Radovan Karadzic sentenced to life imprisonment


A UN tribunal sentenced Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to life in prison, Judge Vagn Joensen confirmed on Wednesday, increasing the 40-year first-instance verdict for genocide and other crimes committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Judge Joensen of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) said Karadzic was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and breaching the laws and customs of war.

The former President of wartime Republika Srpska (RS), now a Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia, was intially sentenced on March 24, 2016, to 40 years in prison by the now-closed International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

He was convicted of various crimes against humanity, including the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats, the siege of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica genocide and taking the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) hostages during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

He was acquitted of genocide charged in other municipalities in Bosnia.

Karadzic's defence team said following the first-instance verdict that the initial trial was unfair and called for a re-trial, which was rejected. Karadzic also personally addressed the Court, describing the crimes he was convicted of as a “myth.”

Both Karadzic and the prosecution appealed the 2016 judgement. 

The initial indictment against Karadzic was confirmed on July 25, 1995. He was arrested in Serbia on July 21, 2008, and transferred to the ICTY a few days later. The 499-day long trial commenced on October 26, 2009, and 586 in-court testimonies were heard by the Trial Chamber.