Karadzic to make first court appearance Thursday

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – War crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic will appear before the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague for the first time on Thursday, the court said, and will be asked to enter a plea to the charges against him.

The former Bosnian Serb leader, who faces charges of genocide for his actions in the 1992-95 Bosnia war, is due in court at 4 p.m. (10 a.m. EDT) on Thursday before judge Alphons Orie.

Usually the indictment is read at a suspect’s initial court appearance, but Karadzic can ask that only the charges, effectively a shorter summary of the indictment, are read, or that the indictment is not read at all.

He will be asked to enter a plea. If he refuses, proceedings will be adjourned and he will have 30 days to consider before he is again asked to enter a plea. If he still refuses, a plea of “not guilty” will be entered for him.

Karadzic was arrested in Serbia last week and was transferred to the Netherlands and placed in the custody of the tribunal on Wednesday.

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