The war crimes charges against Karadzic

2008-07-23 08:27:24 GMT       2008-07-23 16:27:24 (Beijing Time)

Radovan Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb leader who was arrested on Monday, faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes before the United Nations tribunal in The Hague.

Karadzic has been on the run from international justice since July 1995 when he was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) together with his military commander Ratko Mladic, who is still at large.

The indictment against Karadzic details his role in the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, the bloodiest of the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s which left over 200,000 people dead.

In particular, court documents highlight the Bosnian Serb leader's alleged responsibility for the siege of Sarajevo, and a campaign of ethnic cleansing and extermination throughout Bosnia.

The genocide charges, the gravest of war crimes, specifically mention the establishment of camps and detention centres for Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims.

Thousands of people were held in horrific living conditions in the camps run by Bosnian Serbs at the start of the 1992-95 war. In the northwestern municipality of Prijedor alone over 1,500 people died in the notorious Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps.

Conditions in the camps were "calculated to bring about physical destruction", detainees were subjected to "physical and mental abuse" and were fed "starvation rations", the prosecution has said.

In July 1995 Serb troops overran the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the deadliest single bloodbath in Europe since World War II.

Karadzic "initiated and implemented a course of conduct which included the creation of impossible conditions of life, involving persecutions and terror tactics that would have the effect of encouraging non-Serbs to leave those areas; the deportation of those reluctant to leave; and the liquidation of others," the indictment reads.

In April Bosnian Serb general Radislav Krstic, who led one of the army units involved in the massacres, became the first person to be convicted on appeal of aiding and abetting genocide by the tribunal for the Srebrenica massacre.

In all, Karadzic faces 11 charges also including extermination, murder, persecutions, deportation, unlawfully inflicting terror upon civilians and the taking of hostages.

Karadzic "planned, ordered, instigated or otherwise aided and abetted" these atrocities and "failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators," the prosecution charges.

For 44 months, Bosnian Serb forces under Karadzic's control "used shelling and sniping to kill, maim, wound and terrorise the civilian inhabitants of Sarajevo".

The indictment cites a number of targets: "civilians queuing for bread, playing football or simply walking with their children or friends".


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