Radovan Karadzic has been given permission to appeal the Hague Tribunal’s decision to reject his request to be acquitted of charges for taking UN peacekeepers hostage in 1995.
The Trial Chamber of the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, allowed Karadzic’s appeal saying that the issue of the status of captured UN peacekeepers has a considerable effect on the fair and efficient proceedings or outcome of the trial.
On July 5 Karadzic, wartime Bosnian Serb leader, asked for permission to file an appeal on the grounds that the UN solders, whom the Republika Srpska Army took hostage, were combatants and participants in combat activities.
“The indictee wants to deny the allegation that, by being detained, the combatants became members of a protected group. It is illogical that a perpetrator is allowed to kill a combatant, while threatening him with death or detention is considered a crime,” Karadzic said in his motion.
In June, Karadzic had attempted to have 11 charges against him dismissed. The Trial Chamber ruled that the prosecution had presented sufficient evidence for ten out of the 11 counts of the indictment, including the one referring to taking international soldiers hostages.
“The Trial Chamber has determined that, even though the UN members were combatants immediately before being captured, they were outside the fight and had the right to minimal protection,” states the Chamber’s ruling.
However the Chamber, which is presided by Judge O-Gon Kwon, decided that the Appellate Chamber’s stance regarding the question of whether the captured combatants had the right to protection would influence the further course of the trial, which is why they accepted Karadzic’s request to appeal.
Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska and Supreme Commander of its armed forces, denies charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war.
Previously, the prosecution had filed an appeal against the Trial Chamber’s ruling that the prosecutors had failed to present sufficient evidence for the first count of indictment, which charged Karadzic with genocide in seven municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.
The defence is due to begin presenting its evidence in October.
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.
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.