Brammertz: We'll prove Karadžić’s guilt

THE HAGUE -- Hague Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz believes that he will be able to present damning proof of Radovan Karadžić’s guilt.

Serge Brammertz (Beta, archive)
Serge Brammertz (Beta, archive)

“I believe my office will be able to put forward strong evidence that will unequivocally prove Karadžić’s responsibility, though it’ll be up to the judges to decide whether or not he’s guilty,” said Brammertz.

However, he could not say when the former Bosnian Serb leader’s trial would be getting under way, as the judges, prosecutors and lawyers needed time to prepare for the trial.

Asked about his office’s strategy during the upcoming trial, the chief prosecutor said that the court would see evidence of Karadžić’s responsibility for the crimes set forth in the indictment.

“In a broader context, that means four crimes—the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia from 1992-95, the shelling and terrorizing of the peaceful population of Sarajevo, the genocide in Srebrenica, and using UN blue helmets as hostages,” he said.

Brammertz said that Karadžić’s trial would be different to that of Slobodan Milošević because, among other things, only one of the three conflicts in the former Yugoslavia—the Bosnian—was at issue.

“That’s why there’ll be less material than during the Milošević trial. Apart from that, we’ll endeavor to focus on written testimony as much as possible in the upcoming trial,” the prosecutor said.

Another difference would be the fact that during the Milošević trial, the defendant was plagued by ill health, and the court was only able to convene a few days a week, whereas Karadžić is in excellent health.

Commenting on the former Bosnian Serb leader’s claims that U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke struck a deal with him supposedly guaranteeing him immunity from prosecution, Brammertz said that even if that agreement existed it would have no effect on the trial.

“That’s why that issue is irrelevant as far as my office is concerned. At the same time, there is no evidence of the existence of this agreement. Since the Hague Tribunal was created via a UN Security Council decision, only that body can take a decision to change its mandate,” he said.

“Since the Security Council has not done so, it all comes down to speculation or conversations between individuals who have no power in terms of limiting the Tribunal’s jurisdiction,” said the prosecutor.