Appeals Chamber sentences Karadzic to life imprisonment

The Appeals Chamber of the Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague has sentenced Radovan Karadzic to life imprisonment.

Source: B92, RTS, Tanjug, Prva TV
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(EPA-EFE)
(EPA-EFE)

The appeals verdict rendered on Wednesday changes the first-instance verdict, that in Match 2016 sentenced the first president of the Serb Republic (RS) to 40 years in prison.

Although the Appeals Chamber rejected most of the arguments made by the prosecution and the defense, the judges, led by Denmark's Vagn Prusse Joensen, found that the 40-year sentence was not adequate.

Karadzic was today once again convicted on 10 out of the indictment's 11 counts.

The Appeals Chamber confirmed that Karadzic was not guilty of genocide against the Muslim (Bosniak) population in seven municipalities of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the period between 1992 and 1995.

"Not optimistic"

Ahead of the final verdict in the trial of former Serb Republic (RS) president Radovan Karadzic, lawyer Toma Fila said that he was "not optimistic."

"By nature, I'm not an optimist. There is a possibility that his sentence will be increased," Fila told TV Prva on Wednesday, speaking about the verdict that was to be delivered later in the day by Appeals Chamber of the Residual Mechanism in The Hague.

On March 24, 2016, Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison in the first instance ruling, but the decision was appealed both by the prosecution and by the defense. He was at the time found guilty on 10 out of 11 counts of the indictment.

Fila specified that Karadzic had been indicted on one count of genocide, five counts of crime against humanity, four counts related to violations of the rules and customs of war and three concerning joint criminal enterprise. He also stood accused of responsibility for the shelling of Sarajevo, expulsion of the population from Srebrenica, and taking of hostages.

Fila remarked that Karadzic was found guilty on all but one crucial count - genocide in the municipalities of Bratunac, Brcko, Foca, Kljuc, Kotor, Varos, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Visegrad, Vlasenica and Zvornik.

"The only good thing is that (judge) Theodore Meron is not there. The prosecutor's wish was to show that genocide took place not only in Srebrenica. If this issue remains and if the prosecutor succeeds in us being a genocidal people for the entire Bosnia-Herzegovina, the punishment will life in prison," the lawyer stressed.

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