News 31 May 16

UN Court Rejects Plea to Release Karadzic

The UN war crimes court in The Hague rejected a request from the defence of former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic to grant him temporary release.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Radovan Karadzic. Photo: ICTY.

Theodor Meron, the president of the Mechanism for International Tribunals – an institution set up to wrap up the work of the Hague Tribunal – rejected Karadzic’s proposal on Tuesday, saying that there was a chance he could abscond.

Meron said in his decision that Karadzic said he planned to live in the Bosnian Serb entity, Republika Srpska, but only Serbia had provided guarantees that Karadzic would return to The Hague, and both Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina had not done so.

“The risk of flight associated with granting a request for provisional release is higher where a conviction is entered and a sentence to a considerable period is imposed, than where the applicant is in phase of trial,” said Meron.

“Karadzic has been convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison and a considerable portion of his sentence remains to be served, subject to outcome of any appeal,” he added.

He also noted that “Karadzic actively evaded justice for 13 years before he was arrested”.

Radovan Karadzic’s lawyer Goran Petronijevic told media last Thursday that Karadzic had requested temporary release to attend a commemoration ceremony for his brother’s death.

Petronijevic added that the Serbian government had provided guarantees that Karadzic would not abscond.

The verdict in Karadzic’s trial in March sentenced him to 40 years in prison for genocide in Srebrenica, terrorising the population of Sarajevo, the persecution of non-Serbs and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

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Background

Karadzic: War Criminal or Poet?

To the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, was a true sensation, and one to be exploited day after day.  

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.

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