Families of the victims of the 1992-95 Bosnian war expect that Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serb leader of that time, will be sentenced to a life sentence on Wednesday when the final judgement pronouncement is set to take place in the Courtroom I of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
“We expect the criminal Karadzic to get a life in prison sentence, not for the genocide in Srebrenica only but in other municipalities too, because his forces and the police committed genocide in all municipalities. We all know that Radovan Karadzic was supreme commander, that he was ordering and commanding both army and police, and that the court's ruling confirmed that the army and the police committed the genocide in Srebrenica,” said Munira Subasic, chairwoman of an association representing the victims’ families in the eastern town of Srebrenica.
Subasic and other families gathered in The Hague today, to hear the final sentence in this case.
Radovan Karadzic, former President of wartime Republika Srpska (RS), now a Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia, was sentenced on March 24, 2016, to 40 years in prison by the now-closed International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
On Wednesday, he is to face the final verdict.
Karadzic was convicted of various crimes against humanity, including the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats, the siege of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica genocide and taking the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) hostages during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
He was acquitted of genocide charged in other municipalities in Bosnia, including Prijedor, in the first-instance procedure.
“He didn't cause pain to us only, the mothers who have been suffering for the past 24 years, the Bosniak women, but to the Croat and the Serb mothers too. Our suffering will not end as long as we live,” Subasic told N1.
Among the families who arrived in The Hague is Fikret Grabovica, who lost his daughter in shelling on March 20, 1993, in besieged Sarajevo.
“A deserving sentence and what I expect is a lifetime sentence, the confirmation of all the crimes from the first-instance verdict. We expect the punishment for genocide in other municipalities, especially in Prijedor,” said Grabovica, who heads an association of parents of the children killed during the siege of Sarajevo.
Bakira Hasecic, chairperson of ‘Woman – the victim of war’ association hopes the justice will take the victory today.
According to her, it “doesn't matter how many years he will be sentenced to but what the judgement will say.”
“I hope and I still believe that the justice will win, that the final verdict will find him guilty of genocide in those other six municipalities, although we know that genocide was committed across Bosnia and Herzegovina,” she said for N1.
The initial indictment against Karadzic was confirmed on July 25, 1995. He was arrested in Serbia on July 21, 2008, and transferred to the ICTY a few days later. The 499-day-long trial commenced on October 26, 2009, and 586 in-court testimonies were heard by the Trial Chamber.