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From Bad to Worse for 'Butcher of Bosnia'

Radovan Karadzic's sentence for genocide, war crimes increased on appeal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2019 12:13 PM CDT
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic enters the courtroom of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)
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(Newser) – The "Butcher of Bosnia" might be kicking himself over his go at an appeal. UN appeals judges on Wednesday upheld the convictions of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and increased his sentence from 40 years to life imprisonment, reports the AP. Karadzic showed almost no reaction as presiding judge Vagn Joensen of Denmark read out a damning judgment, which means the 73-year-old former Bosnian strongman will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. Karadzic had appealed his 2016 convictions as well as his sentence for masterminding atrocities in his country's devastating 1992-95 war—Europe's bloodiest conflict since World War II—which included the slaughter by Serb forces of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

Karadzic is one of the most senior figures tried by the Hague war crimes court. His case is considered as key in delivering justice for the victims of the conflict, which left over 100,000 people dead and millions homeless. Joensen said the trial chamber was wrong to impose just a 40-year sentence given what he called the "sheer scale and systematic cruelty" of Karadzic's crimes. Applause broke out in the public gallery as Joensen passed the new sentence. Families of victims who traveled to the Hague welcomed the verdict. Mothers of victims, some elderly and walking with canes, wept with apparent relief after watching the ruling read on a screen in Srebrenica. Prosecutors had appealed Karadzic's acquittal on a second count of genocide. Judges on Wednesday rejected that appeal. (Wartime commander Ratko Mladic is awaiting an appeal judgment on his genocide conviction.)


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