By Denis Dzidic
Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic filed a motion to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague on Thursday, asking the UN war crimes court to throw out the prosecutors’ appeal.
Karadzic said that although there were “significant mistakes” in last year’s first-instance verdict, the court should not reverse the part of the ruling that acquitted him of genocide in seven municipalities in 1992.
The Hague Tribunal sentenced Karadzic to 40 years in prison in March last year, pronouncing him guilty of the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in 1995, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising the population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.
Both the prosecution and Karadzic filed appeals against the verdict.
In his response to the prosecutors’ appeal, Karadzic noted that genocide in the municipalities in 1992 had not been proved during the trial.
The verdict said that although conditions in Bosnian Serb detention camps in the municipalities in 1992 were terrible, the court could not conclude that the camps were established with the aim of “destroying Bosnian Muslims as a group”.
Karadzic said in his appeal that although conditions in the Susica, Omarska, Keraterm, Trnopolje and Karakaj detention camps, as well as other detention camps set up by the Bosnian Serbs in Foca, were bad for individuals held there, they were not destructive for Bosniaks as an ethnic group.
“Bearing in mind that very few people died due to bad conditions in this case, it cannot be said that the conditions in the detention camps were created to ensure the disappearance of Bosnian Muslims,” Karadzic said.
He also insisted that the court had determined that “the acts of resettlement of people, even in case of forcible resettlement, were not equal to genocidal acts, considering the fact that they do not necessarily result in destruction of a group of people”.
Hearings for both appeals against the verdict will be scheduled at a later date.