The government of Bosnia's Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity is not ready to discuss the announced initiative of associations of families of victims of war in Bosnia who said they would seek compensations from the RS, after the court sentenced former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to life in prison, said the RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic.
"This has nothing to do with the RS because that was an individual verdict to a man who happened to be the RS President," Viskovic said in the northern-Bosnian city of Banja Luka, the entity's administrative centre. "This isn't a verdict against the RS, and therefore we're not interested in such initiatives."
Former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was sentenced to life in prison by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) which confirmed his involvement in the Srebrenica genocide which claimed the lives of some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys from the area of the eastern town of Srebrenica. The Court also found that Karadzic was involved in crimes against humanity that were committed across Bosnia, the four-year siege of Bosnia's capital – Sarajevo and four joint criminal enterprises.
Speaking to N1, a renowned attorney Vasvija Vidovic said that this verdict would definitely have political implications for this entity, should their threats of secession come true.
"Should their threats come true, the states which would consider their recognition would have to consider the facts from the verdict," Vidovic said.
Not only that, she added that "victims mentioned in the verdict now have the opportunity to sue the entity for damage compensation.”
Speaking to N1's Amir Zukic, experts from Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia also agreed that war victims now have a chance to sue the RS and that they should seek compensations.
"Every person whose family member was mentioned in the ruling against Karadzic by name and surname must receive compensations from the RS as an entity," said Croatian lawyer Anto Nobilo, adding that in this way Republika Srpska could distance itself from the committed crimes.
Serbian sociologist, genocide researcher and writer, Janja Bec Neumann, agreed, saying that "this must be sought."
"It would send a message - if you want to destroy, burn and rape in the name of whatever, you will have to pay for it," she said.
According to Mirsad Tokaca, the Director of the Research and Documentation Centre in Sarajevo, initiating such a move would "contribute to admitting the crimes and to the rehabilitation of victims as much as possible."
According to the RS Prime Minister, such initiatives were mentioned before when associations said they would sue Serbia for its involvement in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) charged Karadzic and former Bosnian Serb army general Ratko Mladic in 1995 with crimes against humanity, violations of laws of war, grave violations of Geneva Conventions and unlawful transfer of civilians on religious and national grounds.
The ICTY sentenced Karadzic to 40 years in prison in 2016 for crimes against humanity, including the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats, the siege of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica genocide and for taking UN peacekeepers hostage. He was acquitted of genocide in other municipalities in Bosnia.
Both Karadzic and the prosecution appealed the 2016 judgement.
But the IRMCT, the court which took over the unfinished job of the ICTY once it closed its doors in 2017, handed down the final ruling, on Wednesday.