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ICTY sets Karadzic trial date for August

[JURIST] The trial for former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive] will start in late August and is likely to conclude in early 2012, according to a statement [text, PDF] by the president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Judge Patrick Robinson [official profile] stated that most appellate work in both the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) would be completed by the end of 2012, earlier than the tribunals' previous estimate of 2015. Although Karadzic's trial is set to be the tribunal's last, Robinson stressed that the capture of Serb wartime commander Ratko Mladic and former Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic is a "serious hurdle" remaining for the court.

In May, Karadzic filed a motion [text, PDF] with the court to renew his claim [JURIST report] that charges against him should be dropped due to an alleged promise of immunity from former US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke [PBS profile]. Karadzic claimed that he was promised immunity from prosecution if he voluntarily left power in 1996. In April, the appeals chamber of the ICTY upheld a previous ruling that held that even if an immunity agreement existed, it would not be valid under international law. Karadzic has twice refused to enter pleas [JURIST report] to 11 charges against him, 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 [indictment text] by the ICTY in 1995, but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest last year [JURIST report].

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