|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 30 July 2008
Prosecutor Serge Brammertz Statement on the transfer of Radovan Karadzic
Radovan Karadžić is now in the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. After 13 years at large, he arrived in the Netherlands early this morning and has been transferred to the United Nations Detention Unit in The Hague. His initial appearance before one of the Tribunal’s Judges will be held soon.
The arrest of Radovan Karadžić is immensely important for the victims who had to wait far too long for this day. It is also important for international justice because it clearly demonstrates that there is no alternative to the arrest of war criminals and that there can be no safe haven for fugitives.
Radovan Karadžić, the former leader of Bosnian Serbs, is here to stand trial for crimes committed during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s. He is indicted for the most serious crimes under international law: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
He is charged with the ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs from large areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the commission of the crimes alleged in the indictment. He is charged with a campaign of shelling and sniping to terrorise the civilian population of Sarajevo. He is also charged with the genocide committed in Srebrenica in July 1995 when close to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed. In addition, he is charged with taking UN peacekeepers and military observers hostage.
The Prosecution intends to proceed against Radovan Karadžić on these charges. My team is currently reviewing the indictment which was last amended in 2000. We will ensure that it reflects the current case law, facts already established by the court and evidence collected over the past eight years.
It will be a complex trial, like other cases before this Tribunal. In order to prove these serious crimes, the Prosecution will have to present a significant amount of evidence including the testimony of many witnesses. We intend to present the Prosecution case in the most efficient manner, while respecting the rights of the defence.
Before concluding, I would like to say that the Serbian authorities deserve full credit for the apprehension of Radovan Karadžić. This arrest is a major achievement in Serbia’s cooperation with the Tribunal. I make special mention of the National Security Council, Serbia’s Action Team in charge of tracking fugitives and the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor in Belgrade. I look forward to meeting the authorities in Belgrade in the coming weeks and hope that Serbia’s cooperation will lead to the arrest of the two remaining fugitives, Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić. Without these arrests we cannot complete our mandate.
To achieve this, we will also continue to rely on the support of the international community and the non-governmental organizations.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you, journalists for your significant role in informing the public about the Tribunal’s activities and achievements. By doing so, you are promoting the principles of international justice. I hope that your interest in the work of the Tribunal will remain high and that you will continue to report on this and other trials through to their conclusion.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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