Prosecutors have filed an amended indictment against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, asking UN tribunal judges to approve war crimes and genocide charges they say will lead to a more efficient trial.
The new version contains the same number of charges – 11, including two of genocide – but narrows the scope of alleged criminal acts during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and reduces the areas where they were committed, prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said.
Karadzic will be asked to enter a new plea to the new charges, which is expected to delay the start of his trial further. But prosecutors argued in their motion that “any minor delay will be more than offset by the time savings resulting from a more focused and precise indictment.”
The judge overseeing pre-trial proceedings entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ for Karadzic on August 29 after he refused to plead on his own behalf.
Karadzic, 63, was arrested in July after 11 years on the run. He had been living in Belgrade disguised as an alternative healer with a flowing beard and long hair.
Among the main changes to the indictment, prosecutors removed one charge of complicity in genocide and split the other genocide charge into two time periods, including the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica.
The remaining charges against Karadzic, which were changed to reflect new information and narrow the focus of the charges, include crimes against humanity, murder, deportation, terror and unlawful attacks on civilians, and the taking of hostages.
Karadzic, who has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the tribunal, is representing himself, as did former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who died during his war crimes trial in 2006.
Experts say tribunal prosecutors and judges will seek to avoid a lengthy trial like Milosevic's, which lasted for four years and included nearly 300 witnesses.