Bosnian Serb ex-leader Karadzic to spend life in UK prison

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 20, 2019 file photo, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic enters the court room of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, Netherlands. The British government said Wednesday, May 12, 2021 that former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will serve his life sentence for war crimes in a U.K. prison. Karadzic, one of the chief architects of the slaughter and devastation of Bosnias 1992-95 war, was convicted in 2016 by a United Nations court of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, file) (Peter Dejong, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LONDON – Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, sentenced to life for war crimes and genocide, will serve his sentence in a U.K. prison, the British government said Wednesday.

Karadzic, 75, is one of the chief architects of the slaughter and devastation of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. He was convicted by a U.N. court in 2016 of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes — for atrocities including the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb troops at Srebrenica. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, later increased to life by appeals judges at the court in The Hague.

He is currently in the court’s detention unit, but will be moved to an unspecified U.K. prison.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Karadzic “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.”

“We should take pride in the fact that, from U.K. 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,” Raab said.

The conflict in Bosnia was Europe’s bloodiest since World War II, leaving 100,000 dead and millions homeless.

Karadzic has always argued that the Bosnian Serb campaigns during the war, which included the bloody siege of the capital, Sarajevo, were aimed at defending Serbs.

After his indictment by the tribunal in The Hague, Karadzic remained at large for years before he was arrested in Serbia in 2008, disguised as a new-age therapist.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands convicted scores of people involved in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, with the inmates sent to several European countries to serve their sentences.

The tribunal has since been disbanded and replaced by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which deals with cases and legal issues left over from U.N. courts that prosecuted crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

The mechanism's president, Judge Carmel Agius, issued a written order Wednesday instructing court officials to “take all necessary measures to facilitate Karadzic’s transfer to the United Kingdom as expeditiously as possible.”