Former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic given 40 years imprisonment

Updated: 2016-03-25 09:59


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Former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic given 40 years imprisonment

Radovan Karadzic appears in court at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands in this July 11, 2013 file photo.[Photo/Agencies]

THE HAGUE -- Radovan Karadzic has been sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) here Thursday.

The former Bosnian Serb president was acquitted of the first count of genocide in several Bosnian municipalities as "there was not sufficient evidence for genocide without reasonable doubt in the municipalities," the judge stated.

Karadzic was found guilty for the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995, in which over 7,000 Muslim men were killed by Bosnian Serb forces.

"As the President of the Republika Srpska and supreme commander of the Bosnian Serb army VRS, the accused was the sole person within the Republika Srpska with the power to intervene to prevent the Bosnian Muslim males from being killed," the judge said.

The trial chamber concluded that Karadzic shared with commander Ratko Mladic and others the intent that every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica be killed, which amounts to the intent to destroy the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica as such.

In addition, Karadzic was found guilty of five counts of crimes against humanity (persecutions, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts) and four counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (murder, terror, unlawful attacks on civilians, taking of hostages).

As a result, the former supreme commander of the Bosnian Serb armed forces and president of the Republika Srpska was held responsible for the deaths of thousands, including the lost lives during the Siege of Sarajevo between April 1992 and November 1995.

Over 150 relatives of victims were present at the ruling with banners to remember the genocide of Srebrenica.

"I am not satisfied," survivor Fikret Alic, whose picture behind barbed wire shocked the world in 1992, said.

Kada Hotic, vice-president of the victims organization "Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves," was also disappointed. "He got a verdict like a normal soldier. I am really hurt by this. I am a mother, lost my only son in Srebrenica, and all my male relatives were killed as well."

Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz, who had demanded life in prison for Karadzic, later said: "Justice has been served. The truth established by this judgment will stand against continuing attempts at denying the suffering of thousands and the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia."

Karadzic himself had hoped for total acquittal and his legal adviser Peter Robinson announced they would appeal the verdict. "President Karadzic was disappointed and astonished by the verdict," Robinson said.