Karadzic verdict to be handed down by UN war crimes court

Long awaited verdict of ex Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to be handed down by UN war crimes court

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Women protest outside the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday Oct. 26, 2009.

A long awaited verdict on Serb ex-leader Radovan Karadzic facing 11 charges including genocide arising out of Balkans wars, will be handed down by a UN war crimes court on March 24.

"The pronouncement of the judgement in this case (will) take place on Thursday 24 March 2016 at 2 pm in courtroom I," the presiding judge O-Gon Kwon said.

A trial had been opened in October 2009 at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for Karadzic who is still in detention in The Hague, awaiting the verdict after closing arguments wrapped up in October 2014.

Karadzic, once one of Europe’s most wanted, is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1990s Bosnian war, as well as his role in the Srebrenica genocide.

The president of the former self-proclaimed Serb republic failed to plead at the start of his marathon trial so a "not guilty" plea was entered on his behalf.

Almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred and their bodies were dumped in mass graves after Serbian forces overran the UN protected enclave of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia in July 1995.

The genocide is deemed one of the bloodiest crimes committed on European soil since World War II.

Karadzic denied claims.

Prosecutors have said life behind bars “would be the only appropriate sentence.”

Karadzic, late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and Serb general Ratko Mladic acted together to cleanse Bosnia’s Muslims from their territories after the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, the prosecution claimed.

Milosevic died mid-way through his trial in March 2006 and Karadzic’s military alter ego Mladic went on trial in May 2012.

Karadzic is facing charge related to sniping and shelling committed in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, which ended in November 1995 by which time 10,000 people had been killed.

A verdict in the Mladic case is not expected until 2017.