Karadzic: pitfalls of a parallel defence

11 November 2009 by Sebastiaan Gottlieb

Radovan Karadzic conducts his own defence in his genocide trial, but he has an international team of top lawyers, academics and interns at his disposal. For months they have been preparing the defence of the former Bosnian-Serb leader. 

Karadzic’s defence team is led by US lawyer Peter Robinson, who is coordinating procedure while Serb lawyer Goran Petronijevic heads up the legal advisers.

Karadzic also has three case managers and two researchers at his disposal, paid for by the UN court. As well as this he can call on around forty international academics and lawyers who work for him unpaid.

The Amsterdam professor of international law Göran Sluiter was one of the academics asked to form part of the team along with other international colleagues. He insisted as a precondition that Karadzic should respect the rules of the ICTY. After he had received assurances, he agreed to the request. Sluiter has also advised prosecutors at the court in the past.

When questioned on his motives for assisting with Karadzic’s defence, he replied, “In the first place because I consider that he too has the right to an effective defence. Ultimately, also with the goal of improving the quality of the administration of criminal justice. You can only have good administration of criminal justice if there’s also a good defence”

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