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ICTY rejects Karadzic challenge to legitimacy of court

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Monday rejected [judgment, PDF] a motion [text, PDF] filed by former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive] challenging the legitimacy of the court. Karadzic claimed [JURIST report] that the UN Security Council [official website] overstepped its powers when it created the court in 1993. The tribunal summarily rejected this argument:

Whether the UNSC legally established the Tribunal is an issue that was unambiguously settled in 1995 in the Tadic case, when the Appeals Chamber held that the establishment of the Tribunal fell squarely within the powers of the UNSC under Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations. On the basis of the reasoning set out in that decision, the Trial Chamber finds that the Accused's argument that the Tribunal was not legally constituted because it was not established through an international treaty is without merit. Indeed, the establishment of an international tribunal through an international treaty, as in the case of the International Criminal Court, is but one of the methods by which to set up such a tribuna1.

The court added, "[t]he Trial Chamber wishes to emphasise to the Accused, yet again, that his efforts and resources are best directed towards preparing for the resumption of his trial rather than to filing challenges out of 'moral duty', which he knows are not going to bear fruit."

Last month, the ICTY denied a motion filed by Karadzic requesting appellate review of the court's decision to assign standby counsel [JURIST reports]. The ICTY began Karadzic's trial in absentia last month after proceedings were temporarily adjourned when Karadzic failed to appear [JURIST reports] in court. Karadzic announced earlier that he planned to boycott [JURIST report] his trial because he had not been given adequate time to prepare a defense. The ICTY has also repeatedly rejected [JURIST report] Karadzic's argument that he should be immune from trial based on an alleged agreement with former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Karadzic faces 11 charges [amended indictment, PDF], including genocide and murder, for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian genocide [PPU backgrounder]. In June, the ICTY said that Karadzic's trial was expected to conclude in early 2012 [JURIST report]. His trial is planned to be the tribunal's last.

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