Former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic to appeal war crimes conviction

by Reuters
Monday, 23 April 2018 01:00 GMT

By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE, April 23 (Reuters) - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will take the courtroom floor again on Monday when he contests his conviction for genocide and a 40-year prison sentence before U.N. appeals judges.

Karadzic was convicted in 2016 for some of the worst war crimes committed as the former Yugoslavia broke apart, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Now 72, Karadzic was found guilty on 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia he oversaw as the president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb Republic.

He has filed 50 grounds of appeal in an effort to overturn his conviction and sentence. Acting as his own lawyer, with help of legal counsel, he has asked for the entire judgement to be reversed and for a "new and fair trial" to be ordered.

His conviction was handed down by U.N. judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) which said he was "at the apex of power" of the Bosnian Serb military and political hierarchy when atrocities were committed by his troops.

It was the last major verdict at the ICTY, which closed at the end of 2017.

The two-day appeals hearing will be held at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), which is handling outstanding U.N. war crimes cases for the Balkans and Rwanda.

After Karadzic has presented his appeal on Monday, prosecutors are due to speak on Tuesday. A verdict is expected by the end of the year.

The prosecutors will appeal Karadzic's acquittal on a second count of genocide in various towns across Bosnia during the war of the 1990s. They will seek a life sentence.

In their verdict, judges said the 44-month siege of Sarajevo could not have happened without Karadzic; that he committed crimes against humanity in an attempt to purge Muslims and Croats from parts of Bosnia; and that he had intended to eliminate the Bosnian Muslim males of the town of Srebrenica. (Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; editing by Anthony Deutsch and Gareth Jones)

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