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ICTY judges warn Karadzic trial likely to continue until 2014

Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] warned Friday that the genocide trial of Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive] may take another four years—two years longer than expected. As the UN Security Council [official website] is urging the ICTY to close its doors, Friday's hearing [AP report] was called to discuss methods to streamline what has become the tribunal's lengthiest and most complex case. To speed things up, the prosecution urged the judges to allow prosecutors to enter more evidence directly to judges in writing, while the defense called for charges relating to the ethnic cleansing of some 20 Bosnian municipalities that occurred early in the war to be dropped. No immediate decisions were made on how to increase the efficiency of the case.

In March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said that the ICTY will continue to operate [JURIST report] beyond its originally planned end date in part to apprehend the two indictees still at large—former Bosnian Serb Commander Ratko Mladic [case materials; JURIST news archive] and former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic [case materials]—who both face a significant number of charges. In May, the ICTY amended the indictment of Mladic in order to help speed up the court proceedings once he is captured. In July, the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution [press release] extending the terms of office for the judges of the ICTY. Resolution 1931 [text] was welcomed by the ICTY, which has been struggling with staff retention, causing large setbacks in the tribunal's trial schedule. The latest completion strategy [JURIST report] report estimates that all first instance trials will be completed by mid-2012 with the exception of Karadzic. Most appellate work is scheduled to be completed by early 2014.

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