CLOSING ARGUMENTS AT KARADZIC TRIAL SLATED FOR 29 SEPTEMBER 2014
On Thursday, the Trial Chamber denied the prosecution’s motion to re-open its case in order to present the evidence about the exhumation of the Tomasica mass grave. Today, the judges denied the prosecution motion seeking leave to rebut parts of Karadzic’s defense case. The closing arguments have been scheduled for 29 September 2014
At the trial of the former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic, the prosecution case will remain closed. The Trial Chamber denied both motions filed by the prosecution: the first one, seeking leave to re-open its case in order to call new evidence on the mass grave in the Tomasica mine and the second one, to rebut parts of the defense case where Karadzic contested some of the adjudicated facts about the crimes in Bijeljina, Bratunac, Foca, Kljuc, Prijedor, Srebrenica and Sarajevo.
Instead of granting the prosecution leave to present new evidence in April 2014, on Friday afternoon the Trial Chamber issued a scheduling order: the closing arguments are to begin on 29 September 2014. The parties were ordered to submit their final briefs by 29 August 2014. The final briefs should not exceed 300,000 words, including annexes. Karadzic has asked for 12 months for the preparation of his final brief. This period was supposed to run from the end of the testimony of the last prosecution witness. If the prosecution had been allowed to reopen its case, the final briefs would have been submitted sometime in April 2015.
The motion to call evidence on Tomasica was rejected because the judges assessed that, given the fact that the trial is in its final stage, the extension would not be 'minimal'. Since the remains have not yet been identified, the link between the exhumed bodies and particular crimes listed in the indictment against Karadzic could only be speculated upon. The explanation as to why the prosecution’s motion to rebut some of the defense evidence has not been disclosed yet, and the reasons why the judges have done so are in the realm of speculation.
Naturally, there will be many such speculations. Those partial to conspiracy theories may link the denial of the prosecution motions with Karadzic’s purported agreement with Holbrooke: if the judges felt they could not terminate the proceedings against Karadzic, at least they could limit the evidence the prosecution would present to the Tribunal and the public.
Another possible assumption is that in the past four years the Trial Chamber has seen and heard sufficient evidence in the course of the prosecution case, which were "sealed" in the cross-examination of Karadzic’s defense witnesses. The judges thus concluded that the case is clear and that there is no need to call additional evidence and prolong the proceedings.
The truth will come out, of course, when the judgment is rendered. In light of the Trial Chamber’s decision to speed up the trial, the judgment might be handed down in mid-2015.
- Case : Karadzic
- 2014-03-20 TOMASICA EVIDENCE ‘NOT IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE’
- 2014-03-19 KARADZIC AGAINST TOMASICA EVIDENCE
- 2014-03-14 AMERICA ACQUITTED OF KARADZIC’S ACCUSATIONS
- 2014-03-26 PROSECUTOR COULD HAVE FORESEEN KARADZIC’S ARGUMENT
- 2014-05-05 KARADZIC WANTS BIFURCATED JUDGMENT
- 2014-05-21 KARADZIC CALLS FOR AN INVESTIGATION OF THE PROSECUTION