Srebrenica Convictions are ‘Triumph of Justice’, Says Karadzic Prosecutor
"The challenges in investigating and prosecuting genocide were immense," Alan Tieger, who was in charge of the case against Radovan Karadzic at the UN court in The Hague, told BIRN ahead of the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacres on Thursday.
"In Srebrenica, there was a concerted effort to conceal crimes that had taken place within a relatively short period of time, ranging from coded language as the crimes were unfolding to the reburial of the bodies to locations where it was expected they would never be found. It wasn't the first attempt to hide crimes and the remains of victims, but its scale and coordination were extraordinary," Tieger explained.
Former Bosnian Serb political leader Karadzic was one of five people whose verdicts have been handed down after trials on Srebrenica charges since the last anniversary of the 1995 massacres, in which more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces.
In March this year, the Hague court increased Karadzic's sentence from 40 years to life imprisonment. As well as being found guilty of genocide, he was convicted of crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war in other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Tieger said that "all cases against commanders are difficult", but that the Srebrenica charges against Karadzic could have been harder to prosecute than those against former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, who is also on trial in The Hague.
"In the context of Srebrenica, the Karadzic case may have been seen from outside as the more difficult of the two because Mladic was physically present during events, while Karadzic commanded from a distance," Tieger explained.
"Ultimately, the extensive evidence revealing Karadzic's...