Residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have positively accepted the appeals chamber at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNIRMCT) decision to sentence former war commander Radovan Karadzic to life imprisonment on Wednesday.
During the public live streaming of the verdict held in the City Hall in Sarajevo in front of some 200 people, former war victims, politicians and residents of Sarajevo expressed their satisfaction after Karadzic was found guilty of civilians’ mass killings during 1992-1995 country’s war.
The former Bosnian Serb leader was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995, in which over 7,000 Muslim men were killed by Bosnian Serb forces.
In addition, Karadzic was found guilty on five counts of crimes against humanity (persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts) and four counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (murder, terror, unlawful attacks on civilians, taking of hostages).
Member of BiH’s Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic addressed the public after the verdict, saying that Karadzic has received a punishment and that victims can be satisfied by the verdict.
He added that the verdict is a strong message that everyone in BiH and the region need to build the trust and should confront the truth.
Senida Karovic, a war victim, and a member of the Association of civilian war victims in Canton Sarajevo said after the verdict that she is glad that Karadzic was sentenced to life imprisonment.
“I am glad that justice has been satisfactorily fulfilled, that he has received lifelong imprisonment and that he has been convicted for terrorizing and killing of civilians in Sarajevo, “Karovic said.
For Amor Masovic, the Chairman of the Bosnian Federal Commission for Missing Persons, pronounced punishment is the only right, fair and accurate for all the offenses Karadzic was convicted of.
Masovic added that this verdict could be historic if it starts some other things for stabilization in these areas.
For Eldiha Selimovic, a survivor of genocide in Srebrenica, life long imprisonment for Karadzic brought her relief, adding that she was happy after the verdict was pronounced.
“Finally, the world, at least partially, admitted what happened here. However, in order for justice to be met, it is necessary to have much more than the prison. Unfortunately, our dearest ones cannot be returned, but it is important for for future generations not to feel the horrors of war,” Selimovic said.
The other Presidency member Zeljko Komsic stated that the verdict is a minimum of justice for all victims, but that unfortunately, this verdict will not compensate for all the pain and trauma that victims survived, but it is a partial satisfaction.
Karadzic, who was a founding member of the Serbian Democratic Party and, from Dec.17, 1992, served as President of Republika Srpska, one of the entities in BiH, and Supreme Commander of its armed forces, was sentenced to 40-year imprisonment in 2016.
Karadzic’s trial began in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 2009, lasted 499 days, during which 586 witnesses were heard.
(Source: Sarajevo Times, photo Fena)