ICTY reassigns Karadžić case 21 Aug 2008
President Fausto Pocar of the ICTY has reassigned the case of Radovan Karadžić to a different trial chamber following the accused's submission that he would not receive a fair trial.

Radovan KaradzicPursuant to an Order from the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Thursday 21 August, the case against Radovan Karadžić will be transferred to Trial Chamber III.

At his initial appearance before the Tribunal on 31 July, Karadžić came before Judge Orie – the presiding judge of Trial Chamber I. Judge Orie had been scheduled to preside over the full trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader and hear the case with his colleagues from Trial Chamber I, although the decision prompted Karadžić to assert that he would not receive a fair trial.

In a request released on Tuesday 19 August, Karadžić submitted that Judge Orie should be removed from the case. This request was made alleging that Judge Orie had a “personal interest” in upholding previous judgements of the ICTY in cases where he was the presiding judge. In particular, Karadžić referred to the 2006 conviction of Momčilo Krajišnik. In convicting Krajišnik, the Trial Chamber (Judge Orie presiding) determined that the accused had participated in a joint criminal enterprise with—amongst others—Radovan Karadžić.

'Trial management' needs

Momcilo PerisicDespite much attention being devoted to the issue of Karadžić’s right to a fair trial since his initial appearance before the Tribunal, the Order reassigning the case made no mention of the accused’s request to have Judge Orie removed from the case. Rather, the two-page document notes that the Prosecution had advised the Chambers that it would not seek to join the Karadžić case with that of Momčilo Perišić, which is assigned to Trial Chamber I.

In today's Order, President Pocar—who is entrusted with assigning the work of the Chambers—determined that “considering the trial management and case distribution needs” of the Tribunal, the case should be reassigned to Trial Chamber III “immediately”.

The composition of the pre-trial bench has been announced. It will include Patrick Robinson (presiding), Iain Bonomy, and Michèle Picard (judge ad litem).

Radovan Karadžić

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