THE UN’s Yugoslav war crimes court has turned down a request by Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic for a new genocide trial, saying evidence handed in late did not prejudice his case.
Karadzic last month asked the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for a fresh trial, accusing Hague-based prosecutors of being late in disclosing evidence favourable to his case.
“The Trial Chamber hereby denies the motion,” presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said in a written decision at the court, where Karadzic is conducting his own defence, notably against charges he masterminded the Srebrenica massacre.
Judge Kwon said Karadzic was not prejudiced because his trial — which opened in October 2009 — was postponed several times during the prosecution’s case to enable him to read their documents.
Therefore “there is no basis for the accused’s renewed claim that the prosecution’s disclosure violations … have caused him prejudice,” the judge said.
Karadzic, 67, faces 10 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war that left 100,000 dead and displaced 2.2 million others.
Arrested on a Belgrade bus in 2008 after years on the run, Karadzic was wanted in particular for allegedly masterminding the killings that followed the Serbs’ capture of the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.
Close to 8000 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 prosecution wrapped up its case in May, with Karadzic due to start his own defence on October 16.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.