Bosnia marks 15th anniversary of capture of 'Butcher of Bosnia' Karadzic

Bosnia marks 15th anniversary of capture of 'Butcher of Bosnia' Karadzic

Radovan Karadzic was arrested in Serbian capital Belgrade in 2008 after 11 years on the run

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday marked the 15th anniversary of the 2008 capture of ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who was later found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the 1990s war in Bosnia.

In 1992, in a referendum, the voters of Bosnia and Herzegovina cast ballots in favor of independence, and a month later, the EU and US announced their recognition of the state.

But Karadzic, the then-political leader of Bosnian Serbs, launched an ethnic cleansing campaign, triggering a war that led to a catastrophe for Bosniaks.

Karadzic was the commander of Bosnian Serb armed forces between 1992 and 1995, when around 100,000 Bosnians died as the former Yugoslavia descended into ethnic bloodshed.

Karadzic – dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia – was indicted in July 1995 for the shooting of unarmed civilians in Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage. Four months later, he was accused of orchestrating the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys after Serb forces seized the UN’s Srebrenica “safe area” in eastern Bosnia.

Held in prison camps during the Bosnian War, he went on the run after the war for over a decade and was finally arrested in the Serbian capital Belgrade in 2008.

When he was brought before a UN tribunal in The Hague in 2009, he refused to make a statement and declared his innocence through his lawyer.

During his trials, more than 580 witnesses gave testimony of crimes such as murder of Muslims and Croats, and the destruction of private property and mosques across Bosnia.

Karadzic was found guilty on 10 out of 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

He was sentenced to life in prison for genocide, crimes against humanity, and violating the laws and customs of war. An appeal of his 40-year prison sentence was also rejected.

Apart from his genocide conviction, he was also found guilty on five counts of crimes against humanity and four war crimes charges, including taking UN soldiers hostage, exterminating civilians, murder, and attacking soldiers.

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