Presiding judge Iain Bonomy has said today that the Radovan Karadzic case was ready for trial. Indicating his intention to contest all adjudicated facts, including the responsibility of the Bosnian Serbs for the Markale town Market massacre, Karadzic asked to be given al the documents on the SDA and Alija Izetbegovic’s intercepted conversation

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The case of Radovan Karadzic is ready for trial, Judge Iain Bonomy said today at the end of the status conference in the proceedings against the former Republika Srpska president. Judge Bonomy indicated earlier that the Karadzic case might proceed to trial in September. This is his last appearance in a Tribunal courtroom before his return to Scotland.

The parties discussed how the Trial Chamber’s decision to take judicial notice of a significant number of adjudicated facts from other trials on the same charges would affect the length of the prosecution’s case. The prosecution announced it would not call eight crime base witnesses for Sarajevo, noting it was actively trying to cut down the number of witnesses for Srebrenica. In Karadzic’s opinion, taking judicial notice of the adjudicated facts ‘will not save time’ because he planned to contest them.

The prosecution asked that the transcripts of evidence given at other trials by deceased witnesses Milan Babic and Miroslav Deronjic be tendered into evidence. Although Karadzic complained he was ‘buried in the material’ by the prosecution, he believes that ‘the prosecution should not edit and reduce’ the evidence because it might leave out exculpatory parts.

Since Karadzic is self-represented, he will seek to get in touch personally with a number of prosecution witnesses. As Karadzic stated, the witness who will testify about the shelling of the Markale market in Sarajevo is particularly important. ‘Markale is important for the whole life there’ because ‘it is impossible to live together and live side by side if the lie that the Serbs are responsible for the Markale massacre still stands’, Karadzic argued. ‘The Muslim people must learn who did it and why’, Karadzic concluded. As Judge Bonomy put it, the right of the accused to contact witnesses is not a ‘natural right but a privilege’ until now granted only to Slobodan Milosevic. The ICTY Registry, however, currently ‘is working on a policy’ detailing requirements under which the permission to contact witnesses might be granted to the accused representing themselves.

Noting that the prosecution had already disclosed the documents related to the SDS and the transcripts of intercepted conversations of various Serb officials, Karadzic today asked to receive similar documents from the SDA and the transcripts of intercepted communications involving Alija Izetbegovic and other Bosniak leaders. Karadzic said that he ‘cannot believe that a joint democratic government, the coalition that brought down the communist system and ushered in democracy, wiretapped only Serb officials’.

At the end of the status conference today, both Karadzic and prosecutor Tieger thanked Judge Bonomy for the way in which he had conducted preparations for the trial in the past year. The appointment of the judge who would preside in the Radovan Karadzic case is expected to happen within days.