Genocide count dropped in Karadzic trial

Story highlights

  • Radovan Karadzic still faces a charge of genocide over the Srebrenica massacre
  • He successfully gets one other count of genocide thrown out
  • He was the leader of the breakaway Serb Republic in Bosnia in the 1990s

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia threw out one count of genocide against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on Thursday, the court said.

He still faces another count of genocide over the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, and nine other charges related to ethnic violence during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

He had filed a motion seeking acquittal on all 11 counts, but was successful on only one.

Judges heard evidence that forces loyal to Karadzic systematically discriminated against Bosnian Muslims and Croats, but ruled the level of abuse did not amount to genocide.

Srebrenica became an emblem for the dissolution of Yugoslavia -- once a multiethnic state of Serbs, Croats, Muslims and others -- into six countries during a bloody and brutal conflict in the early 1990s.

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The 1992-95 Bosnian conflict was the longest of the wars spawned by the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Backed by the government of then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnian Serb forces seized control of more than half the country and launched a campaign against the Muslim and Croat populations.

Karadzic was removed from power in 1995, when the Dayton Accord that ended the Bosnian war barred anyone accused of war crimes from holding office.

He was captured in 2008 after more than 13 years of hiding in plain sight in Belgrade. He had adopted an elaborate disguise that included long hair and a full beard, and was practicing alternative medicine in the Serbian capital.

The trial began more than a year after Karadzic was captured.

His former military commander, Ratko Mladic, was captured last year and is also on trial for charges including genocide.

Both men would face life in prison if convicted. The court cannot impose the death penalty.

Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial at The Hague.

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