The Latest: Serbian nationalists rally supporting Karadzic

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Posted: Mar 24, 2016 2:38 PM
The Latest: Serbian nationalists rally supporting Karadzic

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on the verdict in the case of Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Several thousand Serbian ultranationalists have protested the 40-year prison sentence handed to the wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic by a U.N. war crimes court.

Carrying posters of Karadzic and other accused Serbian war criminals, far-right supporters in the Serbian capital of Belgrade said Thursday that Karadzic was convicted only because he was a Serb.

Nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj, who himself is awaiting a war crimes verdict next week, says Karadzic "was convicted innocent, without guilt." He adds "the verdict against Karadzic is a verdict against the entire Serb people, the entire Serbian nation."

The court in The Hague, Netherlands, has tried Seselj for recruiting paramilitary units that committed atrocities during the 1991-95 wars in Croatia and Bosnia.

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5:45 p.m.

Serbia's president is pledging support to the Serb mini-state in Bosnia, warning that its future may be brought into question after wartime leader Radovan Karadzic was convicted of genocide by a U.N. court and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Tomislav Nikolic said Thursday that "this verdict cannot and must not affect the fate of Republika Srpska" — the Serb entity in Bosnia. He adds that Serbia will "use its right ... to support Republika Srpska and help it survive."

Serbia backed the Bosnian Serbs during the war. Then-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was one of the signatories of the 1995 peace agreement that ended the carnage.

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5 p.m.

A Serbian human rights expert says the genocide verdict against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is a landmark because it will no longer allow for new interpretations of wartime events during the worst carnage in Europe since World War II.

Natasa Kandic said Thursday "this ruling is an obstacle for revisions of history, for what has really happened" in Bosnia during the war.

She says: "This is the most important verdict. He was the supreme commander. He was convicted for acts he knew about. It is justice for both the victims and Karadzic himself."

Kandic says that instead of the 40-year prison sentence, "it would have been more logical that he received the life sentence, but this one is more or less the same."

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4:35 p.m.

Some residents of Belgrade have criticized the sentencing of wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to 40 years in prison, reflecting widespread mistrust in the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

Retiree Bosko Solic declares that "this is a fascist decision!" He adds that "there is no justice and he was convicted for nothing."

Solic says defiantly that Karadzic is "not guilty" and is a "just man."

Another retiree, Djordje Katic, says he is "not surprised" that Karadzic has been convicted by the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

Katic insists that the court "could sentence him to as many years (in prison) as they wished. What else can I say?"

Most Serbs view The Hague as biased against Serbs.

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4:30 p.m.

One of Radovan Karadzic's legal advisers says he will file an appeal after a U.N. court convicted the former Bosnian Serb leader of genocide and other crimes, and sentenced him to 40 years imprisonment.

Lawyer Peter Robinson says Karadzic was shocked to have been found guilty of orchestrating Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

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4:15 p.m.

The United Nations' top human rights official says Radovan Karadzic's conviction for orchestrating Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war is "hugely significant" and should warn other leaders against seeking to scapegoat minorities.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein said Thursday that "this historic verdict should be a turning-point." He added that "it is time now to ensure that his poisonous legacy does not continue to burden the people of the former Yugoslavia with deeply-felt grievances, secrecy and lies."

Zeid said in a statement that the trial of the wartime Bosnian Serb leader "should give pause to leaders across Europe and elsewhere who seek to exploit nationalist sentiments and scapegoat minorities for broader social ills."

He added that "speech that incites hatred, discrimination and violence is an inflammable force."

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3:40 p.m.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has been convicted of genocide and nine other charges, and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal found Karadzic guilty of orchestrating Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war that left 100,000 people dead.

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3 p.m.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon says former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is criminally responsible for murder, attacking civilians and terror for overseeing the deadly 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, during the country's war.

Kwon says Karadzic used a campaign of sniping and shelling targeting the city's civilians as a way of furthering his political goals.

The judgment of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal says Karadzic was "instrumental" in the campaign by Bosnian Serb forces.

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2:50 p.m.

Widows of the Srebrenica massacre victims and other Bosnians who gathered in front of the U.N. war crimes tribunal for Radovan Karadzic's verdict formed a shield around former tribunal spokeswoman Florence Hartmann, trying in vain to prevent her detention.

Security guards led Hartmann away after a short scuffle with the survivors. Hartmann is popular among the victims for claiming the tribunal had reached a deal with Serbia to hide confidential material that would prove Serbia was heavily involved in the Bosnian war.

Hartmann, a French national, was convicted of contempt of court by the tribunal in 2009 for publishing some confidential material from the trial of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. She was initially fined 7,000 euros, but the fine was later converted to a seven-day prison sentence, which she has not served.

Hartmann was a spokeswoman for former prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

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2:40 p.m.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon says former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic "is not held responsible for genocide" in a campaign to drive Bosnian Muslims and Croats out of villages claimed by Serb forces during the country's 1992-95 war.

Kwon said Thursday that Karadzic did, however, bear responsibility for crimes including murder, extermination and forcible transfer in the municipalities.

Karadzic also faces a second charge of genocide — the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal's most serious crime — linked to the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Srebrenica enclave. Kwon has not yet read the conclusions linked to that massacre.

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2:35 p.m.

Serbia's prime minister says Serbia will stand by the Bosnian Serb mini-state whatever the verdict against its wartime leader Radovan Karadzic.

Aleksandar Vucic said Thursday that "Serbia has an obligation to take care of its people outside the Serbian borders." Vucic has warned against using the Karadzic verdict "for political or any other attack on Republika Srpska," — the Serb part of Bosnia.

Vucic says "Serbia must not, cannot and will not allow that."

Karadzic is hearing verdicts on 11 charges, including two counts of genocide for atrocities during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

Serbia backed the Bosnian Serbs during the war. Then-Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was one of the signatories of the 1995 peace agreement that ended the carnage.

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2:20 p.m.

A hearing has begun at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to deliver verdicts in the genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon has started the long process of reading out a summary of the judgment.

Karadzic spoke briefly at the start of Thursday's hearing, politely greeting the judges and introducing his team of legal advisers.

The 70-year-old former Bosnian Serb leader faces an 11-count indictment covering the worst atrocities of Bosnia's 1992-95 war including the 44-month siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Srebrenica enclave.

Karadzic insists he is innocent. If convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence.

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12:45 p.m.

A former spokeswoman for the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal has been detained by security guards at the court shortly before judges are due to deliver verdicts in the trial of Radovan Karadzic.

It was not immediately clear why Florence Hartmann was detained Thursday. A court spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Hartmann, a French national, was convicted of contempt of court by the tribunal in 2009 for publishing confidential material from the trial of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. She was initially fined 7,000 euros, but the fine was later converted to a seven-day prison sentence, which she is not believed to have served.

Hartmann was a spokeswoman for former prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

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9:50 a.m.

A United Nations war crimes tribunal is passing judgment on Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, one of the alleged architects of Serb atrocities during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Karadzic will hear verdicts Thursday afternoon on 11 charges, including two counts of genocide. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

The trial is hugely significant for the U.N. tribunal as Karadzic is the most senior Bosnian Serb leader to face prosecution. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic died in his cell in The Hague in 2006 before judges could deliver verdicts in his trial.

Karadzic insists he is innocent and says his wartime actions were intended to protect Serbs.

He is charged with responsibility for atrocities including the siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men in the Srebrenica enclave.