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Karadzic conviction a 'historic day' for international justice — Ban

By AFP - Mar 24,2016 - Last updated at Mar 24,2016

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed the conviction on Thursday of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide as a "historic day for international criminal justice".

UN war crime judges in The Hague sentenced Karadzic to 40 years in prison after finding him guilty of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities during the Bosnian conflict.

"This judgement sends a strong signal to all who are in positions of responsibility that they will be held accountable for their actions and shows that fugitives cannot outrun the international community's collective resolve to make sure they face justice according to the law," Ban said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the UN rights chief hailed the genocide conviction of Karadzic on Thursday as "hugely significant", saying it showed "no-one is above the law".

"Twenty-one years after Karadzic was indicted, this verdict is a forceful manifestation of the international community's implacable commitment to accountability," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights HH Prince Zeid said in a statement.

He said the verdict was "hugely significant, as it also strips away the pretence that what he did was anything more than political manipulation, and exposes him for what he really was: the architect of destruction and murder on a massive scale".

The UN rights chief said Karadzic's conviction was "symbolically powerful — above all for the victims of the crimes committed during the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and across the former Yugoslavia, but also for victims across the world". 

He added that the verdict showed that "no matter how powerful they are, no matter how untouchable they imagine themselves to be, no matter what continent they inhabit, the perpetrators of such crimes... will not escape justice".

Prince Zeid, who served in the UN Protection Force in the Former Yugoslavia from 1994 to 1996, acknowledged that the verdict could still be appealed.

But he said the ruling nonetheless should send a clear message "that no-one is above the law".

 

The trial, he said, "should give pause to leaders across Europe and elsewhere who seek to exploit nationalist sentiments and scapegoat minorities for broader social ills".

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