resumes at The Hague.

The first witness is Ahmet Zulic, who was a prisoner in a Serb detention camp in north-western Bosnia.

Mr Karadzic, who has been conducting his own defence, is expected to cross-examine him.

Mr Karadzic denies 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

All charges relate to the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina during the early 1990s.

The prosecution is expected to present evidence from some 410 witnesses, over a period of several months.

Mr Zulic, who was a prisoner in a detention camp near Sanski Most, has given evidence to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on three previous occasions, including in the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Mr Milosevic died of a heart attack in 2006 before the trial was concluded.

Mr Zulic's evidence will last about an hour and it is expected that he will then be cross-examined by Mr Karadzic.

Although Mr Karadzic has said he wants to defend himself, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has ordered that British lawyer Richard Harvey be present in court to represent him if that becomes necessary.

Mr Karadzic boycotted court proceedings last October when the prosecution first laid out the case against him.

He has consistently asked for more time to prepare his defence. His last attempt to have the trial postponed was dismissed earlier this month.

Mr Karadzic has been in custody for nearly two years and judges are determined that the hearings should get under way without further delay, says the BBC's Peter Biles in The Hague.

Mr Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade in 2008 after nearly 13 years on the run.

Prosecutors say he orchestrated a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Croats in eastern Bosnia, to create an ethnically pure Serbian state.

However, in March Mr Karadzic used his opening statement to dismiss some of the worst alleged atrocities of the 1992-95 Bosnian war as myths.


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