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18 February 2016
News

Radovan Karadzic Verdict Set for March 24

Denis Dzidic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague will hand down its verdict in the case against former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic in five weeks’ time.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia announced on Thursday that it will deliver its first-instance verdict in the case against Karadzic on March 24.

The 69-year-old former Bosnian Serb president is charged with masterminding the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in 1995 and in seven Bosnian municipalities in 1992, the persecution of non-Serbs across the country, terrorising the besieged population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Prosecutors have demanded a life sentence.

But in Karadzic’s final statement before the court in October 2014 he admitted that crimes were committed during what he called the “awful” 1992-95 war, but insisted that he never ordered them.

“I am of a clear conscience and a heavy heart, because the war wasn’t what I wanted,” he said.

The prosecution however argued that he was responsible for masterminding genocide, forced expulsions and persecution on a massive scale during the 1992-95 conflict, with the aim of destroying the entire Bosniak community.

“When thousands are killed and thousands are traumatised and detained, most of their homes and places of prayer are destroyed and the rest are displaced across the world, one can clearly define the intention to destroy the community from those acts,” said prosecutor Alan Tieger in his closing arguments.

The trial began in 2009 after Karadzic was arrested in Serbia and handed over to the Hague court following more than a decade on the run.

Since then, nearly 600 witnesses have given testimony, and the judges will also have to consider over 11,000 exhibits and tens of thousands of pages of written evidence.

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