Author-lawyer Peter Robinson on defending Radovan Karadzic

Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:35am EDT
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By Adam Tanner

THE HAGUE (Reuters Life!) - Of the more than one million American lawyers, California-born Peter Robinson is one of few to specialize in representing accused war criminals.

He now lives in The Hague and is a legal advisor to ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who is on trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Karadzic has denied involvement in the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo by Serb forces, where 10,000 died, and the killing of about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim males at Srebrenica in 1995.

Robinson is so enthusiastic about his work that he has written a novel in which a lawyer represents a notorious Serbian warlord accused of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. He sells his book through his web site

Q. Why would anyone want to become a defense lawyer for an accused war criminal?

A. That's a really good question. I'd say my role in the situation is really to help him get a fair trial and I think everyone would agree that it is necessary to have fair trials.

Q. Who pays you and how much money do you earn?

A. The U.N. pays ... They pay me 71 euros ($92) an hour, up to 150 hours each month.   Continued...

<p>Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appears in the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for an administrative hearing in his war crimes trial in the Hague, November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Michael Kooren/Pool</p>