The Islamic Post Blog

Prosecutor Confident of Radovan Karadzic War Crime Conviction by Khalida
January 2, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: January Volume I- 2009, World | Tags: , , , ,

By Mubeen Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Hague Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz expressed his confidence over a conviction for accused war criminal, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, who is being prosecuted at the International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia (ICTY). When asked about the possibility of immunity due to an alleged deal made with a representative of the United Nations’ Security Council, the chief prosecutor told the Russian news service, Blic, “That issue is irrelevant as far as my office is concerned. At the same time, there is no evidence of the existence of this agreement.”
Others remain divided as to whether the ICTY should pursue a submission to the court, in which the Bosnian Serb leader –who had been in hiding for over a decade– claims he was granted immunity from being tried. Dr. Karadzic is being accused at the ICTY of having played a major role in the mass murder of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica, and is also being held responsible for a 44 month siege, on Sarajevo that left 10,000 dead.
Radovan Karadzic, who holds a psychology doctorate, was apprehended last summer in Belgrade where he had been practicing what is known as quantum energy healing. While in hiding Dr. Karadzic allegedly received financial support from organized crime boss, Zeljko Radovanovic, who was arrested last December for drug related activities. A year ago Belgrade police found other members of the mafia group to have 46.7 kilos of heroine, 4.2 kilos of cocaine and EUR 200,000 in their possession, claiming it was meant for assisting Radovan Karadzic while he was underground.
While the necessity of such an agreement could be construed, in itself, as an admission of guilt on the part of Radovan Karadzic, the allegation is mainly seen as a diversion away from the focus of the trial and, as such, therefore considered by some to be inadmissible. “None of the factual allegations made in the submission, even if proved, could provide a basis for a legal remedy,” prosecutors in the case told the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR).
While the allegation of offered immunity in and of itself could be seen to admit a certain amount of guilt on Dr. Karadzic’s part, delays would more than likely be the result, which could prove embarrassing to the ICTY. The former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, who was also being tried for war crimes, died in 2006 of heart failure before the case concluded. It took two years to gather evidence for his case.
In what is seen by some as a ploy to delay the trial, the Bosnian Serb nationalist claimed, in an official submission to the pre-trial chamber, that agreements made by then United States ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, “endanger the very essence of the proceedings and rule out the possibility of their lawful conduct.”
Dr. Karadzic said the deal, allegedly made in 1996, stipulated that he “must withdraw not only from public, but also from party offices, and completely disappear from the public arena… [To] become invisible long enough for the Dayton Agreement to be implemented in full.” In exchange, Karadzic was to be granted immunity from arrest and subsequent prosecution at The Hague.
Dr. Karadzic has therefore been demanding an investigation into the legality of his detainment, as well as the tribunal proceedings themselves.
Former Bosnian ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Sacirbey, who actively pursued the case for genocide against the Serbs during the 1990s, and still supports the trials, confirmed Karadzic’s claim this past August. However, Mr. Sacirbey had pointed out some ten years ago that he had received the same information about a deal between Dr. Karadzic and Mr. Holbrooke from Robert Frowick, head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) diplomatic mission, in Bosnia, in 1996.
John Jones, a Hague tribunal defense lawyer, told the IWPR that an investigation of the claims would be “important for the historical record. But unless it emerges that the tribunal was somehow a party to the deal, they should dispose of it, and make clear that no-one but the tribunal has any business promising immunity to anyone.”
Apparently the ICTY agreed when it ruled, last month, that any such immunity deal “would be invalid under international law.”  This is in spite of the fact that the Security Council, from which Mr. Holbrooke’s promise allegedly stemmed, is the U.N. body which established the ICTY in 1991, to try breaches of the Geneva Convention committed within the borders of what used to be Yugoslavia.
Mr. Holbrooke, in an interview with Dr. Spiegel, said, “I believe it was a big mistake not to arrest him right after Dayton when everyone knew where he was.”
When asked about the allegations, Richard Holbrooke replied, “Those are lies that I do not comment on any longer.”
“He is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. I think he was worse than even Slobodan Milosevic and Ratko Mladic in the sense that he was the true believer in the racist theories. He believed in racial superiority even though Muslims and Serbs were really basically the same ethnicity,” Mr. Holbrooke told Dr. Spiegel.


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