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Serbia plans to extradite Karadzic to face trial for war crimes

[JURIST] top story A Serbian prosecutor said on Tuesday that the government plans to extradite Bosnian Serb leader and former fugitive Radovan Karadzic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to the Hague to face an International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official site] war crimes indictment [text]. Karadzic was originally indicted by the court in 1995, but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest Monday [JURIST report]. Karadzic's defense has three days to appeal the extradition, but if unsucessful, he will be sent to the Netherlands where counsel will be appointed and he will be given the opportunity to enter a plea on the charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Karadzic is accused of being involved in the Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] massacre and other crimes against Bosnian Muslims and Croats during ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. His capture has been a major goal of the ICTY [press release], and follows the June arrest [JURIST report] of former Bosnian Serb police commander Stojan Zupljanin [Trial Watch profile]. The Herald has more. The Guardian has additional coverage.

ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz [ICC profile; JURIST report] has long criticized Serbia for its seeming reluctance to cooperate with the ICTY, exemplified by its failure to find and capture [JURIST report] the remaining war crimes suspects. Brammertz took over the prosecution's leadership in January, saying that he would continue his predecessor's tough stance on Serbian cooperation [JURIST report] with the tribunal. The EU has made Serbia's cooperation with the ICTY a key element of its membership negotiations [EU accession materials]. Brammertz has vowed to try all war crimes suspects [JURIST report] before the expiration of the ICTY's mandate in 2010.

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