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ICC Serbia case nearly collapses

One count of genocide is dismissed as Karadzic’s defence begins its case against the former Serbian leader

Former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic,stands before the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, 2008 (AFP)

Radovan Karadzic came close to being freed of the charges facing him in the International Criminal Court. His defense team contested both counts of genocide brought against the former psychiatrist turned Serbian wartime general.

The Hague court where Karadzic has been under investigation for four years almost dismissed his case, citing a lack of evidence to support the charges brought against him for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Among the charges brought against Karadzic are charges of orchestrating the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995, an incident in the 1992-1995 war between Bosnia and Serbia in which nearly 8,000 men and boys were rounded up and systematically killed.

Karadzic is also accused of orchestrating the siege of Sarajevo, a three and half year military operation which turned the streets of the capitol into a city terrorized by snipers and daylight assassinations, leaving, in all, more than 10,000 people dead.

While there is strong evidence tying him to the crimes in Srebrenica and Sarajevo, the whole case was almost thrown out because of a lack of evidence tying him to one of the two counts of genocide.

The case was tied to the forced migration of nearly half a million non-Serb Bosnian as well as their deportation to “death camps.”

The violent campaign, which took place in the first year of the war, intended to “ethnically-cleanse” Bosnia of non-Serbs. It included mass killing of civilians and the razing of homes and religious sites of Muslims and Catholics who were not Serbian.

The challenge facing the prosecution was to establish that the forced migration and the razing of homes was genocide, which is defined as an effort to annihilate a distinct population, ethnic group or religion.

The dismissal of this charge comes half way through the trial, after the prosecution made its case of the two counts. The court decided on Sunday to dismiss this charge of genocide but plans to continue examining evidence of killings that occurred later in the war.

It is expected that evidence will be more plenteous as well, since the killings occurred, sadly, while NATO forces were present.

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  • Johnny

    This article is poorly written.
    When is the western press going to actually start doing investigative
    Reporting. What charges have been brought to the tens of thousands of Serbs murdered in Bosnia?
    This man should be released. Case closed
    The court of law works off of facts, not propaganda.

  • Eht Ledifni

    Oh, believer, do not take the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another’s friends. If any one of you take them for his friends, he surely is one of them. Allah will not guide the evil doers. (5:51)

    This what Islam teaches, and this is what the Bible teaches Jesus Loves Muslims:


  • Zdenka Acin

    Errata: Radovan Karadzic is not on trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) but before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). That is a huge difference! While ICC is the first permanent international criminal court, ICTY is ad hoc tribunal (with the special purpose) and it will end its mandat when Karadzic’s and Mladic’s trial will finish.

    It is irresponsible from both sides: the author of the article and the editorial to mix these two international institutions. Before writing about some very important issue both sides should be, at least, well informed! This kind of irresponsible journalism already caused irreparable damages resulting, among other things, in hatred, stigmatization, demonization and labelling of certain people and certain nations.

  • sabina

    Plus, the author got everythign wrong. He was tried on 11 counts, two counts of genocide (Srebrenica in 1995 and several municipalities all over Bosnia in the early months of the 1992-95 war) and 9 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. One count of genocide (municipalities) had been dismissed, all other counts remain.

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