In his appeal against the appointment of standby counsel, Radovan Karadzic took Vojislav Seselj as an example to prove that at the Tribunal, obstruction, disrespect for the rules, disobedience and vulgarity pay as a way of getting more rights

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The Tribunal today published the text of the appeal Radovan Karadzic filed against the Trial Chamber’s decision of 23 December 2009, dismissing his motion to review the ICTY Registrar’s order to appoint British lawyer Richard Harvey as his standby counsel.

The 23-page motion repeats and further elaborates arguments Karadzic presented in his December motion for review. Karadzic contends that the ICTY Registrar made a number of mistakes in the process of Harvey’s election and appointment, in violation of the ICTY Statute, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Directive on the Appointment of Counsel and the Appeals Chamber’s decisions in the Vojislav Seselj case. The ICTY Registrar refused to give him a full list of lawyers who meet the requirements to defend the accused before the Tribunal, Karadzic claims. Instead, the Registrar gave Karadzic a list with only the names of five ‘available’ counsel, all from the NATO member states; no lawyer from Serbia or Republika Srpska was listed among them.

As in his dismissed motion to review, Karadzic notes in his appellate brief that the ICTY Registrar had to abide by the decision of the Appeals Chamber in the Seselj case of 6 December 2006, in the procedure to elect and appoint standby counsel. In the decision, forced by the accused who had gone on hunger strike, the Appeals Chamber ruled that if the requirements for the appointment of counsel are met, Seselj should be first provided with a list of counsel authorized to represent the accused before the Tribunal. If Seselj refuses to do so, the Registrar may choose counsel at his discretion.

Under the heading Rewarding obstruction and penalizing cooperation, Karadzic uses Seselj as an example to prove that obstruction, disrespect of rules, disobedience and vulgarity pay as a way to get more rights before the Tribunal.

Karadzic provides an inventory of Seselj’s ‘transgressions’ that preceded the Appeals Chamber’s decision in December 2006. The inventory starts with the offensive and vulgar titles of Seselj’s books about the Tribunal’s trials and prosecutors. It is followed by the accused finding fault with the apparel worn by the judges and other participants in the trial. Seselj likened them to the clothes worn by ‘the Catholic Inquisition’ or ‘Gestapo and SS uniforms’. Seselj’s ‘unauthorized communication with the media’ on the occasion of the Serbian elections is next. Karadzic then speaks about ‘obscene and offensive language’ Seselj uses in his motions and accusations against the judges and the ICTY staff, and his disclosure of confidential information and of the identity of protected witnesses. Karadzic brings up Seselj’s obstruction of a status conference which led to his removal from the courtroom in November 2006, and finally his hunger strike and refusal to appear at a status conference and the pre-trial conference.

Karadzic notes he has been ‘polite in his oral and written communications with the Tribunal’, that he has ‘never disclosed confidential information’, has always ‘filed motions in line with the Tribunal’s rules and directives’ and has ‘appeared at all status conferences’. Karadzic asks why, in light of his behavior, he couldn’t have the same rights as Seselj. Does that mean that ‘an accused who disrupts the trial has the right to select his standby counsel while an accused who cooperates doesn’t have that same right?’ Karadzic asks.

As he described his behavior, Karadzic failed to mention his boycott of the opening of the trial in late October and early November 2009. The Trial Chamber decided his behavior was tantamount to ‘substantial and persistent obstruction of the proper and expeditious conduct of the trial’. This is why standby counsel was appointed to Karadzic in the first place.