The Yugoslav war crimes court has dropped one genocide charge against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. It upheld 10 other war crimes counts against him, however, all relating to Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ruled on Thursday that there was not enough evidence to support one genocide charge against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
Presiding Judge Oh-Gon Kwon said prosecutors had not provided enough evidence to "be capable of supporting a conviction of genocide in the [Bosnian] municipalities."
The charge related to the mass killings, expulsions and persecution of Muslims and Croats by Serb forces in Bosnian towns and villages from March to December 1992.
Karadzic's lawyer, Peter Robinson, told reporters outside the court that he welcomed Thursday's rejection of the genocide charge.
"Dr. Karadzic and myself both thought it was a courageous decision of the trial chamber to say at this stage of the case that there was no genocide in the municipalities in Bosnia in 1992," Robinson said.
"But I do expect that the prosecution will want to appeal this decision."
Karadzic faces ten other charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for this role in the conflict, which left some 100,000 dead and over two million homeless.
All ten counts were upheld by the court in The Hague, including an additional genocide charge over the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
Karadzic denies guilt
The massacre in Srebrenica is widely considered to be the worst witnessed in Europe since the Second World War. It was carried out over the course of a few days by Bosnian Serb forces under the command of Karadzic's military chief Ratko Mladic.
The court has repeatedly ruled that the massacre was genocide, although no one has ever been convicted over the atrocity.
Karadzic was arrested in 2008, 13 years after he was first indicted by the ICTY. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and sought an acquittal earlier this month, saying prosecutors had failed to prove their case.
His trial will continue later this year on the remaining counts and he will begin his defence on October 16. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
The trial of Mladic, who is on trial on almost identical charges, will resume on July 9. The so-called "Butcher of Bosnia" was arrested a year ago in Serbia.
ccp/sej (AFP, AP)