The only appropriate sentence for Radovan Karadzic and the crimes he was found guilty of would be life in prison, said the first chief prosecutor of the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Richard Goldstone in an exclusive interview for N1.
Goldstone was the prosecutor who pushed through the indictments against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, whose final sentence will be pronounced on Wednesday, and against Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, who is awaiting the appeal judgement – both before the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the ICTY's successor.
“For the crimes that Karadzic was found guilty of, I believe the only appropriate sentence is life in prison. A sentence of 40 years, of course, amounts to the same thing. But I think from the victims' point of view there is a psychological difference between 40 years and life (in prison),” said the former prosecutor.
Asked how important it would be if Karadzic was also convicted of the genocide in several other Bosnian municipalities, not only of the Srebrenica genocide, Goldstone replied that there was too much of “emphasis” put on genocide.
Both Mladic and Karadzic were found guilty of serious war crimes and crimes against humanity, he recalled, which should satisfy most victims.
“I don't believe there's any magic in the name 'genocide'. I wouldn't feel relieved if I was charged with war crimes, it would be no relief to me that I wasn't charged with genocide. It's really a technical question, and it's a question of weighing up the evidence, and for genocide proving the sufficient intent that is required by the definition of genocide,” Goldstone explained his views.