Today, Radovan Karadzic’s judgment appeal stands after he has been convicted to 40 years of prison by the TPIY in March 2016 for his major role in the atrocities committed in Srebrenica and Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. He decided immediately after the verdict to appeal the decision. The judgment appeal stands today.

The accused was charged with 11 charges: two of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity (i.e. persecutions, murder, extermination, expulsion and forcible transfer) and four counts of violations of the laws or customs of the war (i.e. murder, acts of violence whose main purpose was to spread terror among the civilian population, unlawful attacks on civilians and hostage-taking).

Due to his former functions, Radovan Karadzic was considered to play a leading role in the development and promotion of the SDS ideology and help to achieve the perpetration of the atrocities. Although he is supported by his lawyer Peter Robinson, he mainly represents himself in court, giving his lawyer a sporadic role, for purely legal issues.

The Karadzic Case points out the main issues of International Criminal Courts, that is the political aspect of it. Despite the particularly high-profile nature of the Karadzic case, the prosecution does not explicitly define the purpose of the Karadzic case leading to unremitting critics on the legitimacy of International Criminal Courts. According to Karadzic’s lawyer, the trial was conducted by judges « who know nothing about the region, its culture, its languages or its history, who rely on foreign proceedings and conduct a trial in a foreign language ».

It appears that the ICTY focused on the potential responsibility of Karadzic, throughout assuming its legitimacy of this particular case. As many authors pointed out the expressivist function of international criminal court can only be achieved by understanding their new and precarious nature, the political nature of the crimes judged. The courts and their trials are themselves contentious. If the main function of those court is peace and national reconciliation through justice[1], we could also possibly think that they are the expression of dominant moral attitudes.[2]

 

Ludivine Plenchette

[1] According to Judge Antonio Cassesse “Justice is an indispensable ingredient of the process of national reconciliation. It is essential to the restoration of peaceful and normal relations between people who have lived under a reign of terror”.

[2] DURKHEIM, (E). Sociologie et philosophie. 1951, cited in Tim Meijers; Marlies Glasius, Expression of Justice or Political Trial – Discursive Battles in the Karadzic Case, 35 Hum. Rts. Q. 720 (2013)

 

To go further :

Website « Le Monde »

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/04/23/ouverture-du-proces-en-appel-de-l-ancien-chef-politique-des-serbes-de-bosnie-radovan-karadzic_5289121_3214.html#xeS6140rDkUJ44cO.99

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/04/23/ouverture-du-proces-en-appel-de-l-ancien-chef-politique-des-serbes-de-bosnie-radovan-

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2016/07/22/tpiy-l-ex-leader-des-serbes-de-bosnie-karadzic-fait-appel-de-sa-condamnation-a-40-ans-de-prison_4973483_3214.html#qOZOxyR4pDWkmYuY.99