Radovan Karadžić, the former president of Bosnian Serbs, was sentenced to life in prison at an appeals court in The Hague after being found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 2016, Karadžić was found guilty on 10 counts includinggenocide in Srebrenica, persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout BiH, for the terror of the civilian population of Sarajevo during the siege of the city, for holding members of the United Nations peacekeeping force for hostages. At the time he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The appeals court upheld the guilty verdict, increasing his sentence to life in prison. Head judge Vagn Joensen said the judges at the original trial “underestimated the extreme gravity of Karadzic’s responsibility for the most grave crimes committed during the period of conflict, noted for their sheer scale and systematic cruelty.”
Serge Brammertz, the head prosecutor, said in a statement after the verdict:
“This United Nations tribunal has convicted him for his crimes and sentenced him to life imprisonment, sending an important message that justice can prevail over evil. Today, the victims of his crimes finally saw him answer for what he did.Opponents of the Tribunal will claim that this judgment is a verdict against the Serbian people. I reject that in the strongest terms. Karadžić’s guilt is his, not his community’s.Others will say that Karadžić is a hero and was defending his people. This trial has proven the opposite. Karadžić will be remembered by history as a war criminal responsible for horrific human suffering.”
Karadžić, who has been in detention for 11 years, said in a statement through his lawyer Peter Robinson: “Politics triumphed over justice here today. The appeal chamber whitewashed an unfair trial and an unjust judgment.”
Robinson said his client will “continue to fight” against the verdict, urging his supporters to refrain from violence.