Channel 4 News
27 October 2009

The former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, accused of orchestrating ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, boycotts his trial for a second day as the prosecution launches their case against the "supreme commander".

Prosecutors launched their case against Radovan Karadzic for war crimes during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, but the former Bosnian Serb leader shunned the second day of his trial at the U.N. tribunal.

Karadzic has denied 11 war crimes charges arising from the violent break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, including two genocide charges for the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and for broader atrocities.

Prosecutor Alan Tieger spent the first 12 minutes of his opening statements describing how the "supreme commander" orchestrated ethnic cleansing campaigns to eradicate Muslims from Bosnia, including the 43-month siege of Sarajevo.

"This case, your honours, 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.

According to the prosecution Karadzic said in Oct 1991: "They have to know that there are 20,000 armed Serbs around Sarajevo….it will be a black cauldron where 300,000 Muslims will die.

"They will disappear. That people will disappear from the face of the earth."

Tirger said that Karadzic's actions showed his "disregard for law and humanity in pursuit of what he perceived to be Serbian interests."

In anticipation of the international reaction to his plans Karadzic reportedly said: "Europe will be told to go f**k itself. Not to come back until the job is finished."

Karadzic was not in court to hear the opening statement, his seat empty as he made good on a threat to boycott proceedings because he needs more to prepare for trial.

Judge O-Gon Kwon issued yet another warning to Karadzic to appear in the courtroom at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, or risk having counsel assigned to him and being tried in absentia.

"Should the accused persist in his refusal to attend the trial...the trial will proceed in his absence, and counsel will be assigned," the South Korean judge said ahead of the prosecution's remarks, adding that the court would make its decision after the prosecution's opening remarks end next Monday.

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