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Karadzic war crimes trial set to start in October
The Hague - The long-awaited war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was on Tuesday scheduled for October 19, following rejection of his application to have the trial delayed by 10 months.

Judge Kwon O-Gon, presiding over the case in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, said he would make a formal announcement on the decision shortly.

Karadzic appeared before the South Korean judge for the first time in the latest of several pre-trial hearings since his transfer to The Hague in July 2008.

The 64-year-old former politician had sought to delay the start of his trial by up to 10 months, arguing for more time to study documents submitted to the court.

Karadzic has been indicted on 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, including two counts of genocide, during the 1992- 1995 Bosnian war.

Kwon replaced Scottish judge Iain Bonomy, who resigned last month for personal reasons. Both served on the bench in the lengthy international war crimes trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

Bonomy had urged both the prosecution and defence not drag out proceedings. At a pre-trial hearing in July, he asked the prosecution to revise and restrict its indictment against Karadzic.

Limiting the number of charges might ensure a quicker trial, he said. In August, Bomony told journalists the case was ready to go to trial.

On September 4, Karadzic told the court he would need 22,145 hours to study 591,315 documents and 5,420 hours for witness reports. This would mean the trial could not start before July 2010, two years after he arrived in The Hague following his arrest in Belgrade on July 22, 2008.

Karadzic first appeared at the ICTY before Dutch judge Alphons Orie. The former Bosnian-Serb leader however filed a motion to replace him, claiming Orie would not be impartial in any case concerning Srebrenica.

In July 1995, Dutch United Nations troops could not prevent Serb troops from taking over the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. More than 8,000 men and boys were taken away and killed.

Without addressing Karadzic's arguments, ICTY President Fausto Pocar subsequently replaced Orie for "procedural reasons".

Kwon is known for his phenomenal memory, which is expected to benefit him in the Karadzic case that already comprises hundreds of thousands of documents.

Karadzic, alongside Ratko Mladic, the Serb military chief during the Bosnian war, is held responsible for crimes including the slaughter at Srebrenica and the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo. He spent 13 years on the run before his arrest. Mladic remains at large.

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