THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal acquitted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on Thursday of one of the two genocide charges he faces at the halfway stage of his long-running trial.
Judges said prosecutors did not present enough evidence to support the genocide count covering mass killings, expulsions and persecution by Serb forces of Muslims and Croats from Bosnian towns early in the country's 1992-95 war.
Presiding Judge Oh-Gon Kwon said there was not enough evidence to "be capable of supporting a conviction of genocide in the municipalities."
While the dismissal of the genocide charge was a setback for prosecutors, judges upheld 10 more charges, including a genocide count covering Karadzic's alleged involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men.
The U.N. court's rules allow suspects to seek acquittal after prosecutors wrap up their case.
Prosecutors finished presenting their evidence in May and earlier this month Karadzic asked judges to dismiss all 11 counts against him, saying prosecutors had failed to prove them.
His trial will continue later this year on the 10 remaining counts. Karadzic is due to begin presenting evidence in his defense on Oct. 16.
He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.
The court has repeatedly ruled that the massacre in Srebrenica was genocide, but has never convicted any suspect of genocide for the campaign of killings in municipalities at the outset of the war.
Karadzic was arrested in 2008, 13 years after he was first indicted on charges of masterminding Serb atrocities during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. His trial started in 2009 and prosecutors rested their case in May.