The prosecution supports the continued role of the standby counsel appointed to former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic. The prosecution claims the accused began participating in the prosecution’s case only after British lawyer Richard Harvey was appointed to him, once it became obvious 'the trial would proceed with or without the accused’s participation'

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

Judge O-Gon Kwon’s Trial Chamber asked the parties at a hearing on 4 May 2012 to state their positions on the continued appointment of British lawyer Richard Harvey as Radovan Karadzic’s standby counsel. Harvey was appointed standby counsel in November 2009, after Karadzic, who is defending himself, refused to appear at the prosecution’s opening statement and ‘continued to obstruct the proper and expeditious conduct of his trial’.

The prosecution argues that Harvey should remain as standby counsel until the end of the trial because there is a risk Karadzic may once again attempt to disrupt the proceedings. The motion sets out in details all of Karadzic’s attempts to obstruct the trial – from boycotting the prosecution’s opening statement in October 2009 to delaying the defense’s opening statement until 1 March 2010. The prosecution was unable to start calling evidence before 13 April 2012, in the third attempt.

The prosecution recalls that Karadzic only began participating in the prosecution’s case once standby counsel was in place, when it became obvious that 'the trial would proceed with or without the accused’s participation'. If the Trial Chamber were to cancel Harvey’s appointment, the accused could use the same tactics and wait until the very beginning of the defense’s case to say he was not ready ‘because he hasn’t had enough time for preparations’. This would lead to further delays as a newly-appointed defense counsel would need some time to prepare for the trial.

Finally, the prosecution notes that in his response, Karadzic told the Trial Chamber that in his view the standby counsel was not necessary because Karadzic ‘fully intends to comply with all of the orders and directions of the Trial Chamber, as he has done throughout the prosecution’s case.' In the prosecution’s view, this observation is beside the point because the Trial Chamber has never claimed a capacity to order or direct the accused to attend and participate in the trial. The prosecution contends that the history of Karadzic’s behavior in relation to the Trial Chamber’s orders “has no bearing on whether he would voluntarily participate in his trial as a self-represented individual in circumstances where he believes he requires additional preparation time”. As, according to the prosecution, his history in fact speaks to the contrary, the prosecution has urged the judges to order the continuation of the standby counsel’s role until the end of Radovan Karadzic’s trial.