Karadzic trial suspended as Prosecution criticized 04 Nov 2010
Trial Chamber III at the ICTY has suspended the trial of Radovan Karadzic to allow the accused time to review potentially exculpatory material.

The Trial Chamber in the case of Radovan Karadžić before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has suspended the proceedings for one month to allow the accused to review recently disclosed material. The material consists of 14,000 pages containing potentially exculpatory information disclosed by the Prosecution at the end of October 2010.

According to Rule 68 of the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Prosecutor “shall, as soon as practicable, disclose to the Defence any material which in the actual knowledge of the Prosecutor may suggest the innocence or mitigate the guilt of the accused or affect the credibility of Prosecution evidence”.

Radovan Karadžić is the former President of Republika Srpska, head of the Serb Democratic Party and Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army. He is charged with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the 1992-1995 war. His trial began on 26 October 2009.

Interests of justice

In ordering the temporary suspension of proceedings, Judge O-Gon Kwon stated that the interests of justice required the measure to be taken owing to the sheer volume of the material. Furthermore, the Chamber noted the significant number of violations by the Prosecution of its obligations to disclose materials, in spite of previous warnings in several decisions by the Trial Chamber. Judge Kwon noted the concern of the Chamber at the potential cumulative effect of the Prosecution’s failures, particularly on the fairness of the trial.

From the beginning of proceedings against him, Karadžić has regularly complained about the volume of materials he is required to review, as well as the Prosecution’s failure to take its disclosure obligations seriously.

The resumption of proceedings will be announced at a later date.

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