At his further appearance before the Tribunal, Radovan Karadzic refused to enter his plea on the counts in the indictment. In accordance with the Tribunal’s rules, Judge Bonomy entered a plea of not guilty on all counts, charging Karadzic with genocide and other crimes in BH. Noting that he ‘stopped using a false name’, Karadzic invited the Tribunal to stop ‘operating under false pretenses as a court of the international community whereas in fact it is a NATO court’. The judge was ‘very much taken aback’ by the prosecution, which has yet to file an amended indictment

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic refused to enter his plea at his second appearance before the Tribunal. He is charged with genocide and other crimes in BH between 1992 and 1995. The pre-trial judge Iain Bonomy then entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf, as stipulated by the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. ‘I am now entering a plea of not guilty on all counts in the indictment,’ the Scottish judge said. The accused then remarked, ‘May I hold you to your word’. The judge did not understand what Karadzic had meant and asked, ‘What word?’ ‘That I’m not guilty,’ Karadzic said. ‘We’ll see about that at the end of the trial,’ Judge Bonomy retorted.

Karadzic said he didn’t want to enter his plea because of his ‘attitude towards the Tribunal’, ‘operating under false pretenses as a court of the international community whereas in fact it is a NATO court’, whose aim is to liquidate him. ‘I stopped using a false name,’ Karadzic said, ‘and it would be proper for others to stop operating under false pretenses’. Judge Bonomy prevented any further discussion of this topic on the part of the accused by instructing him he was entitled to submit a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.

[IMAGE]3603[/IMAGE]The plea of not guilty was entered by the judge on all the eleven counts in the indictment charging Karadzic with genocide and complicity in genocide, extermination, murders, willful killings, persecution of Bosnian Muslims and Croats on political, racial and religious grounds, deportation, forcible transfer and other inhumane acts, terrorizing the civilian population through a campaign of sniping and shelling in Sarajevo, and taking hostages and using them as human shields.

Although the prosecution indicated at Karadzic’s initial appearance on 31 July that it would be filing an amended indictment, it has yet to do so. As prosecutor Tieger explained, the prosecution was wary of acting rashly. The pre-trial judge expressed his astonishment with the fact that the prosecution had waited eight years, until the suspect was in custody before starting to amend the indictment, which was last amended in 2000. Judge Bonomy added he hoped the prosecutor was not serious when he’d said the new, amended indictment would be produced in the last week of September.

A status conference has been scheduled for 17 September. All the prosecution and defense motions pending before the judges will be discussed at the conference. Over the past month, Karadzic has filed ten motions with the pre-trial chamber and the Registry, Judge Bonomy noted. The former Bosnian Serb leader today confirmed he intended to represent himself with the aid of a legal team. He has yet to appoint his legal advisers, and asked the Chamber to provide him with ‘equal time and resources’ as the prosecution.