Former Bosnian Serb Leader Found Guilty of Genocide, Sentenced to 40 Years

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Forrmer Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was found guilty Thursday of genocide in the 44-month siege of Sarajevo during the 1990s, and nine other war crimes.

Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys died during the siege in Srebrenica in 1995, making it the worst war atrocity in Europe since World War II. Karadzic, 70, was sentenced to 40 years in prison. The court deliberated a year after a trial that lasted nearly 500 days, according to the New York Times.

Karadzic was tried before a United Nations war crimes tribunal in Europe and faced 11 charges.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said Karadzic is criminally responsible for murder, attacking civilians and terror for overseeing the deadly siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, during the country’s war. Earlier in the day, U.N. judges acquitted him of another charge of genocide in Bosnian towns.

The former psychologist and poet was the most senior Bosnian Serb leader to face trial for atrocities that occurred during the 1992-1995 war.

To the end, Karadzic insisted he was innocent and only intending to protect Serbs. His was among the most famous war trials since the Nuremberg trials of former Nazi leaders after World War II.

The genocide in Bosnia ultimately led the Clinton Administration to push for the Dayton peace accords of 1995. The Associated Press characterized the Karadzic trial as one of the last cases for the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal that was set up in 1983 and indicted 161 suspects, 80 of whom were convicted and sentenced. Eighteen more were acquitted, 13 were sent to local courts and indictments were withdrawn for 36 others, AP reported.

Former Serb Leader Slobodan Milosevic, 64, died in his prison cell in 2006 before verdicts could be delivered in a case where he was accused of orchestrating a decade of conflict in the region that left 250,000 dead.

Contributing: The Associated Press

SOURCE: Gregg Zoroya
USA TODAY