Radovan Karadzic guilty of genocide over Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia

Karadzic faces 40 years imprisonment  

Radovan Karadzic has been found guilty of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, a UN court has announced.

The former Bosnian Serb leader has been convicted of nine other charges and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal found Karadzic “criminally responsible” for murder, attacking civilians and terror, while overseeing the 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, during the country’s 1992 to 1995 war that left 100,000 people dead.

Judge O-Gon Kwon said Karadzic used a campaign of sniping and shelling that targeted the city’s civilians in order to further his political goals.

Karadzic was found guilty of 10 of 11 charges. He faced two counts of genocide but was not found responsible for a campaign to drive Bosnian Muslims and Croats out of villages claimed by Serb forces.

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A man walks past a mural on the wall of bar depicting Radovan Karadzic in Belgrade, Serbia, 24 March 2016 EPA

Prosecutors accused Karadzic of being responsible as a political leader and commander-in-chief of Serb forces in Bosnia, which are accused of atrocities in war.

Karadzic, who represented himself throughout his eight-year trial, has maintained his innocence and claimed his wartime actions were intended to protect Serbs.

The 70-year-old is the most senior Bosnian Serb leader to face prosecution at the court in The Hague, and his trial is hugely significant for the UN tribunal.

The result is a development for international law and should strengthen international jurisprudence on the criminal responsibility of political leaders for atrocities committed by forces under their control.

Karadzic’s trial is one of the final acts of at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. The court, set up in 1993, inducted 161 suspects.

Of these, 80 were convicted and sentenced, 18 were acquitted, 13 were sent back to local courts and 36 had their charges withdrawn.

Three suspects remain on trial, including Gen Ratko Mladic and Serb ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj. Eight cases are being appealed and two defendants are to face re-trials.

Karadzic was indicted along with Mladic in 1995, but evaded arrest until he was captured in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2008, while posing as a New Age healer, Dr Dragon Dabic.

The Srebrenica massacre, the genocidal killing of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska, occurred in July 1995 during the Bosnian War.

Thousands of Bosnian Muslims were systematically murdered in the town of Srebrenica in an ethnic cleansing operation by the Serb forces.

Others were forced out of the territory, with over 20,000 being forcibly removed using terror tactics, including the rape of women and girls by Bosnian Serb soldiers. 

Tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats were held in detention centres during the war, including death camps, predominantly inhabited by men and rape camps where women were subject to sexual enslavement. 

Thousands of camp inmates were killed, while others were starved, beaten and tortured.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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