Europe

Karadzic responsible for Sarajevo war crimes

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Media captionBen Brown explains why bringing Karadzic to justice has taken so long

UN judges have found Bosnian Serb ex-leader Radovan Karadzic responsible for a campaign of terror in the city of Sarajevo in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

They said Mr Karadzic significantly contributed to a plan which left nearly 12,000 dead in the city in a bombardment that targeted civilians.

The court ruled that he was responsible for crimes against humanity in other municipalities, but not genocide.

Judges are continuing to delivering their verdict on other charges.

Mr Karadzic, 70, faces multiple counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

He is the most senior political figure to face judgement over the violent collapse of Yugoslavia.

His case is being seen as one of the most important war crimes trials since World War Two. He denies the charges.

Mr Karadzic argues that any atrocities committed were the actions of rogue individuals, not the forces under his command.

Karadzic verdict vital to Bosnia's future

Balkans war: a brief guide

Profile: Radovan Karadzic

He faces 11 separate charges, including genocide, extermination, forced removal, and crimes against humanity.

His trial, in which he has represented himself, has lasted eight years.

At least 100,000 people died during fighting in the the Bosnian war. The conflict lasted nearly four years before a US-brokered peace deal brought it to an end in 1995.

Gen Ratko Mladic, who commanded Bosnian Serb forces, is also awaiting verdict at The Hague.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Karadzic faces 11 separate charges, including genocide, extermination, forced removal, and crimes against humanity

Radovan Karadzic is accused of presiding over a reign of terror in Bosnia that lasted 1,000 days.

The prosecution's most difficult task has been to draw a direct line of culpability from the men who committed crimes on the ground to Mr Karadzic in person, the BBC's Allan Little reports.

He is being tried by a war crimes court established by a UN Security Council resolution in 1993.

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Media captionConcentration camp survivor Kemal Pervanic: "Karadzic destroyed our community - it's going to take many generations to recreate it"

Mr Karadzic is also accused of orchestrating a campaign known as "ethnic cleansing" of non-Serbs from the territory of the breakaway Bosnian Serb republic.

From April 1992 onwards, in northern and eastern Bosnia especially, Bosnian Serb forces carried out a campaign of forced removals. in which hundreds of thousands of non-Serbs were driven from their homes which were often torched or dynamited.

Our correspondent says that Bosnian Serb political and military leaders were absolutely open in their determination to dismember Bosnia.

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Image caption The former Bosnian Serb leader evaded capture by posing as a doctor of alternative medicines (left) in Belgrade after dropping out of public life in the mid-1990s

They saw it as an illegitimate state and an affront to the sovereignty of the Serbian nation, he says.

The campaign of ethnic cleansing culminated in July 1995 in the massacre at Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia.

The enclave had been besieged by Bosnian Serb forces for three years, and many had died on both sides in the fighting.

When Srebrenica was overrun, 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered in the space of a few days, and their bodies dumped in mass graves.

The massacre resulted in Nato forces, led by the US, intervening decisively to bring the war to an end with an aerial bombing campaign.

For most of the next 13 years, Radovan Karadzic was on the run before being arrested in Belgrade in 2008 disguised as "Dr Dragan Dabic", an alternative health guru living openly in the Serbian capital.


Image copyright AP
Image caption Radovan Karadzic in August 1995

Karadzic Timeline

  • 1945: Born in Montenegro
  • 1960: Moves to Sarajevo
  • 1968: Publishes collection of poetry
  • 1971: Graduates in medicine
  • 1983: Becomes team psychologist for Red Star Belgrade football club
  • 1990: Becomes president of Serbian Democratic Party
  • 1990s Political leader of Bosnian Serbs
  • 2008: Arrested in Serbia
  • 2009: Trial begins at The Hague

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