Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appeared in court on Tuesday for the first time since his trial for genocide started but said he would take no further part unless he had more time to prepare his defense.
Karadzic, acting as his own attorney, boycotted the start of proceedings last week before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he faces 11 war crimes charges, including two of genocide during the 1992 to 1995 Bosnian war.
Karadzic, who has denied all charges, was the leader of the Serb Republic that sought to carve its own state from Bosnia during the break up of Yugoslavia in Europe’s worst conflict since World War II.
He said he needs 10 more months to prepare, arguing he has been “snowed under” by 1.3 million pages of documents.
“I don’t want to boycott these proceedings but I cannot take part in something that has been bad from the start,” Karadzic said when asked by the presiding judge if he would continue his boycott.
The three-judge panel adjourned and said it would decide later this week on how to proceed. Planned prosecution witness testimony yesterday was cancelled.
Prosecutor Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff said options included appointing a standby counsel who could step in if Karadzic refused to participate, or stripping him of his right to represent himself. Imposing counsel could delay proceedings by a few months.
“If necessary, force can be used to secure his presence,” Uertz-Retzlaff said.