A United Nations war crimes court convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide and nine other charges yesterday for being the mastermind behind a campaign of terror that left 100,000 people dead during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, the worst war in Europe since the second world war.
Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in Serb crimes that included the Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in Europe’s worst mass murder since the Holocaust, and for directing the nearly four-year siege of Sarajevo.
In pronouncing the verdict, presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said Karadzic and his military commander, General Ratko Mladic, intended “that every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica be killed.”
Karadzic, the judge said, was the only person in the Bosnian Serb leadership with the power to stop the genocide, but instead gave an order for prisoners to be transported from one location to another to be killed.
In the carefully planned 1995 operation, Serb forces moved Muslim men and boys to sites around the Srebrenica area in eastern Bosnia and gunned them down before dumping their bodies into mass graves.
Upon hearing the sentence, the 70-year-old Karadzic slumped slightly in his chair, but otherwise showed little emotion. He plans to appeal the convictions.