News 28 Jun 12

Karadzic's Request for Acquittal Rejected

The Hague Tribunal has rejected Radovan Karadzic's request to be freed of all charges contained in the indictment, save for one count.

Justice Report
BIRN
The Hague

The judges of the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, say that the prosecution has presented enough evidence to find Karadzic, former Bosnian Serb leader, guilty of ten out of total 11 counts of indictment, including the Srebrenica genocide.

However, the ICTY judges have decided to acquit Karadzic on the count of genocide in seven Bosnian municipalities in 1992.

Reading the decision, the presiding judge, O-gon Kwon, said that the evidence presented by the prosecution - in regard to an alleged genocide in the municipalities of Bratunac, Foca, Kljuc, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Vlasenica and Zvornik – do not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Bosnian Serbs wanted to “destroy part or in whole other ethnic groups”.

The ICTY judges said, however, that the prosecution had presented enough evidence in regard to other counts of the indictment, including the Srebrenica genocide and the siege of Sarajevo.

Karadzic and his lawyer Peter Robinson presented on June 11 an oral request to the ICTY Trial Chamber to be freed of all charges contained in the indictment.

The former Bosnian Serb leader has asked to be acquitted on the basis that prosecutors had failed to provide enough evidence.

Originally, Karadzic was charged with genocide in Srebrenica and seven other municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expulsion of Bosniaks and Croats in much of Bosnia, terror against civilians in Sarajevo, and taking members of UN peace forces as hostages, in the period between 1992 and 1995.

The presiding judge Kwon said that the Trial Chamber found that Karadzic, as supreme commander of the Bosnian Serb army, was guilty of crimes committed in Srebrenica, Sarajevo and other Bosnian municipalities, except the genocide in 1992.

According to this ICTY decision, the prosecution proved there was a joint criminal enterprise, headed by Karadzic, whose goal was to forcibly remove non-Serb population from large portions of Bosnia, under the control of the Bosnian Serbs.

“The Chamber decided that based on this evidence, an objective judge could find that Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide in Srebrenica,” said Judge Kwon.

Kwon also added that Karadzic’s view that Sarajevo was not under siege was rejected, because the evidence shows that civilians in the city were subject to a campaign of terror by the Bosnian Serbs.

The judges also accepted there was sufficient evidence to find Karadzic guilty of crimes in 20 municipalities in Bosnia, where Bosnian Serb forces expelled and terrorized non-Serbs, and the taking of international soldiers as hostages in 1995.

Karadzic’s trial started in October 2009, and the Hague prosecution has finished presenting its evidence last month.  The defence will call its first witnesses in October this year.

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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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