Judges at the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have dropped one of two genocide charges against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
A tribunal spokesperson, Nerma Jelacic, aid the court found that prosecutors did not present enough evidence to support the genocide count in relation to killings by Bosnian Serb forces in towns and villages of Bosnia-Herzegovina during the early part of the country’s 1992-1995 war.
“The chamber found that the crimes themselves were indeed systematic and widespread and that they made irrevocable impact on the victims of the crimes in those municipalities, but that they could not be called by the name of genocide,” Jelacic said.
The judges, however, upheld another genocide count covering his alleged involvement in the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
Karadzic also faces nine counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity related to his alleged plan to ethnically cleanse Bosnia of its non-Serbs through murder, extermination, deportation and genocide.
Karadzic had asked judges to dismiss all 11 counts against him after prosecutors finished presenting their evidence against him in May.
A lawyer for Karadzic welcomed Thursday’s rejection of the genocide charge.
“Dr. Karadzic and myself both thought that it was a courageous decision of the trial chamber to say at this stage of the case that there was no genocide in the municipalities in Bosnia in 1992.”
His defense is set to begin presenting its evidence on October 16. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.