The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague has begun closing arguments in the trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
U.N. prosecutor Alan Tiegar argued Karadzic should be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty of genocide and other crimes committed during the 1990s Bosnia War that left about 100,000 people dead.
“[There were] thousands killed, hundreds of towns destroyed, masses forcibly displaced,” Tieger told the courtroom.
The war crime prosecutors called Karadzic a liar, saying his denials of responsibility for atrocities committed on a massive scale while he was in charge lack credibility. They also said Karadzic was a “driving force” for a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing of the non-Serbian population of Bosnia.
Karadzic is charged with 11 crimes, including genocide in Srebrenica, a Bosnian town where almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered by Serb forces under General Ratko Mladic’s command.
Karadzic’s responsibilities included ultimate oversight of the army commanded by Mladic, who is also on trial for genocide in the Hague. Karadzic has maintained his innocence of any wrongdoing and has said he was unaware of the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica.
Relatives of the war’s victims in the courtroom’s public gallery said the crimes exposed were only the tip of the iceberg.
“We expect that [the] criminal Karadzic will get a life sentence, that he will be found guilty not only of the genocide of Srebrenica but also the genocide in other cities of Bosnia,” said Munira Subasic, president of the Mothers of Srebrenica victims group.
The prosecution and defense have 10 hours each for their arguments. Karadzic is expected to close his defense Wednesday and Thursday.
A verdict is expected sometime in 2015.