Karadzic refuses testimony against former ally

Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic refused to answer questions at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Nov. 5 at the appeals hearing of Momcilo Krajisnik. Krajisnick, a former Bosnian Serb parliamentary leader, is appealing a conviction and 27-year prison sentence handed down by the ICTY for various war crimes related to his role in atrocities committed against Croats and Muslims during the Bosnian war. Karadzic had given written testimony in support of Karjisnik's appeal, but refused to be cross-examined on the grounds that such testimony could be harmful to his own case.

Karadzic was arrested in July after evading capture for nearly 13 years. He was originally indicted in 1995 but had been in hiding under an assumed identity as an alternative medicine practitioner. After he repeatedly refused to enter a plea on the charges, an ICTY judge eventually entering a not guilty plea on his behalf. In September, ICTY prosecutors filed a motion to amend Karadzic's indictment, seeking to narrow it with the intent of calling fewer witnesses at trial.

See our last posts on Bosnia and ex-Yugoslavia.

ICTY reduces former Serb leader's sentence

The appellate chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on March 17 partially reversed the conviction and reduced the sentence of former Bosnian Serb parliamentary leader Momcilo Krajisnik from 27 to 20 years. Krajisnik was initially convicted in 2006 on charges of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, and forced transfer of non-Serb civilians during the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. The appellate chamber affirmed the trial chamber's ruling that Krajisnik had the intent to engage in deportation, forced transfer, and persecution of non-Serbs. It went on to hold that the trial chamber did not have any evidence that he intended to engage in crimes of murder and extermination and overturned the convictions for expanded crimes of murder, extermination, and persecution with the exception of the underlying acts of deportation and forcible transfer.

At Krajisnik's 2006 trial, the ICTY found him not guilty on a charge of genocide for which prosecutors had requested a life sentence. He was instead sentenced to 27 years imprisonment. Krajisnik was initially indicted together with Biljana Plavsic, the former Bosnian Serb president, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2003 after testifying against Krajisnik. (Jurist, March 17)

Bosnian war crimes convict released

From AP, Oct. 27:

Former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic, sentenced in 2003 by a U.N. war crimes tribunal to 11 years in prison, returned to her home in Belgrade on Tuesday after an early release from a Swedish jail.

Plavsic flew in from Stockholm on a Bosnian Serb government plane. She was whisked away in a car that drove her straight from the tarmac to her downtown Belgrade apartment...

Plavsic, who surrendered voluntarily to the tribunal in January 2001, was transferred to Sweden after the sentencing in 2003. While in a women's prison there, she has kept herself busy by walking and baking, Robinson said in a statement.

After her plea deal, Plavsic testified once for prosecutors, against former Bosnian Serb political ally Momcilo Krajisnik, who was convicted of atrocities and sentenced to 20 years.

However, she refused to testify against former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic