Karadzic's message: The tribunal's decision is a 'barren revenge'

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Source: Peter Dejong/Pool via REUTERS

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, whom a UN's court sentenced on Wednesday for the war crimes from the early 1990s, said in the aftermath of the final verdict that it was actually him and the Serb people who already won.

In a statement for RTRS, the public broadcaster in Bosnia's Serb-dominated region Republika Srpska (RS), Karadzic's attorney read a message that his client wrote after the appeal judges handed down the final verdict in this case.

“The sacrifice I make is much less than what others did. Thousands of young men had built (Republika) Srpske with their lives. The many are post-war disabled veterans, while the mothers whose sons, often only sons, gave their lives for the freedom of the Serb people made the biggest sacrifice. Those are the true victims,” Karadzic said.

In the final judgement pronouncement, the wartime Bosnian Serb leader was sentenced to life in prison, for the role he played in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

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The judges upheld the first-instance verdict from 2016, rejecting almost all appeals that Karadzic's defence submitted and increasing the final sentence to life in prison.

For Karadzic, the Hague tribunal's decision was a “barren revenge” that can do no harm to him, “an old man.”

“We did not surrender at the hardest times, and even in prison I won't stop fighting for the truth about our just battle in the war that was imposed on us and in which all three peoples were killed,” Karadzic wrote in his post-sentence letter.

The first President of the then Republika Srpska, which is now a semi-autonomous part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said this battle was just.

“We justly fought for the freedom and equality of the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because of that, let's always and in all occasions show dignity, not hate others and let's proudly keep what is above all of us – Republika Srpska,” he added.