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ICTY grants Karadzic 300 hours to present his defense

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Wednesday granted [decision, PDF] former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case summary, PDF; JURIST news archive] 300 hours to present evidence in his defense. Karadzic had requested a total of 600 hours to present his defense, citing the 300 hours allocated to the prosecution and an additional 300 hours to rebut the 2,300 adjudicated facts. He also submitted a list detailing the 579 witnesses who will testify in his defense. The trial chamber however, rejected Karadzic's request for additional time and held that 300 hours would be reasonable. It stated that during cross-examination of the prosecution's witnesses Karadzic used two and half times the amount used by the prosecution on direct and re-direct examination. It also added that most of the adjudicated facts in the case have been discussed during direct and cross-examination of the prosecution's witnesses and there is no need to discuss every single fact. Karadzic's defense presentation is scheduled to begin on October 16.

Karadzic has been accused of participating in the planning of the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], which resulted in the death of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Two weeks ago, the ICTY denied Karadzic's request for a new trial after he argued that the prosecution had failed to disclose [JURIST reports] crucial information until after trial. The court reasoned that the delay in disclosing evidence has not infringed on Karadzic's right to a fair trial, although the court noted that "the number of disclosure violations in this case has reflected badly on the Prosecution." In early June the judges from the ICTY went on a five-day visit [JURIST report] to locations relevant to the indictment of Karadzic. They visited Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Srebrenica and surrounding areas. This visit came just months after the ICTY sentenced [JURIST report] former president of the municipality of Sokolac, BiH, Milan Tupajic to two months in prison for refusing to testify against Karadzic. In February former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Ratko Mladic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] accused [JURIST report] the ICTY of being biased.

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