U.S. Supreme Court
Allows Tortured Women
to Sue Karadzic
Washington, June 17 (AP) The Supreme Court on Monday allowed women raped and tortured in the former Yugoslavia to sue Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in the United States for crimes against humanity.
The court, without comment, turned down Karadzicís argument that he cannot be sued here because he is a private citizen, not a government official, and because none of the alleged offenses occurred in the United States.
The two class-action lawsuits against Karadzic were filed by human rights groups in 1993 on behalf of thousands of Bosnian Muslim and Croatian women. He is accused of ordering a campaign of murder, rape and other forms of torture to destroy non-Serbian people. The case is based on a 200-year-old law allowing foreign citizens to sue foreign officials and citizens for violating the law of nations.
Karadzic, the Serbsí political leader, also has been indicted on charges of genocide and war crimes by a United Nations tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands. He has not been arrested on those charges, however.
A federal judge in New York dismissed the lawsuits in 1994, saying Karadzic could not be sued because he was a private citizen. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the womenís claims last October. "The liability of private individuals for committing war crimes has been recognized since World War I and was confirmed at Nuremberg after World War II," the appeals court ruled.
In the appeal acted on Monday, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark argued on Karadzicís behalf that individualsí actions, not taken on behalf of a government, do not violate the law of nations. None of the people involved in the case lived in the United States and the alleged actions did not occur here, Clark noted. He said Karadzic was not properly served with court papers in 1993 because he was in the country on a special visa to attend talks at the United Nations.
The womenís lawyers said the lower court correctly allowed them to sue, adding that there is no other court where they can bring their claims.
The case is Karadzic vs. Kadic, 95-1599.
The Indictment Against Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic War Crimes Tribunal
Women for Women in Bosnia
Rape Used as a Tactic Fact sheet provided by Women for Women in Bosnia
Serbian Women Victims of War Dr. Sanda Raskovic
The Rape of Bosnia Systematic Rape in Bosnia
Testimonies of Rape
Bosnia, Rape and the Problem of Evil by Greg Koukl
Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court Cornell University
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