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Hague Trial Continues, Despite Karadzic No-Show

Hague Trial Continues, Despite Karadzic No-Show

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In a repeat of Monday, Radovan Karadzic again boycotted his trial and refused to appear in court to face charges of genocide and war crimes stemming from the 1992-95 Bosnian war. That did not stop the trial from going ahead.

For the second day in a row, the defendant's seat was empty. But this time, Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon moved quickly into session. He said Karadzic regrettably chose his course and now must face the consequences.

"In light of the accused voluntarily and unequivocally waiving his right to be present at these proceedings, the chamber is of the view that this hearing can proceed in his absence," Kwon said.

Prosecutor Alan Tieger wasted no time, dramatically launching into the case he intends to present. He started off with the Srebrenica, where the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys took place. He said shortly after the largest mass murder since World War II, the supreme commander of its forces was telling his parliament how he ordered that attack.

"This case, your honors, is about that supreme commander. A man who harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear to implement his vision of an ethnically separated Bosnia. Radovan Karadzic," Tieger said.

Tieger said he will call various witnesses, from insiders who worked with Karadzic to international workers to victims, to prove Karadzic was part of a joint criminal enterprise whose goal was to remove non-Serbs from part of Bosnia, that he did it systematically through murder, extermination, shelling, detaining people and even genocide. Prosecutors said they will use Karadzic's own words, from intercepted phone conversations to his speeches in the Bosnian Parliament. They played one in court Tuesday.

In this October 1991 speech, Karadzic warns the non-Serbs present not to try and secede from Yugoslavia or they will end up on a road to hell from which they may disappear.

Prosecutors say Karadzic was the absolute leader of the Bosnian Serbs, by both his own admission and that of his deputies. They will eventually have 300 hours to prove that in court. But first, judges still have to deal with Karadzic's non-compliance. With court adjourned for the week, prosecutors will finish their opening statement on Monday. If Karadzic stays away from court, judges will hold a hearing onto how to proceed. One option they're considering is appointing a lawyer for him, something Karadzic has said he will not accept.