Judge Vagn Joensen has accepted the Trial Chamber’s finding that all the delays in the disclosure of evidence to Karadzic’s defense to date are not due to any malicious intent on the part of the prosecution. The accused’s motion to appoint a prosecutor amicus curiae to investigate and launch contempt of court proceedings against the prosecution team has thus been denied

Vagn Joensen, judge in the TribunalVagn Joensen, judge in the Tribunal

All of Radovan Karadzic’s many maneuvers designed to prolong the proceedings against him, such as his motion for a re-trial, for the disqualification of all Trial Chamber’s judges or for two separate judgments have been in vain: as things stand now, there are no obstacles for the closing arguments to be presented as scheduled, on 29 September 2014. Judge Vagn Joensen’s decision has put paid to the attempt of the former Bosnian Serb president to have the prosecution investigated and indicted for contempt of court.

In May 2014, Karadzic submitted a motion to Judge Theodor Meron, the president of the Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals, to appoint a judge to investigate if there were grounds to appoint a prosecutor amicus curiae, who would then investigate and possibly indict the prosecution for contempt of court. According to Karadzic, in the course of his trial the prosecution has violated the rules repeatedly with late disclosure of various documents and potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. Meron appointed one of the judges of the Mechanism, which has now taken over the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, to consider the motion of the accused.

The Mechanism’s judge Joensen states in his decision that Judge Kwon’s Trial Chamber has the requisite powers to assess if there are ‘grounds for the belief’ that the prosecution has violated the rules, and is consequently guilty of contempt of court. Judge Joensen contacted Judge Kwon’s Trial Chamber before reaching his decision. The Trial Chamber informed him that ‘despite numerous violations of the obligation to disclose’ the evidence on time on the part of the prosecution, the Trial Chamber has never discerned ‘that such violations indicate lack of goodwill on the part of the prosecution’. In other words, the conclusion is that the prosecution’s failure to disclose evidence on time has not been the result of deliberate attempts to conceal potentially exculpatory evidence.

Karadzic’s motion has been denied and the parties now may continue their preparations for the closing arguments slated for late September 2014. The former Bosnian Serb president is charged with double genocide and other crimes against the non-Serbs in the war in BH.