ICTY convicts Karadzic of genocide, hands down 40 year sentence

24 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Thursday convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and nine other counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo, the establishment of a network of detention camps in Prijedor where non-Serbs were abused and tortured and taking UN personnel hostage and many other crimes.

Radovan Karadzic before ICTY
Image caption: 
Radovan Karadzic at the start of his defence case before the ICTY in October 2013 (Photo: Flickr/ICTY)

In the Karadzic case it was always not so much the question whether he would be found guilty but rather to what degree [IJT-190]. A large majority of the crimes charged in the indictment against the former Bosnian Serb leader had already been ruled upon in over twenty cases before the ICTY where Karadzic's military and political allies have already been found guilty.

The central question of Karadzic's trial was how he himself could be linked to those crimes. During the trial prosecutors tried to paint him as the “pre-eminent political and military leader of the Bosnian Serbs” who “spearheaded the criminal plan to permanently forcible remove” Bosnian Muslims and Croats from areas of Bosnia deemed Serb territory.

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