Karadzic appeals 40-year prison sentence

Wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on Friday filed an appeal against the guilty verdict by which a UN tribunal sentenced him to 40 years in prison, insisting that his trial was not fair.

This March, the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Karadzic guilty of genocide in Srebrenica and other war atrocities Bosnian Serb forces had committed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 war.

Karadzic's lawyer Peter Robinson has stated that there are 50 grounds for appeal against that judgement.

"In its judgement, the Trial Chamber's reliance on debatable inferences, instead of solid evidence, to conclude that President Karadzic shared the common purpose of four separate joint criminal enterprises, was an error that resulted in a miscarriage of justice," reads the appeal.

The defence counsel insists that grounds for the appeal "include many examples of how he did not receive a fair trial, such as the prosecution's flagrant violation of its disclosure obligations, the taking of judicial notice of 2300 adjudicated facts and admitting 148 prosecution witness' evidence without the right to challenge or cross examine them."

"They also include many examples of errors in the judgement itself—the most significant of which was the conclusion that he knew of and agreed with the execution of prisoners from Srebrenica," the lawyer said in a statement to Hina.

On 24 March this year, the ICTY found Karadzic guilty of genocide in Srebrenica and war crimes committed elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina and sentenced him to 40 years in prison. Karadzic was charged with 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Karadzic was found guilty of taking UN peacekeepers as hostages and using them as a human shield. The trial chamber said these crimes were committed in the context of a joint criminal enterprise with the aim of exerting pressure on NATO to refrain from air attacks.

The trial chamber established that members of the four criminal enterprises were top Bosnian Serb political and military leaders, including generals Ratko Mladic and Radislav Krstic, Biljana Plavsic and Momcilo Krajisnik.

In their closing arguments, ICTY prosecutors asked that Karadzic be found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, while Karadzic asked that he be acquitted.

Karadzic was indicted on 25 July 1995 but evaded arrest until he was captured in Belgrade on 21 July 2008. At the time he was posing as New Age healer Dr Dragan Dabic, disguised by a thick beard and shaggy hair. Seven days later he was extradited to The Hague. His trial started on 26 October 2009 and closing arguments were made at the end of September 2014.

Last update: Fri, 22/07/2016 - 17:44

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