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Srebrenica survivors hope Karadzic gets life sentence

1 min 25Approximate reading time

Survivors of Bosnia's Srebrenica massacre said Monday they hoped a UN court would sentence convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic to life in jail when he receives his final verdict next week.

More than 23 years after the mass killings in Srebrenica, in which nearly 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces, the former Bosnian Serb political leader will hear a final ruling on appeal on March 20.

In 2016 Karadzic was convicted of genocide for his role in the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre and sentenced to 40 years by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The 73-year-old was found guilty of 10 in total, including the orchestration of the 44-month siege of Sarajevo in which some 10,000 people died.

As part of a monthly tradition, some 100 people gathered in the centre of the northeastern city Tuzla on Monday to demand justice over the Srebrenica killings.

"Like all other survivors of the Srebrenica genocide, I expect Radovan Karadzic to be sentenced to life imprisonment," Amir Kulaglic, a 59-year-old Bosnian Muslim survivor, told AFP.

Kulaglic said "all the men" in his family were killed in the slaughter, including his father, uncles and their sons.

He joined demonstrators who stood in pouring rain to hold banners with photos of Srebrenica victims.

Some carried cloth banners embroidered with the names of those killed, their birth year and hometown.

Hajra Catic, the 74-year-old president of an association of mothers in Srebrenica, said she also hoped Karadzic would get a life sentence.

But above all, she said wants to find the remains of her son Nino.

He was 26 in July 1995, working in Srebrenica as a correspondent for local media.

"I've been looking for 23 years and I'm living for the day I can bury him," added the mother, whose husband was also killed in the massacre and found in a mass grave in 2005.

Next week's verdict will be delivered by the Hague-based International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which took over from the ICTY.

After years on the run, Karadzic was caught in 2008 on a Belgrade bus, disguised as a faith healer. His trial opened a year later, lasting until October 2014.

Karadzic's military alter-ego, former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic, is also currently appealing a life sentence before the international court on similar charges.

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