The Latest: Views of Bosnia war crimes case vary within govt
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on a U.N. court’s decision on the conviction and sentencing of ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic (all times local):
The Muslim member of Bosnia’s multi-ethnic presidency says former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic “got the punishment he deserved” from United Nations judges who upgraded his sentence for war crimes to life in prison.
Sefik Dzaferovic said the people who suffered under Karadzic during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war “can be satisfied with this” after waiting so long for justice.
Dzaferovic described Karadzic on Wednesday as “one of the architects and leaders of the joint criminal enterprise which resulted in genocide and crimes against humanity.”
Bosnia’s presidency also includes a Croat and a Serb member. The Serb member, Milorad Dodik, called the U.N. judges’ decision “arrogant and cynical.” Dodik says Serbs in Bosnia consider the judges biased against Serbs.
He says the Yugoslav war crimes court was designed to build trust among Bosnia’s former war foes, but has instead driven them further apart.
A lawyer for Radovan Karadzic says a United Nation court’s decision to sentence the wartime Bosnian leader to life imprisonment is “shameful.”
Goran Petronijevic told Bosnia’s N1 television news channel on Wednesday that “this is purely a political decision not based on law.”
Petronijevic says “this judgment won’t help reconciliation in Bosnia” between Bosnian Muslims and Serbs after the 1992-95 war that left more than 100,000 dead and millions homeless.
Petronijevic alleged the appeals ruling by judges in The Hague resulted from alleged Western pressure to go against the Bosnian Serb mini state, called Republika Srbska.
The judges on Wednesday increased Karadzic’s original 40-year prison sentence to life.
The prime minister of Bosnia’s Serb entity has criticized a United Nations war crimes court for upholding the conviction of wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and increasing his sentence to life imprisonment.
Republika Srpska Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic on Wednesday described the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, as a political court. He said while appearing on public broadcast channel RTRS TV that “no one has been held responsible for the crimes against Serbs.”
Many Serbs consider The Hague tribunal as anti-Serb in its handling of cases from Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, which killed 100,000 people and left millions homeless.
The Serb Democratic Party, which was founded and led by Karadzic during the war, said that Hague court’s only goal was “vilification of the Serb people.”
The party says Wednesday’s verdict is “baseless and scandalously unjust.”
Holding photos of dead loved ones, relatives of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia cried out and applauded as United Nations judges increased former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic’s sentence to life imprisonment.
People gathered in a memorial center in Srebrenica watched a delayed TV broadcast of the decision being delivered Wednesday at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
Similar scenes were seen in Sarajevo City Hall, which was destroyed during the Bosnian war by Serb shelling and rebuilt. Some 500 people watched the proceedings from The Hague on a large screen.
Karadzic has been convicted of genocide for the 1995 killing of 8,000 Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica. He was also convicted of other war crimes committed during the 1992-95 war that killed some 100,000 people.
The appeals judges ruled that the 40-year prison sentence Karadzic received in 2016 wasn’t adequate.
A lawyer for former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic says his client feels a “moral responsibility” for war crimes committed during a 1992-95 armed conflict but does not agree with an international war crimes court that he bears “an individual criminal responsibility.”
Defense lawyer Peter Robinson spoke Wednesday after United Nations appeals judges upheld Karadzic’s convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as leader of Bosnian Serbs during the war.
The panel also increased Karadzic’s prison sentence from 40 years to life.
Robinson says Karadzic “asks that his supporters not engage in any violence.”
The former Bosnian Serb leader’s case has been considered key to delivering justice for the victims of the Bosnian war, which left over 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.
United Nations appeals judges have upheld the convictions of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and increased his sentence from 40 years to life imprisonment.
Karadzic showed almost no reaction as presiding judge Vagn Joensen of Denmark read out a damning judgment Wednesday that means the 73-year-old former Bosnian strongman will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Joensen said the trial chamber was wrong to impose just a 40-year sentence given what he called the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of his crimes.
Applause broke out in the public gallery as Joensen passed the new sentence.
Separately, the judges rejected a prosecution appeal against Karadzic’s acquittal on a second count of genocide in the same war.
Dozens of survivors and relatives of the victims from Bosnia’s 1992-95 war have gathered to watch the broadcast of the final ruling at a U.N. court in the genocide and war crimes case against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
A screen has been set up in the memorial center in Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serb troops killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995, in what international courts say was genocide.
Karadzic has appealed his 2016 conviction on genocide charges and a 40-year prison sentence, and judges of the Yugoslav war crimes court are delivering their ruling on his appeal on Wednesday. The judges are also set to rule on whether Karadzic should have been acquitted of a second count of genocide.
Survivors and Bosnian citizens have also gathered in the capital, Sarajevo, to watch the delayed broadcast from the Netherlands.
The ruling is considered key for delivering justice in Bosnia.
A hearing is underway at a United Nations court where judges will hand down their decisions in the appeal by former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic against his convictions and 40-year sentence for masterminding atrocities in his country’s devastating 1992-95 war.
Karadzic appealed his 2016 convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as his sentence. The judges are also set to rule on whether Karadzic should have been acquitted of a second count of genocide.
Karadzic, wearing a dark suit and red tie, was led into court by U.N. guards, before confirming to the presiding judge that he could follow the proceedings in a language he understood at the start of the hearing at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
United Nations judges are set to hand down their decisions in the appeal by former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic against his convictions and 40-year sentence for masterminding atrocities in his country’s devastating 1992-95 war.
Karadzic appealed his 2016 convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as his sentence. Prosecutors appealed his acquittal on a second count of genocide during Europe’s bloodiest conflict since World War II.
Relatives of victims of the war gathered outside the courtroom Wednesday ahead of the hearing that will announce the decisions.
Karadzic is one of the most senior figures tried by the Hague war crimes court. His case is considered as key in delivering justice for the victims of the conflict, which left over 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.