Scottish judge will oversee run-up to Karadzic trial in The Hague
A SCOTTISH judge has been appointed to oversee preparations for the trial of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, it was announced yesterday.
Lord Bonomy, 62, a member of the bench of the UN's International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, was selected after Karadzic lodged an official complaint alleging a Dutch judge assigned to his case had an anti-Serb bias.
Karadzic was arrested in Serbia last month after 13 years on the run. He is alleged by prosecutors to have masterminded atrocities including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and the 44-month siege of Sarajevo during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
Lord Bonomy moved to the Netherlands in 2004 to replace another British judge who had been forced to step down because of ill-health from the trial of the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The case ended when Milosevic died of a heart attack in his UN cell in March 2006.
Lord Bonomy will come face to face with Karadzic next Friday when the accused enters pleas to 11 charges including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Iain Bonomy began his legal career in 1968 as an apprentice solicitor with East Kilbride town council. After more than ten years as a solicitor, he joined the Faculty of Advocates in 1984. He served as a High Court prosecutor and,
in 1996, led the evidence to the Cullen inquiry into the Dunblane shootings, by gunman Thomas Hamilton.
In early 1997 he was elevated to the High Court and earned the nickname Judge Dread in a tabloid newspaper report of a drugs case in which he gave a heroin dealer 24 hours to name the man he claimed was behind the supply. When the accused failed to deliver, he was jailed for ten years.
Lord Bonomy became an outspoken critic of what he described as the "shambles" of the High Court. Asked to review the system, he produced a damning report of inefficiency and trials constantly being postponed, adding to the grief of victims and wasting the time of professional witnesses such as police and scientists.
Sweeping reforms based on his report have been credited with vast improvements in the criminal justice system.
Lord Bonomy also paved the way for compensation payments running into millions of pounds by awarding the first damages, 2,400, to a prisoner who had been forced to slop out in Glasgow's Barlinnie prison.
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