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Karadzic files motion challenging legitimacy of war crimes court

[JURIST] Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive] has filed a motion [text, PDF] made public Monday, challenging the legitimacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. Karadzic claims that the UN Security Council [official website] overstepped its powers when it created the court in 1993:

All over the world, the establishment of regular courts is only partially a constitutional and mostly a legislative matter, never in the power of the political executive or administrative bodies. Since the international legal order still lacks a legislative body, legislative work is done by the States themselves through what are known as legislative treaties. According to the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council is not a legislative but a political-executive organ, and its task is not to adopt general enactments but to take appropriate measures whenever there is a given, and therefore individual, threat or danger to peace or act of aggression. However, if this authority were to be interpreted as being unlimited (carte blanche) in terms of arresting suspects, conducting investigations, issuing indictments, trying cases and enforcing prison sentences, which represent police, judicial and administrative powers, this would be an impermissible exceeding of the explicitly established powers of the Security Council.

The ICTY has previously ruled [judgment text] that the Security Council acted within its authority when it established the tribunal. Kardzic concluded that, "[r]egardless of what the decision of the Trial Chamber may be in response to this motion," he "believes it his moral duty in the light of history and before the general public, to challenge the legal validity and legitimacy of this court."

Last week 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. He 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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