The Hague Tribunal has rejected a request by former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to hold three weeks of court sessions in Bosnia and Serbia, once his defence case starts in October.
Karadzic asked in May for court sessions to be held in Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Belgrade explaining that it would make it easier for the witnesses he intends to call.
In his request he also said that holding sessions in Bosnia and Serbia would “bring the work of the Tribunal closer to the peoples that are most interested in its work and incite greater understanding of the Tribunal’s work.”
The prosecution was opposed, claiming that Karadzic’s presence at any trial hearing in the former Yugoslavia would pose a significant security risk.
The Hague Tribunal, ICTY, rejected Karadzic's request by saying that he did not establish that it would be in the interests of justice to conduct hearings away from the seat of the Tribunal.
”The Chamber is not satisfied that mere convenience is a reason warranting that hearings be held away from the seat of the Tribunal."
"With regard to the argument that granting the motion would bring ‘the work of the Tribunal directly to the people for whom it is intended to benefit’, the Chamber notes that while this consideration is an important one, it does not warrant the application of this rule in the interests of justice,” states the ICTY decision.
Since the ICTY started its work more than 15 years ago, the Tribunal only held sessions outside of The Hague headquarters once, in the case of Rasim Delic, former commander the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Delic was found guilty of crimes in Central Bosnia and sentenced to three years in prison in September 2008. He died two years later.
Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska, denies charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war during the Bosnian war.
The Hague's prosecution ended a two-year long evidence hearing in May, while Karadzic’s defence will begin presenting evidence in October this year.
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.