At the first status conference with Judge O-Gon Kwon presiding, the parties were told that the trial of the former Republika Srpska president would begin on 19 October 2009. Karadzic claims he ‘cannot be ready to proceed to trial’ in such a short time. The Trial Chamber asked the prosecution to come up with ways in which it could further reduce its case, in order for the trial to be completed in two and a half years as planned

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The trial of Radovan Karadzic, former president of Republika Srpska charged with genocide and other crimes in BH, will begin on 19 October 2009, presiding judge O-Gon Kwon said at the status conference today. The Trial Chamber will decide how much time to allot to the prosecution for its case at the pre-trial conference on 6 October 2009.

The prosecution has until then to submit yet another proposal on how its case might be reduced to make sure that the trial will be completed in two and a half years as planned. Judge Kwon suggested today several options to abridge the indictment. The prosecution now has until 18 September 2009 to consider and reply in writing. One option would be to drop of charges for the so-called opportunistic or unorganized killings in Srebrenica as Karadzic is already charged with genocide which resulted from the organized killing of more than 7,000 Bosniaks. The second option is that the prosecution decides not to call evidence on the Markale town market shelling again, as the responsibility for that incident has already been established in the judgments of two former Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commanders. The prosecution could call evidence on that incident, Judge Kwon said, if it has direct evidence showing that the accused ordered the attack. Finally the judge suggested that the prosecution should reduce the number of municipalities for which it would call evidence on ethnic cleansing from 27 to ten or twelve.

Karadzic, who asked last week that the trial be postponed by ten months so that he could prepare his defense, contends that he ‘cannot be ready to proceed to trial’ in October, and has asked the Trial Chamber to reconsider its decision. Judge Kwon ruled it out, assuring the accused that the Trial Chamber would ‘do everything to ensure a fair and expeditious trial’.