Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Prosecutors before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague are expected to present closing arguments in the years long trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić for eleven counts of war crimes, including genocide charges for his involvement in the massacres of Bosnian Muslims and Ethnic Croats during his reign as the President of the Republika Srpska in the Bosnian war that was waged in the aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Karadžić was a fugitive from justice from 1996 until his arrest in Belgrade in 2008 where shortly thereafter he was extradited to The Netherlands pending charges before the ICTY. He was preceded in trial by Slobodan Milošević, the former President of Serbia but who died prior to the conclusion of his trial. General Ratko Mladić, a Bosnian Serb military official, is also standing before the ICTY for events during the Srebrenica Massacre.
The prosecution expects that if most of the charges result in convictions, Karadžić likely will remain imprisoned for life.
Karadžić is accused of directing atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serbs during the 1992 to 1995 war that claimed one hundred thousand lives. A specific detail is alleged that Karadžić directed the massacre of several thousand Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.
Mr. Karadžić Maintains he is innocent of these charges and is representing himself in the trial.
Deutsche Welle reports, “Under his command and oversight, Karadzic’s subordinates and those cooperating with them expelled, killed, tortured and otherwise mistreated hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Croats,” the prosecutors wrote in their “final trial brief.” The initial paper was submitted to the court in August, with a redacted version published on Friday.
“Should the Chamber find Karadzic responsible for a substantial portion of the crimes … life imprisonment is the only appropriate sentence,” they said. The prosecutors also dismissed most of Karadzic’s defense witnesses as “demonstrably lacking in credibility,” calling much of their testimony “confused, contradictory, vague, evasive and often plainly absurd.”
Additionally, Karadžić is accused of orchestrating the bombing and shelling of Sarajevo during a forty four month siege of the city leaving thousands dead.
Many individuals removed from the area of the former Yugoslavia have mostly a fading memory of the atrocities committed during the conflict during the 1990’s. In fact, the younger generations residing there have fortunately been spared the terrors their parents faced. Yet the past will be as cemented in the psyches of those who managed to survive. Some areas have many scars upon buildings, bridges and monuments to reinforce, remind, or educate those who travel by.
The trials of these actors, though long and often painful for those in witness, is certainly worth whatever length of time it requires. If anything it affords the world the opportunity to review events that happened. Events that might otherwise be buried and forgotten; as were far too many victims and their families.
By Darren Smith
United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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35 thoughts on “Prosecutors Nearing Closing Arguments in Genocide And War Crimes Trial Of Bosnian Serb Leader”
Thank you, anon, Zlata’s Diary. I bet you could get it today in a good bookstore or library. Our current worst event is the ASOL crisis in the Middle East. This book had a profound effect on me as it was Europeans killing Europeans for insane reasons, long after WWII. You see it in Biafra, Burundi, Sudan & Cambodia but it comes home to you more when its closer to your own flesh & blood. You too, Annie. Thanks.
Aridog, You are a great addition here. Very emotional photo and great summation by yourself.
Here is a 16×20 photograph of Vietnamese children behind encircling barbed wire, taken by a USMC infantryman, a close friend of mine, as his unit was the first to deploy from Danang to the countryside to fight the Viet Cong….e.g., taken on a half frame 35 mm camera as they marched out to the boonies. That photo hangs in our living room as a constant reminder of just who really pays for our wars. I saw many kids like that and to this day I wonder who among them survived. Just look at those faces in the photo and tell me it isn’t haunting. It is to me and I see every day every time I go through our living room.
Rafflaw…”A Bright Shinning Lie” by Neil Sheehan is a great summation of the Pentagon Papers, and the impact of the secrets revealed, which read, by them-self can be very confusing unless you have a solid military and civilian intelligence background…not to mention a legal background. The book by Sheehan is a litany of how the best intentions can go straight to Hades by devolution of purpose.
One should not read “Bright Shinning Lie” without also reading books by both Bernard Fall and Jules Roy…the man who once suggested, from Hanoi pre-1954, that “when we must barricade against children, we are lost.” [Paraphrased]. La Rue Sans Joi (Street Without Joy) is an edifying look at what was to come for Americans as they tried to take over from the French in Indo-China….complicated by the new “borders’ imposed by the white guys in Geneva. A friend of mine, a contemporary who entered the service long before I did, served in Operation Hot Foot, subsequently called White Star, in Laos before the borders were determined sovereign. His SF unit was determined to disenfranchise the Pathet Lao, adopted kin of the PAVN aka Viet Minh, and co-opt the relatively new Laotian government to the Western side.
Unfortunately, men like Robert Komer in the White House of LBJ directed the war from afar with nearly total ignorance of what he was doing or who he was dealing with. He was every bit as wrong headed as the current administration’s reliance on the now CIA Director, John Brennan. Brennan’s concept of the Arab cultures were based upon fantasy not day to day experience living with them. He was clueless, regardless of how brave or skilled otherwise. And today we have the results of his (and Obama’s plus Bush’s) thinking…e.g., ISIS/ISIL….a growth out of the Lernaean Hydra monster of many heads on one body. We kid ourselves that Al Qaeda is a singularity.
“Surviving the Bosnian Genocide”
“The Women of Srebrenica Speak”
Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo
TL, Zlata’s Diary, A Childs Life in Wartime Sarajevo.
How many of you folks read that book by that young girl in Sarajevo, written while Radovan was doing his dirty deeds? I had a copy & read every word. I forget if she was Christian or Jewiish. Certainly she had Muslim friends too before segregation and genocide made that impossible. Anyone remember her name (Slatva?) or the book name? Even today I feel a little guilty for not changing the world enough after that amazing book. It was similar to Ann Frank’s book from WWII but contemporary, this lifetime.
I recommend starting with the Pentagon Papers and another good one is A Rumor of War, by Phillip Caputo.
This war criminal should be dealt with harshly. He should never see the light of day, without bars between him and the outside. He is a blight on the human race.
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