The 'Butcher of Bosnia' to serve rest of his sentence in the UK

Karadžić jailed in the UK. 

On Wednesday 12 May 2021, the British foreign office agreed to a prisoner transfer of  Radovan Karadžić, the ex-Bosnian leader convicted of the Srebrenica genocide. The former Bosnian Serb leader is poised to serve the rest of his sentence in a UK prison.

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In a statement British Foreign press, Dominic Raab described Radovan Karadžić as one of the few people “guilty of the genocide” and “responsible for the massacre” of many during the Srebrenica genocide - particularly the siege of Sarajevo where civilians were gruesomely attacked. The foreign minister expressed pride over the UK’s 30-year support for the justice process. 

The Daily Mail reports that UK taxpayers will part with over £1 million annually to keep the former Serb political leader behind bars. There is also risk of attack from imprisoned Muslim prisoners. 

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Karadžić, now aged 75, was convicted of war crimes meted out during the Balkan conflict of the 1900s. Britain played an active role in his conviction with the current Foreign Secretary being one of the young lawyers who drafted the legal transfer procedure to the UK. 

Britain is on the UN list of members willing to take in those accused of war crimes. The government will demonstrate its support for the process by bearing the cost of incarceration. According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice 2019/20, the cost-per-prisoner on Category A offenders is £69,085 while setting the inmate into specialized ‘control units’ could ramp up the annual costs past £1 million. 

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There are several Eastern European prisoners who are incarcerated, some of whom may be linked to Karadžić or opposed. His heinous crimes were particularly meted out on the Muslim population making it likely for some prisoners to attack him in some form of retribution.

The Guardian reported that Peter Robinson, Karadžić’s lawyer, defined the move as a compromise to his client’s safety, even drawing comparisons with Radislav Krstić, the Bosnian war criminal who took part in the revenge attack in 2010. Three Muslim inmates lashed him with blades as he served 35 years in the Wakefield jail. Peter drew his objection from the situation faced by General Krstić and Charles Taylor, Liberia’s former president. 

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At the moment, Krstić is serving time in a UN detention center run from the Netherlands. In addition to the charge of genocide, the former Serb leader was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His 44-month siege of Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, and the oversight of ethnic cleansing, drove the Croats and Muslims off Serb claimed areas of Bosnia.

After hiding for over a decade, he was finally arrested and handed to the International Criminal Tribunal on Former Yugoslavia held in July 2008. In 2016, Karadžić was found guilty of genocide by judges at a UN War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. 

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