The UN court in The Hague rejected former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic’s attempt to get judges he accuses of being biased against him disqualified from ruling on his attempts to appeal against his sentence.
The UN’s Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague on Monday said it has refused to consider a request by lawyers for Radovan Karadzic, who was convicted of genocide and other wartime crimes, to have two judges he accuses of bias to be disqualified from making decisions in his case.
The ruling, signed by judge Burton Hall, states that the presiding council of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the disqualification of the former and current president of the UN court, Theodore Meron and Carmel Agius.
“Radovan Karadzic’s efforts to propagate allegations of bias in order to reach his desired decision must be rejected, and his lawyer should refrain from making such submissions before the Mechanism,” the ruling said.
Karadzic, the wartime president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity, was sentenced in March this year to life in prison for the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats across the country during wartime, terrorising the population of Sarajevo during the siege of the city, and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.
Following the sentencing, Karadzic sought a review of the verdict and of the appeals chamber’s decision to raise his sentence from 40 years in prison to life.
The request was denied by judge Agius, after which Karadzic again appealed, calling for the decision to be made by judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, not Agius or Meron.
Karadzic asked Antonetti to rule on his appeal because he argued that Agius and Meron had previously convicted defendants of similar charges in other cases.
“An honest observer… might conclude that judges Agius and Meron are biased, considering that they made decisions relating to the same crimes which are the subject of Radovan Karadzic’s appeal,” he said in his motion.