As the chairperson of the BH Human Rights Council, set up by the Council of Europe, Judge Michelle Picard ‘advocated Muslim victims and was against the Serb entity’, Karadzic claims. This may create an impression of her partiality. Karadzic will be challenging the legitimacy of the Dayton Accords which established the Republika Srpska

Michele Picard, judge in the TribunalMichele Picard, judge in the Tribunal

Radovan Karadzic has filed a motion seeking to disqualify French judge Michelle Picard from the Trial Chamber that will try him on the indictment charging him with genocide and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Between 1997 and 2003, Judge Picard was at the helm of the BH Human Rights Chamber, set up under the Dayton Accords by the Council of Europe. The very fact that Judge Picard was a member of a body set up under the Dayton Accords indicates she is not impartial when it comes to the legitimacy of the accords, Karadzic notes. Their legitimacy will be challenged, Karadzic has announced, in the light of the ‘immunity deal’ he made with Richard Holbrooke in 1996.

Yet Judge Picard's alleged partiality to the Dayton Accords is less a reason for her disqualification, Karadzic says, than her decisions and public statements she made as the chairperson of the BH Human Rights Council. Karadzic highlighted the decisions of the Council in the Srebrenica, Bratunac and Visegrad cases, and her statement that Srebrenica was ‘the greatest and most terrible mass execution of civilians in Europe in the second half of the 20th century’ and that the Republika Srpska authorities were directly involved in the disappearance of people in Srebrenica, Bratunac and Visegrad and in the attempts to cover up those crimes.

Judge Picard’s decisions and statements, and her advocacy ‘of Muslim victims and against the Serb entity’, Karadzic contends, may create an impression in a reasonable and informed observer that she is partial. According to the rules and case law of the Tribunal, this is sufficient cause for the disqualification of judges.