Prosecution outlines case; Chamber warns Karadzic 28 Oct 2009
In the second day of trial proceedings against Radovan Karadzic, the Prosecution delivered its opening statement, whilst the Chamber warned the accused over his continued absence.

On the second day of trial proceedings against Radovan Karadžić, the Prosecution delivered its opening statement against the former President of the Republika Srpska, despite the accused again choosing to remain absent from the courtroom. The Chamber allowed the Prosecution to begin, deeming that its opening statements do not constitute evidence, but simply the opening of its case.

At the start of proceedings on day two of the trial, presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said that the Chamber regretted the decision of Karadžić to remain absent, but warned the accused that “consequences will inevitably flow”. According to Judge Kwon, although the right of an accused to be present at his trial is a “fundamental one”, it remains “well recognised that this rights is not absolute”, and moreover that, “when the accused himself chooses not to exercise his right to be present, a Chamber can consider such a choice as a waiver of that right”. The Chamber has warned Karadžić that if he persists in his refusal to be present at the Tribunal, it may well assign counsel in order for the trial to proceed.

"nationalism, hatred and fear"

Delivering the Prosecution’s opening statement, Alain Tieger told the Chamber that the case concerned “that supreme commander, a man who harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear to implement his vision of an ethnically separated Bosnia: Radovan Karadžić”. Using footage from the war as well as phone transcripts of conversations of the accused, Mr Tieger told the Tribunal that Karadžić had “ethnically cleansed vast portions of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The prosecutor quoted Karadžić as telling his Parliament after the Srebrenica genocide that Bosnian Muslims “will disappear. That people will disappear from the face of the earth.”

Karadžić also stands accused of ordering the ‘siege of Sarajevo’ in which the city was targeted by snipers and shelled for over three years. The Prosecution told the Tribunal that “school children playing with each other were shot, people riding on trams were shot, children playing in the snow were shot, people collecting water were shot, even when attending funerals of loved ones who had been killed, the civilians of Sarajevo were targets and were shot at”.

Judges in the case will announce their decision on how to proceed with the case in Karadžić’s continued absence on 3 November 2009.

Click here for an overview of the case against Radovan Karadzic, including some of the difficulties faced in conducting his 'mega trial'

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