THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The war crimes trial against Radovan Karadzic started Tuesday, even though the former Bosnian Serb leader skipped the proceedings at The Hague, Netherlands.
Judge O-Gon Kwon, the chief judge for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, warned Karadzic would have a legal representative appointed for him if he continued to stay away, and ruled the prosecution could begin its case, The Times of London reported.
Karadzic, acting as his own counsel to defend two charges of genocide and nine war crimes charges arising from his role in the Bosnian war, notified the tribunal last week he would not attend Monday's opening of his trial because he wanted another nine months to prepare his defense.
Prosecutors introduced what they said was wiretap evidence of Karadzic discussing the massacre of 300,000 Muslims.
"The time has come," prosecutor Alan Tieger quoted Karadzic as telling the Bosnian Serb Parliament, as he signed orders to recapture the town of Zepa and Srebrenica, the U.N. safe haven where Bosnian Serb forces slaughtered more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys.
One of the phone taps recorded Karadzic as saying, "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."