The Former Bosnian Serb Leader Karadžić Found Guilty of Genocide & Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison, as ICTY Sentences Former Bosnian Serb Leader to 40 Years in Prison, United Nations (UN) judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague on March 24, 2016, found former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžićguilty on 10 of 11 charges, including responsibility for genocide committed in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, in which Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) boys and men. That incident is generally regarded as the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, and Karadžić’s trial is viewed as among the most important war crimes proceedings in the same period. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, though he may appeal the ruling.
Karadžić’s actions took place during the Bosnian conflict of 1992–95, in which rival armies representing Bosnia and Herzegovina’s principal ethnic groups—Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks—as well as the Yugoslav army, battled in the wake of the breakup of federal Yugoslavia. The war was finally settled by the Dayton Accordsof November 21, 1995, after intervention by NATO forces.
In addition to his conviction on the Srebrenica genocide charge, Karadžić was found guilty of five counts of crimes against humanity and four war crimes, including deporting civilians, taking UN peacekeepers hostage, murder, attacking civilians, and overseeing the devastating and deadly 44-month siege of Sarajevo.
He was not found guilty of a second genocide charge related to an ethnic cleansing campaign in which Bosnian Serb forces drove Bosniaks and Croats out of villages taken by those forces.
The 70-year-old Karadžić, who was trained as a psychiatrist, defended himself in his nearly 500-day trial, calling some 248 witnesses. After more than a decade on the run, he was captured in 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia, where, hidden beneath long hair and a beard and using the alias Dragan Dabić, he openly practiced alternative medicine.
Karadžić is the highest-ranking person to face a verdict before the UN tribunal. Serbian president Slobodan Miloševićdied in his cell before a verdict was reached on charges related to his actions during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Ratko Mladić, the commander of the Bosnian Serb forces, is one of the individuals who remain on trial. Established in 1993, the ICTY has indicted 161 suspects, of whom 80 were convicted, 18 were acquitted, 13 were returned to local jurisdiction, and 36 had their indictments dropped or died.
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