THE HAGUE – Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will appear in court again Monday when he contests his conviction for genocide and a 40-year prison sentence before U.N. appeals judges.
Karadzic was convicted in 2016 for some of the worst war crimes committed as the former Yugoslavia broke apart, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Now 72, Karadzic was found guilty on 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia he oversaw as president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb Republic.
He has filed 50 grounds of appeal in an effort to overturn his conviction and sentence. Acting as his own lawyer, with help of legal counsel, he has asked for the entire judgment to be reversed and for a “new and fair trial” to be ordered.
His conviction was handed down by U.N. judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) which said he was “at the apex of power” of the Bosnian Serb military and political hierarchy when atrocities were committed by his troops.
It was the last major verdict at the ICTY, which closed at the end of 2017.
The two-day appeals hearing will be held at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which is handling outstanding U.N. war crimes cases for the Balkans and Rwanda.
After Karadzic has presented his appeal Monday, prosecutors are due to speak Tuesday. A verdict is expected by the end of the year.
Prosecutors will appeal Karadzic’s acquittal on a second count of genocide in various towns across Bosnia during the war of the 1990s. They will seek a life sentence.
In their verdict, judges said the 44-month siege of Sarajevo could not have happened without Karadzic; that he committed crimes against humanity in an attempt to purge Muslims and Croats from parts of Bosnia; and that he had intended to eliminate the Bosnian Muslim males of the town of Srebrenica.