Turkey welcomes life sentence for Karadzic for role in Srebrenica massacre

A U.N. court’s decision on Wednesday to sentence former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic to life in prison is the right one for justice, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The appeals judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) upheld Karadzic’s conviction for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which some 8,000 Bosnians were murdered, and ruled that the 40-year sentence imposed at the close of his trial was too light given the immensity of the crimes, Reuters reported

“While the said sentence does not alleviate the agony of our massacred Bosnian brothers and sisters, it is a right decision for the manifestation of justice,” the Turkish ministry said. 

“Radovan Karadzic, the butcher of Bosnia, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the Srebrenica Genocide. Even though it does not relieve the pain we feel for the slaughter of our Bosnian brothers and sisters, we find this decision appropriate in the interest of justice,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter. 

Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül also tweeted early Thursday, calling the Srebrenica genocide a black blotch in modern European history. “No court decision can relieve the pain in consciences,” Gül said.

The final verdict in Karadzic’s trial has highlighted continuing ethnic divisions in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, Balkan Insight said on Wednesday. While the life sentence was welcomed by Bosniak and Croat politicians and war victims’ groups, Bosnian Serb political leaders condemned it for being biased.

Karadzic in 2016 was also found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the 44-month Serb siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, and for overseeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing that drove Croats and Muslims out of Serb-claimed areas of Bosnia.