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The Hague, 3 November 2010
Trial Chamber Orders Suspension of Proceedings in the Karadžić Case
Trial Chamber III today ordered the suspension of proceedings in the trial of Radovan Karadžić for a period of one month to enable him to review material recently disclosed to him by the Prosecution.
Radovan Karadžić, former President of Republika Srpska, head of the Serb Democratic Party and Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, is accused of crimes committed against Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 war. His trial began on 26 October 2009.
The Trial Chamber, during the course of Wednesday’s hearing, ordered the suspension to allow the accused and his team to review around 14,000 pages of material containing potentially exculpatory information, disclosed to him by the Prosecution at the end of October 2010.
In rendering his decision, Judge O-Gon Kwon, presiding, said “… [T]he Chamber is of the view that the sheer volume of this material is such that it is in the interest of justice to suspend the proceedings temporarily.”
In determining the period of suspension, the Chamber also took into consideration the significant number of violations by the Prosecution of its obligations to disclose documents to the accused in accordance with the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, which have been recorded by the Chamber in several decisions to date. Having already admonished the Prosecution in those previous decisions to better organise and give greater priority to its disclosure processes, Judge Kwon stated that the Chamber was increasingly troubled by the potential cumulative effect of late disclosure on the overall fairness of the trial. He urged the Office of the Prosecutor to take seriously its disclosure obligations and ensure that all necessary resources are dedicated to ensuring timely disclosure of material to the accused.
The Chamber announced that proceedings will be suspended after the witnesses scheduled for this week and those already in The Hague or already in transit to testify next week have been heard.
The Chamber will inform the parties of the date and time of the resumption of proceedings.
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An information sheet regarding the case can be found at:
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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