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Karadzic given 40 years for genocide in Balkans conflict

By AP Reporters

Published 25/03/2016

Convicted: Radovan Karadzic
Convicted: Radovan Karadzic

A UN court has convicted Radovan Karadzic of genocide and nine other charges and sentenced him to 40 years in prison for orchestrating Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war that left 100,000 people dead.

As he sat down after hearing his sentence, the former Bosnian Serb leader slumped slightly in his chair, but showed little emotion. He plans to appeal the convictions.

The UN court found Karadzic guilty of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in Europe's worst mass murder since the Holocaust.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said Karadzic was the only person in the Bosnian Serb leadership with the power to halt the genocide, but instead gave an order for prisoners to be transported from one location to another to be killed.

In a carefully planned operation Serb forces transported Muslim men to sites around the Srebrenica enclave in eastern Bosnia and gunned them down before dumping their bodies into mass graves.

Kwon said Karadzic and his military commander, General Ratko Mladic, intended "that every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica be killed".

Karadzic was also held criminally responsible for murder, attacking civilians and terror for overseeing the deadly 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo during the war and for taking hostage UN peacekeepers.

However, the court acquitted Karadzic of a second genocide charge for a campaign to drive Bosnian Muslims and Croats out of villages claimed by Serb forces.

Peter Robinson, part of Karadzic's legal team, said he would appeal.

"Dr Karadzic is disappointed. He's astonished," Mr Robinson told reporters.

"He feels the trial chamber took inference instead of evidence in reaching the conclusions that it did."

Karadzic had faced a total of 11 charges and a maximum life sentence, but was given 40 years' imprisonment.

Prosecutors held Karadzic responsible as a political leader and commander-in-chief of Serb forces in Bosnia, which are blamed for the worst atrocities of the war. The 70-year-old Karadzic had insisted he was innocent and says his wartime actions were intended to protect Serbs.

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