Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

International Justice/ICTY: Sep ‘08

Coverage of Karadzic case and related issues dominates output.
The Hague tribunal programme continued its extensive coverage of the case of the former Bosnian Serb leader charged with genocide, Radovan Karadzic, who was arrested in Belgrade in July this year.

In addition to covering Karadzic’s third appearance before a tribunal judge since his arrest, we also had several in-depth reports on issues related to this case.

One of them, Pressure Mounting on Karadzic Prosecutors, looked into the reasons why two months after Karadzic’s arrest Hague prosecutors still hadn’t amended his indictment. This article was referenced in the major Bosnian newspaper Avaz daily. The reporter, Simon Jennings, subsequently discussed Karadzic’s indictment on National Public Radio, NPR.

In the last week of September, the tribunal prosecutors finally submitted proposed amendments to charges against Karadzic, narrowing the trial’s scope to “increase the efficiency of proceedings”.

They are seeking to reduce Karadzic’s criminal liability to 27 of the 47 Bosnian municipalities mentioned in the original indictment, which was last amended in April 2000, and contained 11 counts.

In the article Prosecutors Seek to Streamline Karadzic Indictment, we presented opinions of lawyers and legal experts on the proposed changes. While some welcomed the proposals, saying prosecutors have struck an appropriate balance between ensuring efficiency and covering a reasonable number of crimes, others questioned the decision to include certain charges.

Also this month, we published a piece looking into whether the court should investigate Karadzic’s allegations that American diplomat Richard Holbrook promised him immunity in 1996 in exchange for his complete withdrawal from politics and public life. The article – Should ICTY Probe Karadzic Immunity Deal Claims? – was quoted in Avaz daily and posted on the Croatian Radio website.

Also in September, we covered several other important trials at the ICTY, including the verdict handed down in the case against former Bosnian army chief, General Rasim Delic.

Delic was sentenced to three years in prison, which provoked anger from all sides in Bosnia – Serbs and Croats thought the sentence was too lenient, while Bosniaks said he should have been acquitted of all charges.

Voices of victims were presented in several reports we published this month. Particularly moving was evidence given by a woman who testified at the trial of two Bosnian Serbs, Milan and Sredoje Lukic, charged with crimes against non-Serb population in Visegrad in 1992. Her family members were burned alive together with several dozens other Bosniaks detained in the town, and she herself suffered terrible injuries from which she never fully recovered.

At the beginning of September, Bosnian war crimes victims told a Belgrade conference about their suffering as part of a plan to raise public awareness about atrocities committed during the 1990s Balkans conflicts.

This conference heard from victims from Brcko in northern Bosnia, and was one of a series of similar events held to let people talk about the abuses they were subjected to during the Bosnian war of 1992-1995. We covered this event in an article entitled Voices of Victims Heard at Belgrade Conference.

Also, an article on French journalist Florence Hartamnn’s indictment for contempt of court was republished in full by the Bosnian weekly Start magazine.

The article looked into charges against the former spokeswoman of the Hague tribunal’s chief prosecutor. Hartmann was accused of revealing confidential information after leaving her post. Her trial was due to start in September, but was postponed until October.

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