Former Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic Guilty of Genocide

 

The former leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, was found guilty of genocide and other war crimes committed during the war in Bosnia in the 1990s. Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison by the International Tribunal for War Crimes in Former Yugoslavia.  The trial, which lasted for six years, was carried out at The Hague, Netherlands.

Nicknamed the Butcher of Bosnia, Karadzic was found responsible for the murder of over 8,000 men and boys in what has been called the massacre of Srebrenica in 1995. The genocide was the worst war crime since World War II. In his closing statement, the judge said that Karadzic was also responsible for the siege of Sarajevo and other war crimes, including ethnic cleansing in large parts of Bosnia.

Violence in the Balkans erupted in the 1990s after Yugoslavia broke apart. Over 100,000 Serbs, Croats and Muslims died in several conflicts that lasted a decade.

Karadzic became one of the most wanted criminals of the Balkan wars. After years of escaping justice , he was finally captured in 2008 and brought to The Hague.

Radovan Karadzic was not only the political leader but also the top army commander of the Bosnian Serbs. During his trial, Karadzic denied the charges that were brought up against him. He stated that he acted in the interests of the Serb population in Bosnia.  In some Serb areas of Bosnia Karadzic still has many supporters.

 

Several families of war victims followed the trial and were relieved when the verdict was announced. Karadzic himself showed no emotion and announced that he would appeal .

The trial was important for the reputation of the International War Tribunal. Three criminals are still on trial at The Hague, including General Ratko Mladic, the military chief of Serb forces during the war.

 

Radovan Karadzic

Radovan Karadzic in Moscow in 1994 - Image: Mikhail Evstafiev

 

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Words

  • announce = to say officially, in front of many people
  • appeal = to go to a higher court
  • bring up = introduce
  • capture = to take someone as a prisoner
  • carry out = take place
  • charges = a formal statement saying that someone has committed a crime
  • chief = boss; highest ranking person
  • closing = here: at the end of the trial
  • commander = officer at the head of an army
  • commit = carry out
  • decade = ten years
  • deny = to say you didn't do something
  • erupt = break out
  • escape = get away from, avoid
  • ethnic cleansing = a leading group of people tries to remove another cultural group  from a country or region through violence
  • forces = army
  • former = in the past
  • genocide = murder of a whole group of people, especially those belonging to a certain race or religion
  • guilty = responsible for breaking a law or doing something illegal
  • including = also
  • judge = person who is in charge of a trial in court
  • justice = the system of laws that punishes people if they have done something wrong
  • nickname = another name you call someone
  • population = the people of a country
  • relieve = to be glad
  • reputation = the opinion that people have about something
  • responsible = to be the person who caused something to happen
  • sentence = punishment you get from a judge or court after a trial
  • siege = when you surround a place and try to defeat those who want to defend it
  • state = to say officially
  • statement = here: an official opinion
  • supporter = person who likes someone and wants to help them
  • trial = event in a courtroom when you try to prove if a person is guilty or not
  • tribunal = special group of people who are chosen to examine special crimes
  • verdict = decision at the end of a trial
  • victim = here: person who was killed
  • violence = action that hurts or kills people