ICTY rejects Karadzic immunity claim 14 Oct 2009
The ICTY Appeals Chamber has rejected Radovan Karadzic's immunity claim and postponed the commencement of his “mega-trial”.

Radovan KaradzicThe Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) has rejected Radovan Karadžić’s claim that he is immune from prosecution due to a special agreement allegedly made with U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke in 1996. Karadžić claims that according to the alleged agreement, U.S. Negotiator Richard Holbrooke had agreed not to prosecute him in The Hague if he withdrew from public life in Republika Srpska.

Karadžić had appealed against a decision of 8 July 2009, in which the Trial Chamber rejected the immunity claim. The Appeals Chamber rejected the appeal in its entirety, stating that “even if the alleged Agreement were proved, it would not limit the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, it would not otherwise be binding on the Tribunal and it would not trigger the doctrine of abuse of process.”

Trial postponed

The trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader, scheduled to begin on 21 October, has also been postponed after the Appeals Chamber decided to delay the start of the trial until one week after the Prosecution files a marked-up version of the operative Indictment. At a pre-trial conference on 6 October, the Trial Chamber accepted the Prosecution’s submission filed on 31 August 2009 under Rule 73bisD of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, in which proposed reductions to the Indictment were set forth. The Prosecution was ordered to file the marked-up Indictment by 19 October, striking through the crime bases no longer subject to evidence and adding certain explanatory footnotes.

According to the ‘one-week’ time-frame, the trial of Karadžić should therefore commence no later than 26 October 2009. Karadžić maintains that he needs more time to prepare his defence due to the complexity of the case, citing the number of counts and charges, the gravity of the crimes with which he is charged, and that, as a non-native English speaker who is self-represented, he faces particular difficulties in reviewing certain material. The Appeals Chamber however rejected these aspects of Karadžić’s appeal, saying that they are based on erroneous assumptions. Among other reasons, the Appeals Chamber said that an Accused who decides to represent himself relinquishes many benefits associated with representation by counsel.

Radovan Karadžić was the founding member and President of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) and President of the National Security Council of the so-called Serbian republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From December 1992 until his resignation in July 1996 Karadžić was President of the Republika Srpska. He is charged with eleven counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, committed during the war in Bosnia, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Radovan Karadžić

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Court Documents / Documents juridiques

Decision on Appeal of Trial Chamber's Decision on Alleged Holbrooke Agreement
12 October 2009

Decision on Commencement of Trial
13 October 2009

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