War Crimes Convictions

There have been two landmarks convictions of war crimes in the last week: one for genocide in Bosnia and the second for sexual war crimes in the Central African Republic.

One of the predecessors of the ICC, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia convicted Radovan Karadzic for multiple counts of genocide and war crimes for his actions during the Bosnia war in the mid-1990s. He has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, but there are only 19 years left to serve (includes time already counted), and he is 70, so he could emerge alive…he was also only convicted for one count of genocide, not two. So it’s a mixed bag result he will nonetheless try to appeal.

The second conviction is of Jean-Pierre Bemba, for war crimes of rape committed in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003. The ICC is known for trying mostly African warlords (elected and not), and taking forever to come to any sort of decision. But now there is another conviction, of a Congolese politician who was responsible for a lot of bad things (including raping and pillaging) in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003. More than 5000 of his victims participated in the trial, and this is the first time rape has been considered a war crime. He has not yet been sentenced.


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