Karadzic Verdict Will Reinforce Ethnic Divisions, Analysts Predict

"Certain political forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina still side with convicted criminals and joint criminal enterprises, which are glorified, and genocide, which is not admitted. Such politics are alive in Bosnia and Herzegovina," Mehmedovic told BIRN.

In the first-instance verdict, Karadzic was convicted of genocide in Srebrenica, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising the civilian population of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Reactions to the first-instance verdict again highlighted the persistence of post-war ethnic divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and analysts believe that next Wednesday's ruling will do the same.

Sociology professor and political analyst Slavo Kukic said that for Bosnian politicians, the actual verdict is less important than using it to bolster their positions.

"Since 2006, the trends have been such that a system of values which takes us back to the first half of the 1990s has been on the scene," Kukic said. "In that system, verdicts against war-crime convicts can be used as an argument."

He explained that Dodik, while he was in opposition and Karadzic was on the run, said that the former Bosnian Serb leader should be arrested. Recently however, Dodik said that Karadzic deserves respect for creating Republika Srpska.

"If they confirm the verdict [convicting Karadzic], he [Dodik] will use it as a proof of a conspiracy against the Serb people. Not for Karadzic's sake, but for Dodik to reinforce his political position," he added.

'Verdict will strengthen nationalist rhetoric'

A woman flashes a Serb three-finger sign as she looks at a poster of Radovan Karadzic at a shop in the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale in 1997....

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