On the orders of the Trial Chamber, the ICTY Registry appointed British lawyer Richard Harvey as defense counsel to former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Harvey will take over Karadzic’s defense if the accused continues ‘to obstruct proper and expeditious conduct of the trial’

Richard Harvey has been appointed as defence lawyer of Radovan KaradzicRichard Harvey has been appointed as defence lawyer of Radovan Karadzic

The Tribunal’s Registry decided to appoint British lawyer Richard Harvey as defense counsel to former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic. The Registry acted on the Trial Chamber’s order issued on 5 November 2009 to appoint counsel to Karadzic who would ‘be prepared to represent the interests of the accused if needed’. Karadzic is on trial for genocide and other crimes in BH from 1992 to 1995.

Harvey was appointed after the accused, who is representing himself ‘substantially and persistently obstructed proper and expeditious conduct of the trial’ by refusing to appear in the courtroom in late October and early November 2009 to attend the prosecution’s opening statement. Harvey will take over the role of the defense counsel only if Karadzic again tries to obstruct the proceedings. The Karadzic trial is expected to continue on 1 March 2010. If Karadzic fails to appear in the courtroom on that day, he will be stripped of his right to self-representation and Harvey will take on Karadzic’s defense.

In line with the procedure established by the Appeals Chamber in the Vojislav Seselj case, the ICTY Registry gave the accused an opportunity to choose a defense lawyer counsel from the list of available lawyers. Karadzic asked to meet all of those lawyers and was allowed to do it. However, as Karadzic didn’t in the end chose any of the lawyers from the list, the ICTY Registrar had to make the final decision.

Richard Harvey is currently defending Lahi Brahimaj, former KLA commander. Last year, Brahimaj was sentenced to six years in prison for crimes against detainees in the KLA camp in Jablanica in Kosovo; his case is currently before the Appeals Chamber. Harvey had previously represented Haradin Bala, a guard in the Lapusnik camp. Bala was sentenced to 13 years for cruel treatment, torture and murder of nine prisoners in 1998.

Harvey is also practicing as defense counsel before the Rwanda Tribunal, and is an advisor in Amnesty International and Greenpeace in cases that concern human rights violations and environmental concerns.