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Europe

Karadzic cleared of one of two genocide charges

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-28

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal has dropped one of the two genocide charges against ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic because of a lack of evidence, presiding judge O-Gon Kwon said on Thursday.

AFP - The Yugoslav war crimes court on Thursday dropped one genocide charge against wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, but a similar charge over the Srebrenica massacre still stands.

Presiding judge O-Gon Kwon said there was not enough evidence to substantiate the definition of genocide in relation to killings by Bosnian Serb forces in towns and villages of Bosnia from March to December 1992.

In addition to the Srebrenica genocide charge, Karadzic faces nine other charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1992-1995 conflict which left some 100,000 people dead and over two million homeless.

"The chamber partially grants the motion and acquits the accused on count one of the indictment and denies the remainder of his request," said the judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Genocide is the gravest crime in international humanitarian law -- and the hardest to prove.

The evidence presented in the prosecution case "does not rise to the level which could sustain a conclusion that the serious bodily or mental harm suffered... in the municipalities" could "lead to the death of the whole or part of the population," O-Gon Kwon said.

Karadzic, 66, had sought an acquittal on all counts, with his lawyers arguing that no genocide took place in Bosnia in 1992.

Arrested on a Belgrade bus in 2008 after years on the run, Karadzic was wanted in particular for masterminding the killings that followed the Serbs' capture of the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.

Close to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered over the course of a few days in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II -- an incident for which Karadzic has denied responsibility.

O-Gon Kwon, a South Korean judge, said there was evidence that it could be established that genocide was carried out at Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces under the command of Karadzic's military chief Ratko Mladic.

Judges were also of the view that "if accepted, a reasonable trier of fact could be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused participated in a joint criminal enterprise with the purpose to eliminate Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica."

Karadzic is also being prosecuted at the UN court for his role in the 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo between May 1992 and November 1995 in which 10,000 people died.

Like Mladic, he also faces charges for his role in plans to take hostage UN observers and peacekeepers and use them as human shields during a NATO bombing
 

Date created : 2012-06-28

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