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Diplomacy in Action

Radovan Karadzic's May 25, 2009 Filing before the ICTY

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 25, 2009


On May 25, 2009 Radovan Karadzic filed a motion before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) titled the “Holbrooke Agreement Motion” in which he argues that his indictment should be dismissed on the grounds that Ambassador Richard Holbrooke promised Dr. Karadzic immunity from prosecution in The Hague in return for his resignation from public life.

The United States is aware of this allegation and repeatedly has made clear that no agreement ever was made to provide Radovan Karadzic immunity from prosecution. Neither Ambassador Holbrooke nor any United States official was in a position to offer Dr. Karadzic such immunity, and no such offer was made. Dr. Karadzic did sign a statement, the text of which was negotiated in Belgrade on July 18, 1996, by Ambassador Holbrooke and a team of United States government officials with senior Serbian officials at a meeting where Dr. Karadzic was not present. In this statement, Dr. Karadzic pledged to leave office and withdraw from public life. There was no “quid pro quo”.

As part of an ongoing commitment to assist the work of the ICTY, the United States regularly provides information to both prosecution and defense counsel. As part of this standard practice and in response to requests from Dr. Karadzic’s legal advisor, we have provided a number of documents to Dr. Karadzic, a few of which were cited in the motion filed on May 25. However, we believe that Dr. Karadzic has mischaracterized the evidentiary import of the information he received.

In the interest of transparency and accuracy, we are making available to the public documents that pertain to the allegation of an immunity agreement and, in particular, demonstrate the lack of an underlying basis for that assertion. As these documents show, the United States Government repeatedly made clear at the time of Dr. Karadzic’s agreement to withdraw from public life that it still expected Dr. Karadzic to be tried in The Hague. This position is reflected in both official statements to the press and in private diplomatic communications, including in letters from Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Ambassador Holbrooke to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

The United States respects the ICTY’s judicial independence and strongly supports the work and mandate of the ICTY to investigate and try some of history’s most horrific crimes. We applauded Serbian authorities following the arrest and transfer of Radovan Karadzic to The Hague on July 21, 2008, and heralded the day as an important milestone for justice for the victims and reconciliation for the Balkans. Our longstanding policy is to ensure that those accused of atrocities face justice.

PRN: 2009/643

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