UN war crimes tribunal rejects Karadžić claim for immunity from prosecution

8 July 2009

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the 1990s Balkan conflicts today rejected an application by the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić that he should be granted immunity from prosecution because of an agreement he says he struck with the United States Government in 1996.

Three judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), sitting in The Hague, denied a motion by lawyers for Mr. Karadžić, saying he had not been able to establish that there has been an abuse of process.

Mr. Karadžić says that he reached a deal with US representatives, led by its official Richard Holbrooke, that he would be immune from any subsequent war crimes prosecution if he gave up politics and withdrew from public life in mid-1996. Mr. Holbrooke has denied making such an agreement.

But the ICTY agreed with prosecutors that Mr. Karadžić could not show that any such agreement was arranged under the authority of the Security Council, which set up the tribunal to handle the cases of the worst atrocities committed during the Balkan wars.

After more than a decade as a fugitive, Mr. Karadžić – who served as the president of Republika Srpska and commander of Bosnian Serb forces during part of the 1990s – was arrested a year ago and transferred to The Hague to stand trial on charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder, wilful killing, persecutions, deportations, inhumane acts and other crimes.

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Radovan Karadžić transferred to UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić has been transferred to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to stand trial for alleged atrocities committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.