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ICTY prosecutors file motion to amend Karadzic indictment

[JURIST] Prosecutors in the case of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive] filed a motion to amend [text, PDF] his indictment in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday, as was planned [JURIST report] earlier this month. The indictment [text] in question was issued in 2000, and contains 11 charges against Karadzic, including genocide, murder, persecution, deportation and "other inhumane acts." If granted, the motion would cause several significant changes, such as dropping allegations that Karadzic breached the Geneva Convention and was complicit in genocide, reducing the number of alleged municipalities in which Karadzic committed criminal activity, and bifurcating the genocide charge to create one count for his alleged involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] massacre and another count for his alleged role in the killing of Bosnian Muslims and Croats during ethnic conflicts [timeline] in the former Yugoslavia during the early 1990s. Amending the indictment would mean calling fewer witnesses to testify, and prosecutors hope it will simplify the trial process.

Last week, Karadzic reiterated his desire to represent himself, as well as his claim [JURIST report] that Richard Holbrooke [PBS profile], former US ambassador to the UN, had promised him immunity conditioned upon removing himself from public life. Karadzic was arrested [JURIST report] in July after evading capture for nearly 13 years. He was originally indicted in 1995 but had been in hiding under an assumed identity as an alternative medicine practitioner [BBC report]. He repeatedly refused to enter a plea on the charges, with an ICTY judge eventually entering a not-guilty plea [JURIST reports] on his behalf. If the court approves the amended indictment, Karadzic will be asked to enter new pleas.

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