ICTY may have to remain open two more years: prosecutor

[JURIST] International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz [official profile] said Thursday that the tribunal may not be able to meet the UN deadline of 2010 for completing its work. Brammertz said that the July arrest [JURIST report] of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; ICTY backgrounder, PDF; JURIST news archive] may make it necessary for the tribunal to remain open until 2012 [AP report]. Brammertz also said that the tribunal has been faced with many staff resignations, including the resignation of many experienced lawyers. Last week Brammertz told the UN Security Council [official website] that the tribunal would need cooperation [UN News Centre report] from former Yugoslavian states as well as the international community to complete its work. He later told reporters that pending appeals could continue through 2012 [press release]. Also last week, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1849 (2008) [press release and text], which will allow the total number of ad litem judges to temporarily exceed the maximum of 12 provided for in the tribunal’s statute, to a maximum of 16 at any one time, returning to a maximum of 12 by February 28, 2009.

Two war crimes suspects, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic [ICTY materials; ICTY backgrounder, PDF] and Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic [ICTY materials; ICTY backgrounder, PDF], remain at large, and their capture is a top priority of the ICTY. In addition, the trial of Karadzic is expected to be one of the most complicated cases the ICTY has handled. Karadzic faces 11 charges [amended indictment, PDF], including genocide, murder, persecution, deportation, and "other inhumane acts," for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Prosecutors filed a motion to amend the indictment [JURIST report] in September, in hopes of simplifying the proceedings. Karadzic was arrested in July after evading capture for nearly 13 years. He was originally indicted in 1995 but had been in hiding under an assumed identity as an alternative medicine practitioner [BBC report]. He repeatedly refused to enter a plea on the charges, with an ICTY judge eventually entering a not guilty plea [JURIST reports] on his behalf. If the court approves the amended indictment, Karadzic will be asked to enter new pleas.



 

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