PROSECUTION WANTS TO FILE LONGER FINAL BRIEF BY 17 SEPTEMBER 2014
The prosecution has asked the judges to give it six months longer than initially planned for its final brief at Radovan Karadzic's trial. Furthermore, the prosecution will need to file a longer brief, as Karadzic’s trial is the most complex case so far at the Tribunal, comprising no less than four joint criminal enterprises. The Croatian official who was supposed to testify today failed to appear
Today, the prosecution asked the judges to allow it to submit a final brief which will exceed the standard word count, set at 150,000 words. Together with annexes, the final brief will contain 375,000 words. The prosecution also asked the Trial Chamber to extend the deadline for the submission to17 September 2014. Karadzic has asked for a year to prepare his final brief: this means he would file it in March 2015.
To justify the extraordinary length and the extension of the deadline, the prosecution stressed that the case itself is ‘by its scope and complexity almost without precedent’. Karadzic is charged with four joint criminal enterprises, the prosecution recalled: genocide and other crimes in BH municipalities in 1992, the terror campaign against the citizens of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica genocide in July 1995, and taking UN staff hostage in May 1995.
Furthermore, Karadzic was the top official in the Bosnian Serb government, and was separated from the direct perpetrators by several links in the chain of command. Consequently, the final brief must set out in detail Karadzic’s criminal liability and his links with the crimes. In terms of exhibits, Karadzic’s trial has ‘by far surpassed’ all the previous trials in The Hague including those that involved several accused, the prosecution noted.
According to the table attached to the motion, about 11,000 exhibits have been admitted into evidence in the Karadzic case. This is twice as many exhibits as at the trials of the Srebrenica Seven, the six accused for the Herceg Bosna crimes or the Kosovo Six. Compared to other major cases, Karadzic’s trial boasts the largest number of witnesses: 580, compared to 315 witnesses at the Srebrenica trial, 233 witnesses in the Kosovo trial and 206 witnesses in the case against the Herceg Bosna leaders.
The number of transcript pages is the only variable where Karadzic’s trial lags behind the other trials. The trial has produced only (if one may says so) 47,542 pages in comparison with the 51,760 pages at the Herceg Bosna trial. Yet, Karadzic's trial is not finished yet: the prosecution has yet to present its rebuttal evidence and to re-open its case with the evidence on the exhumation of the mass grave in the Tomasica mine near Prijedor, so there is still time for the transcript pages to catch up.
As was indicated in the motion filed today, in the Herceg Bosna case the prosecution was allowed to file the final brief of 330, 000 words. In the Kosovo case the final brief was 100,000 words long, and at the trial for the crimes in Srebrenica the prosecution’s final brief contained 220,000 words. Bearing that in mind, the prosecution noted in its motion, it was reasonable for the final brief in Karadzic’s case to run to 375,000 words with annexes.
The defense’s last witness – a Croatian government official – was slated to give evidence today at the trial of Radovan Karadzic. The defense expected the witness to confirm the authenticity of intercepted conversations to be tendered into evidence. The witness failed to appear in court. This was the second time this witness has done so, the rumor has it. The defense first asked the judges to issue a binding order to compel the witness to testify, but then withdrew its motion at the hearing today. The parties agreed to establish the authenticity of the intercepts out of court, in contacts between the defense representatives and the Croatian authorities. Several other administrative issues were dealt with today. The Trial Chamber indicated it would announce its decision on the volume of the final briefs and the deadline for their submission later.
- Case : Karadzic
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