Radovan Karadzic gets 40 years for genocide

25 Mar 2016 | Written by Gaurav ; Edited by Vaneet Randhawa

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was convicted of genocide and nine other charges at a UN court, and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal found Karadzic guilty of orchestrating Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war that left 100,000 people dead.

However, the 70-year-old Karadzic insisted he was innocent and said his actions were intended to protect Serbs.

In context: The Bosnia war and genocide

Introduction Who is Radovan Karadzic?

Radovan Karadzic is a former Bosnian Serb politician and convicted war criminal who served as the President of Republika Srpska (Republic of Serbia) during the Bosnian War.

He cofounded the Serb Democratic Party in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1989.

He was a fugitive from 1996 to 2008 after being indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Backdrop Precursors to the genocide: Yugoslavia

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, formed at the end of WW2, comprised of Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia.

Numerous ethnic groups including Orthodox Christian Serbs, Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats, and Muslim ethnic Albanians made up the population.

President Josip Broz Tito came to power in 1943 and ruled with an iron fist, quelling ethnic tensions to create a unified Yugoslav identity.

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Tito diesThe fall of the Republic of Yugoslavia

In 1980, after the death of President Tito, various ethnic groups and republics inside Yugoslavia sought independence from the Republic of Yugoslavia.

Serb nationalism grew as Slobodan Milosevic rose to power in 1987.

Milosevic made changes to the constitution favoring Serbs, creating a military that was 90% Serbian.

He armed separatists in Bosnia and Croatia and stoked ethnic tensions between Serbs and other minorities.

Fragmentation The fragmentation of Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia began to collapse in June 1991 when the republics of Slovenia and Croatia declared independence.

The Serb-dominated Yugoslav army lashed out, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia, killing thousands of civilians, in an attempt to stop the secession.

Bosnia was to follow suit.

Under Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serbs threatened bloodshed if Bosnia's Muslims and Croats were to secede.

Bosnia Bosnian Serbs lash out, carve independent state

In retaliation to the Muslim and Croat calls for independence, the Yugoslav Army, now renamed the Bosnian Serb Army lashed out aginst minorities in the region.

They went on a military campaign bombing regions inhabited by other minority groups, killing thousands of civilians.

UN peacekeeping forces were called to control the situation, but were unable.

In 1995, NATO bombed Bosnian forces, ending the war.

Serbia, Bosnia independent

A US-brokered peace divided Bosnia into two self-governing entities, a Bosnian Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation lightly bound by a central government. Croatia and Bosnia were fully independent.
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25 Mar 2016Radovan Karadzic gets 40 years for genocide

26 Mar 2016Serbia, Russia call UN justice 'politicised'

Serbian justice minister Nikola Selakovic criticised the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague for doling out "selective" justice, as Serbia protested against the conviction of the wartime Bosnian Serb leader- Radovan Karadzic.

The Serbian protest was backed by Serbia's ally, Russia.

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Gennady Gatilov, also blamed UN war crimes judges of prejudice and called the Karadzic verdict "politicised".