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The genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb leader RadovanKarad??i?c began today at the International Criminal Tribunal for theformer Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Karad??i?c faces 11 charges, including genocide, war crimes, andcrimes against humanity, which relate to the Bosnian War of the1990s. He denies all of the charges.

Now 64, Karad??i?c had been in hiding for 13 years before beingtaken to The Hague for trial, which opened 14 years after theevents to which it refers, and is expected to last until 2012.Karad??i?c announced on Thursday that he did not intend to attend theopening day, and it began without his presence. As he plans todefend himself, the trial could not continue.

Karad??i?c says he needs more time to prepare, and the trial hasbeen adjourned until tomorrow to allow the judges to consider theiroptions. If Karad??i?c fails to attend repeatedly, a defence lawyermay be assigned to him in order to allow the trial to continue inhis absence.

The start date has been delayed twice, and a request by Karad??i?cfor a further 10-month delay was rejected. He has also attempted torequest that the charges be dropped on the grounds that former USmediator Richard Holbrooke offered him immunity in 1996 if heretired from public life. The court rejected this appeal.

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