Karadzic Pretrial Update: Defense Turns to Science to Rebut Srebrenica Genocide Claims; Trial to Begin on October 19th

www.slobodan-milosevic.org - September 21, 2009


Written by: Andy Wilcoxson


Former Bosnian-Serb president Dr. Radovan Karadzic has turned to science to uncover the truth about the alleged massacre of Bosnian-Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica in 1995. Forensic and genetic science is advancing at a remarkable pace these days, techniques unheard of in 1995 can now be used by scientists to pinpoint not only the identity of the victims, but also when they died.


Karadzic wants to use these advanced techniques to ascertain whether the corpses being unearthed from mass gravesites around Srebrenica are, in fact, who they are alleged by the Prosecution to be.


Dr. Karadzicís defense team has retained the services Prof. Dr. Dusan Dunjic, a forensic expert, and Dr. Stojkovic a world-renowned geneticist, to evaluate the DNA and forensic evidence collected by the Tribunal and the ICMP.


Karadzicís experts want to use DNA samples taken from the corpses, as well as other forensic evidence, to determine the number of unique individuals found in the graves, as well as their identity, and their time of death. If it should turn out that there have been duplicate and triplicate identifications of victims, or that corpses belonging to people who died before or substantially after the fall of Srebrenica are in those graves it will seriously undermine the credibility of the prosecutionís case.


It is not disputed that the bodies found in mass gravesites around Srebrenica were moved there from other locations. The prosecution claims the bodies were reburied to hide evidence of killings by Bosnian-Serb forces. Karadzicís defense appears to be that the bodies were reburied to fabricate evidence of killings by Bosnian-Serbian forces.


Karadzicís defense claims to be in possession of documents from the command of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina (ABiH) identifying Bosnian-Muslim soldiers who were killed in combat in 1992, 1993, and 1994, but whose remains were later ďfoundĒ in mass graves linked to Srebrenica and counted by the Tribunal as victims of the July 1995 massacre.


The scientists retained by Karadzicís defense also want to examine autopsy reports and other forensic evidence to ascertain cause of death. If it turns out that the cause of death is inconsistent with executions that would again undermine a key plank in the prosecutionís case.


In spite of the fact that theyíve had almost fifteen years to perfect the indictment against Karadzic, the Prosecution and the Trial Chamber still canít decide which crimes theyíre going to charge him with. The Trial Chamber is urging the Prosecution to amend the indictment yet again.


As a consequence, it is difficult for Karadzic to prepare a proper defense. He doesnít know which allegations to allocate his limited time and resources preparing a defense for because he still doesnít know what heís ultimately going to be charged with.


Under the circumstances, he made the following request of the judges. He said, ďI ask that we wait for the new indictment and for our response to the indictment and then for the Trial Chamber to reconsider the matters at that point.  Otherwise, this will not be a proper trial and this will not be something that this Tribunal or this Chamber or anybody else could be proud of.Ē


Unfortunately, Dr. Karadzicís request fell on deaf ears. Even though they canít decide, after almost fifteen years, what theyíre accusing him of, the Trial Chamber announced its intention to push ahead with the trial anyway. A pretrial conference is scheduled for October 6th, and the trial is tentatively scheduled to start on October 19th.

# # #