Prosecutors pondering adding Mladic trial to Karadzic's

30th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The prosecution at the UN's Yugoslav court said Monday it was considering joining Bosnian Serb genocide suspect Ratko Mladic's trial to that of his wartime political head, Radovan Karadzic.

"We are studying all the possibilities," Frederick Swinnen, an adviser to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia's chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz, told AFP.

"In the rules of procedure, there is a possibility of asking for the two cases to be joined."

"The prosecutor has not yet taken a decision, and he is studying all the possible options," said Swinnen, adding Brammertz may give more details at a press conference after Mladic's arrival in The Hague, the seat of the court.

One possibility, according to Swinnen, was to join the trials on just some of the allegations, including for example the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, for which both are charged.

"What we all want is a trial that does not last too long, that is well managed, and in which the rights of the (accused) are respected," he said.

Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb president, and former general Mladic are accused of the same counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

"They were both highly placed, the one politically and the other militarily; it is for this reason that we are considering joining the two cases," said Swinnen.

"But it won't be easy as Mr Karadzic's trial is already well advanced."

Karadzic, 65, was arrested in Belgrade in July 2008 after 13 years on the run.

His trial began in earnest in October 2009 but has been suspended several times and is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

Karadzic is conducting his own defence. To date, the judges have heard the evidence of 71 out of 410 witnesses for the prosecution.

Asked about the possible joining of the cases, Karadzic's legal adviser Peter Robinson told AFP: "We have decided to wait until Mr Mladic comes to discuss it with him and his defence team."

The cases had been joined while the two men were both on the run, but were separated shortly before the start of Karadzic's trial.

© 2011 AFP

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