[JURIST] Former Bosnian Serb leader and war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive] requested [motion, PDF] Thursday that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] shorten his indictment [amended indictment, PDF] in order to expedite his trial. The request came as a response to a motion [text, PDF; JURIST report] by ICTY prosecutors last September, seeking to amend Karadzic's indictment and simplify the trial. That amendment included provisions to drop certain allegations against Karadzic and to reduce the number of municipalities in which he allegedly committed criminal activity from 41 to 27. In his response, Karadzic stressed the need for a shorter trial:
Dr. Karadzic does not oppose, in principle, the amending of the amorphous First Amended Indictment. However, the proposed amended indictment is not much better. To prepare for and conduct a trial on such wide ranging charges will take years and years. He respectfully suggests that the Trial Chamber grant leave to amend only parts of the proposed amended indictment at this time, reserving its decision on the other parts until after final judgement [sic].In arguing for a shorter indictment, Karadzic also drew parallels to the trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive]. The length of Milosevic's trial was criticized when he died of a heart attack [JURIST report] in prison after his trial had been ongoing for four years.
If it grants leave to amend the indictment in its present form, the Trial Chamber must provide Dr. Karadzic with adequate time to prepare for one of the most complex, wide-ranging trials in history, and then spend many years holding a mega-trial on the prosecutor's indictment.
Karadzic faces 11 charges including genocide, murder, persecution, deportation, and "other inhumane acts," for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Karadzic was originally indicted [text] by the ICTY in 1995, but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest last year [JURIST 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.