* Trial resumes after four-month adjournment
* Karadzic to be accompanied by court-appointed counsel
* Prosecutors to begin case after Karadzic opening statement
By Reed Stevenson
THE HAGUE, March 1 (Reuters) – Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic took the stand as his war crimes trial resumed on Monday, denying his role during the 1992-95 Bosnian war that saw some of Europe’s worst atrocities since World War Two.
Karadzic, 64, who is representing himself and had boycotted the trial when it began last October, denies the 11 war crimes charges against him, including two of genocide.
“What I’m going to present here is the marble truth,” Karadzic said, arguing in his opening statement that any conflicts resulting from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s was a natural consequence of Serbs, Croats and Muslims fighting for land.
“Everything that Serbs did is being treated as a crime,” Karadzic said, appearing in a dark suit, often referring to himself in the third person as “Karadzic”.
Karadzic will have two days to deliver his opening statement, followed by the start of the prosecutors’ case against him.
Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia denied his demands for further postponement last week and ordered London-based barrister Richard Harvey accompany him in court from Monday.
At the start of the trial last October, prosecutors vowed to prove that Karadzic led a genocidal campaign to make Bosnian Muslims “disappear from the face of the earth” and carve out a mono-ethnic state for Bosnian Serbs during a war that killed an estimated 100,000 people.
Karadzic boycotted those proceedings, leading to the tribunal’s decision to appoint Harvey as legal counsel and adjourn the trial to give him time to prepare.
The court warned should Karadzic boycott the trial or obstructs proceedings, he will forfeit his right to self-representation and Harvey will take over.
The charges against Karadzic include the 43-month siege of Sarajevo that began in 1992. An estimated 10,000 people died in the siege as the former Yugoslavia was torn apart.
A psychiatrist before becoming president of the self-proclaimed Republica Srpska, Karadzic stepped down from power in 1996 and went into hiding. He was captured in 2008, bearded and disguised as an alternative healer in Belgrade. (Reporting by Reed Stevenson; Editing by Janet Lawrence)