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Prosecutor seeks life sentence for Bosnian Serb ex-leader Karadzic

In March 2016, Bosnian Serb ex-leader Radovan Karadzic, was sentenced to 40 years in prison

THE HAGUE, April 24. /TASS/. Bosnian Serb ex-leader Radovan Karadzic must be sentenced to life imprisonment, Prosecutor Katrina Gustafson said during an appeals hearing at the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) on Tuesday.

According to her, Karadzic "abused his immense power to spill the blood of countless victims." "Justice requires that he receive the highest possible sentence - a life sentence," she added.

The appeals hearing took place in The Hague on April 23-24, while a verdict is expected before the end of the year.

Karadzic’s final speech

While delivering his final speech, Karadzic called on the MICT Appeals Chamber to rely on facts. According to him, the Muslims were the first to attack the Serbs in all municipalities. He added that the Serbs had the right to establish their own republic but there had been plans to deprive them of that right. "There was no need to wage a war, it was launched to prevent the creation of the Republika Srpska," Karadzic added.

"The Serbs are not what they are painted to be here," he noted, adding that it could be seen from their good treatment of refugees and migrants. "Everything is possible here if you ignore facts but I hope that the Appeals Chamber will look at the facts," he added.

Defense requests review

Karadzic’s defense earlier requested that his 40-year prison sentence be overturned and the case be reviewed.

Peter Robinson, Karadzic's lawyer, said that he intended to secure either the acquittal of his client or a new trial. He pointed out that Karadzic had been first brought before The Hague court ten years ago but there was more hope for justice now.

Karadzic trial

Karadzic, the former leader of the Bosnian Serbs, spent 13 years as a fugitive before being captured by Serbian intelligence services in a Belgrade suburb in July 2008. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) launched a trial against him in October 2009. In March 2016, Karadzic was found guilty on 10 out of 11 counts, particularly concerning the Srebrenica massacre, and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals was set up by the United Nations Security Council to complete the work initiated by the ICTY (which closed its proceedings on December 31, 2017) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (closed on December 31, 2015).