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International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals: Radovan Karadžic

Volume 695: debated on Thursday 13 May 2021

Promoting and enforcing international justice is central to global Britain’s role as a force for good in the western Balkans and in the world. The conviction of Radovan Karadžić for genocide and grave crimes at Srebrenica, the siege of Sarajevo and other parts of the conflict was an essential part of addressing the horrors of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Ensuring accountability for such crimes is also pivotal for promoting reconciliation in the region.

On 24 March 2016, the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in The Hague found Radovan Karadžić guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war committed during the conflict in and around Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) during the mid-1990s. The Court sentenced him to 40 years of imprisonment, which was increased on appeal to a life sentence.

Following a request to the United Kingdom from the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), the successor body to the ICTY, Radovan Karadžić will now be transferred to a prison in the UK to serve his sentence. Radovan Karadžić will be the fifth prisoner transferred to the UK by the ICTY/IRMCT.

The crimes for which Radovan Karadžić was convicted relate to actions taken in municipalities throughout BiH with a view to permanently removing Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory; spreading terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo through a campaign of sniping and shelling; taking UN personnel hostage; and the genocide at Srebrenica.

The United Kingdom signed a sentence enforcement agreement with the ICTY on 11 March 2004, allowing for sentences to be enforced in the UK, and for Her Majesty’s Government to meet the associated costs. The IRMCT remains responsible for further decision making regarding his imprisonment, over and above the prisoner’s daily care.