Karadzic asks UN Security Council for trial exemption citing alleged immunity deal

Karadzic asks UN Security Council for trial exemption citing alleged immunity deal

[JURIST] Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive] on Friday asked [notice of request, PDF] the UN Security Council to pass a resolution exempting him from trial based on an alleged immunity agreement reached with former US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke in 1996. Last week, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] upheld the trial chamber's dismissal of Karadzic's immunity claim, and set the trial date [JURIST reports] for October 26. Holbrooke has continued to deny the existence of an immunity agreement, and the ICTY has ruled that even if such an agreement existed, it would not exempt Karadzic from trial. This was the second time [JURIST report] the ICTY has rejected Karadzic's claim of immunity. In his letter, Karadzic asserted:

In the face of this evidence, the Appeals Chamber changed course and held that even if I had been reasonable in relying on the apparent authority of Richard Holbrooke to negotiate on behalf of the Security Council, the agreement was not legally binding without a resolution of the Security Council. Of course, it was never my responsibility to obtain such a resolution, and Mr. Holbrooke neglected to do so. …

Therefore, I respectfully request that the UN Security Council honor the agreement entered into by Mr. Holbrooke by enacting a resolution that I not be prosecuted at the ICTY.

Karadzic also argued that a failure to honor the alleged agreement would set a bad precedent for negotiating with world leaders to end other conflicts.

Karadzic faces 11 charges [amended indictment, PDF], including genocide and murder, for war crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. 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. 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 [text, PDF] by the ICTY in 1995 but had been in hiding under an assumed identity until his arrest last year [JURIST report].