Karadzic claims ICTY trial irregularities preclude fair trial

[JURIST] Bosnian Serb leader and former fugitive Radovan Karadzic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] submitted a letter [text, PDF] Thursday to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official site] claiming that irregularities surrounding his trial there on war crimes charges [amended indictment; case materials] will prevent a fair trial. Karadzic was originally indicted [text] by the court's prosecutor in 1995, but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest [JURIST report] in July. Karadzic is accused of numerous acts of genocide and crimes against humanity for overseeing the Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] massacre and other killings of Bosnian Muslims and Croats during ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. In his letter, Karadzic wrote:

The first irregularity I would mention is the media witch-hunt which began in the Muslim media even before the beginning of the armed conflict and which proclaimed me a war criminal at a time when the only victims were Serbs. The international media continued that media witch-hunt and I was not in a position to reply adequately so that it is now unimaginable to many people that this court could acquit me. I believe that this fact seriously jeopardizes the trial itself and excludes any possibility of regularity. However, many more serious irregularities have arisen from this, and no compensatory measures can neutralize them or bring the trial into the realm of regularity.
Karadzic had earlier said he will represent himself [JURIST Forum] in defending against the charges, and faces life in prison if convicted. The New York Times has more. The Press Association has additional coverage.

Karadzic was transfered to the ICTY Wednesday, after his lawyer's tactic to delay sending the appeal [JURIST report] failed to prevent his extradition from Serbia, where he had been hiding. His capture has been a major goal of the ICTY [press release], and follows the June arrest [JURIST report] of former Bosnian Serb police commander Stojan Zupljanin [Trial Watch profile]. ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz [ICC profile; JURIST report] had long criticized Serbia for its failure to find and capture [JURIST report] Karadzic and other war crimes suspects. Brammertz has vowed to try all war crimes suspects [JURIST report] before the expiration of the ICTY's mandate in 2010.


 

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