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Karadzic Seeks Another Trial Delay

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said today he was ready to give an opening statement if his war crimes trial resumes on March 1 as scheduled, but he intends to file motions to delay its resumption.

Karadzic's trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia began late last year, but he boycotted the first three days on the grounds that he needed more time to prepare his defense. He has been representing himself.

The court appointed British lawyer Richard Harvey last October to represent Karadzic and postponed the trial until March 1 to give Harvey time to prepare. Karadzic wants to dismiss Harvey and filed an appeal last week against his appointment.

But he confirmed today that he would be ready regardless to present his opening.

"Yes, if you decide that it is going to be the first of March after all," Karadzic said when trial judge O-Gon Kwon asked him to confirm if he would present his opening statement at the scheduled start of the trial.

He quickly added, though, that he would file to postpone the resumption of the trial yet again to have more time to prepare. He said it was not clear yet how much additional time he would need to request.

Karadzic denies all 11 counts of war crimes relating to the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including Bosnian Serb troops’ killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, the worst atrocity of the conflict.