Instead of 600 hours Karadzic has asked for, the Trial Chamber has granted him 300 hours for the examination-in-chief and re-examination of the witnesses he intends to call in the defense case

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

The Trial Chamber granted Radovan Karadzic 300 hours to examine the witnesses he intends to call during his defense case, set to begin on 16 October 2012. In its decision, the Trial Chamber clarified that the 300 hours will cover both the examination-in chief and the re-examination of defense witnesses.

In late August 2012, the former Bosnian Serb political leader asked for 300 hours for his examination-in chief about 600 witnesses he planned to call and additional 300 hours to refute more than 2,000 adjudicated facts that the Trial Chamber has taken formal notice of in his case. After the judges suggested to Karadzic to review the number of witnesses, Karadzic reduced the total number of witnesses he intended to call by ten.

In its decision, the Trial Chamber recalls that the prosecution asked and got 300 hours for its case. The prosecution was able to complete its case in 299 hours and 27 minutes. During the prosecution case, Karadzic took about 750 hours to cross-examine witnesses: twice and a half as much as the prosecution used to examine them in chief. The Trial Chamber will not restrict the prosecution’s time for the cross-examination of Karadzic’s witnesses. Instead, as it was announced today, the Trial Chamber will ‘closely monitor the time used on cross-examination and will impose time restrictions if those become necessary’.

Explaining their decision, the judges note that although there are very many adjudicated facts in this case, the Trial Chamber ‘is not of the view that each single adjudicated fact needs to be addressed during the defense case’. Moreover, most of the topics covered by the adjudicated facts in evidence have also been dealt with through the examination of prosecution witnesses. Finally, the Trial Chamber reiterated the ‘concerns expressed in relation to the relevance and repetitive nature of the expected testimony of a large proportion of witnesses’.

Radovan Karadzic is on trial as a war-time Bosnian Serb political leader for genocide and other crimes committed in the war in BH. The prosecution opened its case in April 2010 and a total of 196 prosecution witnesses were examined by May 2012. Statements of another 142 witnesses were admitted into evidence in written form.