LONDON: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, currently behind bars in The Hague, will serve the rest of his sentence for the Srebrenica genocide in a British prison, the government in London said on Wednesday.
“We should take pride in the fact that, from UK support to secure his arrest, to the prison cell he now faces, Britain has supported the 30-year pursuit of justice for these heinous crimes,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said as he announced the prison transfer.
“Radovan Karadzic is one of the few people to have been found guilty of genocide,” added Raab.
“He was responsible for the massacre of men, women and children at the Srebrenica genocide and helped prosecute the siege of Sarajevo with its remorseless attacks on civilians.” The UN’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals on Wednesday confirmed that it had asked Britain to “enforce the sentence of Karadzic”.
It also requested that “all necessary measures” be taken “to facilitate Karadzic’s transfer to the United Kingdom as expeditiously as possible”.
However, no date has yet been given for when the transfer will take place.
Karadzic was sentenced by a UN tribunal to life term for killing of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica
Individuals convicted of crimes by tribunals in The Hague do not serve their sentences in the UN detention facilities in the city, and have a deal with member states, who take them instead.
Raab was a legal adviser in Britain’s embassy in the Hague between 2003 and 2006, and negotiated the 2004 deal that is being used to transfer Karadzic, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Karadzic is serving a life sentence for genocide in Srebrenica and other atrocities after appeals judges increased his sentence from an original jail term of 40 years.
Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in a few days after capturing the town in eastern Bosnia on July 11, 1995.
The episode — labelled as genocide by two international courts — came at the end of a 1992-1995 war between Bosnia’s Croats, Muslims and Serbs that claimed some 100,000 lives.
Karadzic and his military chief Ratko Mladic were among the last suspects put on trial by the UN tribunal in The Hague for the civil war.
Appeals judges in 2019 increased Karadzic’s sentence, saying the initial jail term had underestimated the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of his crimes.
Britain in 2013 took Liberian ex-warlord Charles Taylor after he lost his appeal against a 50-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity before the UN’s Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in The Hague.
Taylor is serving his term at Frankland maximum security prison just outside Durham in northeastern England after being convicted of fuelling civil conflict in Sierra Leone.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2021