SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina–A tribunal at The Hague announced earlier this month a final verdict for Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb politician convicted of crimes against humanity and genocide during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. It was an appeal of a previous verdict, and his sentence was increased to life in prison.
In the wider world perhaps this passed with little notice. But in Srebenica, a room full of the mothers of victims of the slaughter in the summer of 1995 clapped and burst into tears when they heard the news. Karadzic shared responsibility directly and through the ideas he preached for the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys that July. In Sarajevo, a man who had lost his family to the massacre burst into the drafty City Hall where the verdict was being screened and started shouting, “For life! For life!”
Less than 200 kilometers away, in a Serb-dominated area of the same country, politicians told major media outlets that the verdict was “political, unfounded and scandalously unfair,” and the tribunal itself aimed “to continue the satanization of the Serbian people.”