THE HAGUE (AFP) – The UN’s Yugoslav war crimes court on Thursday reinstated a genocide charge against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, overturning on appeal an earlier decision by trial judges.
“The Appeals Chamber… reverses the Trial Chamber’s acquittal of Mr Karadzic for genocide in the municipalities… and reinstates the charges,” Judge Theodor Meron told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Karadzic, 68, now faces 11 charges for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. They include a charge over the 1995 massacre at eastern Bosnia’s Srebrenica where almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and buried in mass graves.
Judges last year dropped one of two genocide charges relating to Karadzic’s role in the Balkans country’s bloody 1992-95 war during which 100,000 people were killed and more than 2.2 million others left homeless.
At the time, the judges at the Hague-based ICTY found that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the definition of genocide in relation to the killings allegedly carried out by Bosnian Serbs from March to December 1992.
“The Appeals Chamber finds that the Trial Chamber erred in fact in concluding that there was no evidence” to find that Karadzic had genocidal intent, Meron said.
The judge added that the trial chamber’s decision “resulted in a miscarriage of justice.”
Genocide is the gravest crime under international humanitarian law — and the hardest to prove.
Thursday also marked the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.
Here, Bosnian Serb troops under the command of Karadzic’s fellow accused, wartime Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, overran Dutch peacekeepers meant to protect the UN enclave on 11 July 1995, before deporting women and children and killing thousands of Muslim men and boys.
The massacre is deemed Europe’s worst wartime atrocity since World War II — an incident for which Karadzic himself has denied responsibility.