x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Radovan Karadzic demands new genocide trial

Bosnian Serb wartime leader demands new genocide trial before the Yugoslav war crimes court, saying prosecutors were late in disclosing evidence favourable to his case.

THE HAGUE // Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic demanded a new genocide trial Monday before the Yugoslav war crimes court, saying prosecutors were late in disclosing evidence favourable to his case.

"Dr Radovan Karadzic hereby moves for an order granting him a new trial," said a document that Karadzic filed before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where he is conducting his own defence.

"Starting the trial over and getting it right this time is the only remedy which can ensure that the trial of Dr Karadzic is a fair one," the court document stated.

Karadzic, 67, faces 10 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Bosnia's 1992-95 war that left 100,000 dead and displaced 2.2 million others.

Karadzic accused UN prosecutors before the Hague-based court of only making available evidence in his favour once his trial had started, referring to more than hundreds-of-thousands of pages of documentation.

The "vast majority" of the documents "was not disclosed as soon as practicable," adding that "Dr Karadzic was prejudiced because he was entitled to know the prosecution's case from the beginning, not learn it as he went along," his court filing said.

"The fact that exculpatory material was not disclosed to him on time caused him to conduct exploratory, rather than focused cross examinations," it added, saying "because of the prosecution's violations of its disclosure obligations, Dr Karadzic's trial got off on the wrong foot."

Arrested on a Belgrade bus in 2008 after years on the run, Karadzic was wanted in particular for masterminding the killings that followed the Serbs' capture of the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.

Close to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered over the course of a few days in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II – an incident for which Karadzic has denied responsibility.

The UN court in late June dropped one genocide charge against the former politician relating to killings by Bosnian Serb forces in towns and villages of Bosnia from March to December 1992.

The Srebrenica charge however remained as well as nine others including for his role in the 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo between May 1992 and November 1995 in which 10,000 people died, remain.

The prosecution's office wrapped up its case in May, with Karadzic due to start his own defence on October 16.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.