Radovan Karadzic Sentenced to Life in Prison
Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic has had his sentenced increased from 40 years in prison to life in prison
Photo AP/Peter Dejong
Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic was found guilty in 2016 of committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. Over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, mostly men and boys, were killed over just several days in the Bosnian city. At the time, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Karadzic appealed the verdict and a UN judicial tribunal not only rejected his appeal but increased the sentence to life in prison. The rationale was that lower level people were given life sentences while the leader of the war effort was not.
Karadzic, who is now 73, would most likely have died in prison without the increase in his sentencing. However, the increase to life is a moral victory for the survivors of the Srebrenica massacre as well as all Bosnian Muslims.
While he was the political leader of the breakaway area of Republika Srpska in Bosnia, he orchestrated a war that lasted from 1992 to 1995 that killed more than 100,000 people. He was the main perpetrator behind the siege of Sarajevo which lasted for over 1,400 days.
After NATO bombing in 1995 broke the siege and eventually lead to the Dayton Accords in 1996 which officially ended the war, Karadzic fled to Serbia where he avoided capture until he was turned over in 2008 to the criminal court that was trying the people behind the crimes committed during the war. The main impetus for the NATO bombing was the continued attacks on UN peacekeepers in Bosnia by the Serbs.
Karadzic joins former general Ratko Mladic and former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic as the most high profile people convicted for their crimes. Mladic received a life sentence and Milosevic died during his trial before a sentence could be rendered.