An Affirmation of the Rule of Law

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today that the verdict handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the case of Radovan Karadzic, following legal proceedings that have lasted for more than seven years, is an important affirmation of the rule of law.

Karadzic was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

He was convicted of genocide in the area of Srebrenica in 1995, of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts (forcible transfer), terror, unlawful attacks on civilians and hostage-taking. He was acquitted of the charge of genocide in other municipalities in BiH in 1992.

“Those who killed unarmed civilians, and those who consciously created the circumstances that facilitated these crimes, believed they could erase the identity of their victims permanently. They were wrong,” Bomberger said.

“The work of ICMP, in particular the scientific evidence of the identity of victims from the conflicts of the 90s, has made it possible to piece together an incontestable narrative of crimes, and to present this evidence in numerous trials, including those of Karadžić and Ratko Mladić.

ICMP has spearheaded the effort to locate and identify the 40,000 people who went missing during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia. More than 70 percent of these people have been accounted for, including 7,000 of the almost 8,000 originally missing from Srebrenica in July 1995. ICMP’s use of DNA-led identification techniques made it possible to identify thousands of Srebrenica victims despite the attempt by those responsible for the massacre to remove evidence by exhuming and then hiding human remains.

“Today’s judgement gives hope to survivors of atrocity, including families of missing and disappeared persons around the world that justice can be delivered.  It is up to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans to engage in an honest reckoning with the past, and to reject narratives based on chauvinism or denial.  They must also remain vigilant in their efforts to account for the remaining 12,000 missing persons,” said Bomberger.