The judges grant Radovan Karadzic’s motion and will issue a subpoena to Portuguese diplomat Jose Cutileiro compelling him to give evidence at Karadzic’s trial. Cutileiro was the mediator in the peace talks in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jose CutileiroJose Cutileiro

The Trial Chamber issued a subpoena to Portuguese diplomat Jose Cutileiro compelling him to testify at the behest of Radovan Karadzic’s defense on 19 February 2013. In late 1991 and early 1992, Cutileiro was a mediator for the European Community in negotiations between the three warring factions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In his motion for a subpoena to Ambassador Cutileiro, the former Republika Srpska president said that his legal advisor had interviewed the Portuguese diplomat on 20 February 2012 and in April 2012 obtained his signed statement. At the same time, Cutileiro stressed that he didn’t want to testify for either party. In Cutileiro’s opinion, international negotiators shouldn’t testify in criminal cases as it would ‘endanger their work’. What Cutileiro meant was that in some future negotiations participants might reasonably believe that everything they discussed could later be used in court.

The judges didn’t accept the Portuguese diplomat’s view that ‘testifying in a case for one party will automatically call into question impartiality’ and recalled that a large number of international mediators have already given evidence before the Tribunal. The Trial Chamber finds that the fact that the ambassador willingly met the representatives of the defense and signed a witness statement is at odds with his argument about the violation of negotiators’ impartiality. At this moment, Karadzic has Cutileiro’s written statement but cannot tender it into evidence before the witness is cross-examined by the prosecution, the judges noted.

The judges concluded that Karadzic had made sufficient efforts to obtain Cutileiro’s voluntary testimony and that Cutileiro’s evidence ‘pertains to clearly identified issues that are relevant to the accused’s case’. The judges thus concluded that the requirements for the issuance of a subpoena were met. In their decision, the judges recalled that from February to March 1992, Ambassador Cutileiro mediated in the talks between Radovan Karadzic and BH President Alija Izetbegovic. Since the accused is charged with being a participant in two joint criminal enterprises ‘the evidence that pertains to his efforts to actively engage in peace negotiations for the purposes of ending the conflict’ is relevant for Karadzic’s case, the judges concluded.

The judges also noted that Ambassador Cutileiro was continually in contact with the accused up until August 1992 and was thus ‘uniquely situated’ to give evidence on the possible intent of the accused to commit crimes. According to the Trial Chamber, Cutileiro’s testimony will thus be of ‘considerable assistance’ to the accused.