ICTY Rejects Karadzic ‘Stay of Proceedings’

The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, has refused wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic’s request to issue “a stay of proceedings” in his case.

Karadzic filed the motion on April 6, and the Prosecution objected to his request in its motion from April 7.

With its latest decision, the Trial Chamber rejected Karadzic’s claims about violations of his rights or abuse of the process.

In his motion, Karadzic requested an indefinite stay of proceedings.

In it’s rejection of his request, the Trial Chamber wrote: “The right to a fair trial is a fundamental one and it is the duty of the Trial Chamber to ensure that it is protected. However, the Prosecution correctly observes that the jurisprudence on indefinite stays of proceedings is that there must be found to have been a serious violation of human rights justifying such an extreme measure.”

The first prosecution witness is scheduled to be called on April 13. According to the latest filing from the prosecution, the first witness will be Ahmed Zulic, a survivor of Manjaca, a Bosnian Serb-run prison camp in the north of Bosnia.

Prosecutors have a total of 300 hours to present their case against Karadzic. Hearings are scheduled to be held three days a week.

The prosecution delivered its opening statements on October 27, 2009, but Karadzic claimed that he was not ready and boycotted the hearing. He was given permission for more time and he delivered his opening statements on March 1 and 2 this year, after which he appealed for an additional postponement for defence preparation.

Karadzic was arrested in July 2008 in Belgrade and subsequently transferred to the Hague for his trial. He faces a total of 11 charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and violating the laws and customs of war. He has denied all charges.

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