Karadzic found guilty of Srebrenica genocide

Ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic found guilty of Srebrenica genocide, several war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnian War between 1992-1995

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic sits in the courtroom during the reading of the verdict of his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, on March 24, 2016.

Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, known as the "Butcher of Bosnia," was found guilty of Srebrenica genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes listed in a 69-page indictment between the years 1992-95 in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

United Nations tribunal judges delivering their verdict on Karadzic said on Thursday there was insufficient evidence to prove one of two genocide charges against the former leader.

Presiding judge O-Gon Kwon said that Karadzic bears individual criminal responsibility for the three-year siege of Sarajevo. The judge said that he ordered a take over of Srebrenica before the massacre.

"The chamber is therefore convinced that the accused used this campaign of sniping and shelling causing terror among the civilian population in Sarajevo as a means of exerting pressure on the Bosnian Muslim leaders and the international community in pursuit of his political goals. Based on all these contributions, the chamber finds that as was the case with [Ratko] Mladic, [Stanislav] and Dragomir Milosevic, the accused was so instrumental in the Sarajevo JCE [Joint Criminal Enterprise], that without his support the SRKJ attack on civilians in the city could not have occurred," the judge said.

Thus 70-year-old Karadzic was found guilty of 10 out of 11 charges and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

An elderly Bosnian woman mourns at the grave of her relative at the Potocari Memorial Center near the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica (AFP)

Karadzic was "criminally responsible" for the murder, persecution and agreed to the killing of Bosnian Muslims males, the judge said.

The top UN human rights official welcomed the verdict against Karadzic on Thursday saying it showed that even powerful perpetrators of such crimes "must know that they will not escape justice."

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, in a statement issued after Karadzic was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the International Criminal Court, said his trial "should give pause to leaders across Europe and elsewhere who seek to exploit nationalist sentiments and scapegoat minorities."

Radovan Karadzic's lawyer said that his client will appeal the decision by UN judges.

Karadzic is the highest-ranking person to face the UN tribunal in the Hague over a war two decades ago in which at least 130,000 people died as rival armies carved up Bosnia along ethnic lines that largely survive today.

Karadzic defended himself throughpit his 497-day trial and called 248 witnesses, poring over many of the millions of pages of evidence with the help of a court-appointed legal adviser.

Among the main charges is that Karadzic, who was arrested in 2008 after 11 years on the run, controlled Serb forces that massacred 8,372 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 after overrunning the UN-designated "safe area."

TRTWorld and agencies