7 years have passed since Radovan Karadzic, known as the “Butcher of Bosnia”, was arrested on a bus in Belgrade, the capital of the Serbian Balkan state, handed over to the International Criminal Court in 2008, and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2016.
Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and considered a ringleader for the biggest war crimes committed in Europe since World War II, has been serving a prison sentence since 2008.
40-year-old Adil Sabanović, who was held in concentration camps during the Bosnian war and forced to carry water to wash knives where Bosniaks were killed, told Anadolu Agency (AA) about his experience during the war years and the day of the war. Karadzic trial in 2016.
Sabanović said he was 9 years old when the war started in Bosnia and Herzegovina, having to leave his native city of Vlasinica in 1992 and head to Srebrenica by hiding in the woods.
“We were terrorized and bombed in Srebrenica throughout the whole war. People were killed en masse. These events continued until Philippe Morion (French General) arrived in the area on May 16, 1993 and the UN declared the area a ‘safe zone’ on April 16, 1995. Until that Then, people were dying under siege, by snipers from afar, starvation and disease.” He said.
“I was forced to carry water to wash the bloody knives.”
Expressing that they lived under difficult conditions during the war years, Sabanović said, “I went through very bad things in a factory in Potocari in 1995. I was forced to carry water to wash the bloody knives with which they cut dead men before my eyes. They raped women.” He said.
Sabanović said that Serbian commander Ratko Mladić said in front of his cameras that they would “take out the women, children and old people first, and then others”, but when the cameras were turned off, the children were forcibly killed by their mothers. The weapon and the massacres continued.
Expressing that his grandfather was among the assembled men, Šapanović said they watched Karadzic’s trial first-hand in Sarajevo’s Historical Library of Vejica.
Sabanović said, “We are in the seventh year of the first punishment for Karadzic, who was responsible for the mass graves that caused the exodus of non-Serbs. We are very happy that he was punished as a war criminal.” He rated it.
Emphasizing that he cannot forget what happened today, Sabanović said that those who survived the genocide still face great problems.
The war in Central Europe lasted more than 3.5 years
The Serbian Assembly took the decision on 21 December 1991 to establish the Republika Srpska of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a federal structure within Yugoslavia and to recognize the Republika Srpska Krajina at the same time. After this decision, the Serbian People’s Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was proclaimed on January 9, 1992.
In his speech at the time, the Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic, accused of war and genocide, stated that “no one can take an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina (near Sarajevo) beyond the Koje Bridge, because Bali is now Yugoslavia”.
Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence after the referendum held on February 29 – March 1, 1992. After the referendum, the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army and Serb paramilitary units launched ethnic cleansing against Muslim Bosniaks.
During the war, which lasted more than 3.5 years in Central Europe, massive massacres of civilians, torture, ethnic cleansing, deportation and genocide were committed.
Forces led by Serbian commander Mladić killed at least 8,372 Bosnian civilians in a few days in and around the eastern city of Srebrenica in July 1995.
Almost no Bosniaks were left due to the ethnic cleansing that took place in many cities such as Prijedor, Foca, Zvornik and Visegrad.
The war, in which hundreds of thousands of people died, millions were forced from their homes, women were raped, and civilians were tortured in concentration camps, ended with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement on November 21, 1995.
The Appeals Board of the Mechanism for International Criminal Courts in The Hague overturned a 40-year prison sentence against Karadzic in 2016 in 2019 and sentenced Karadzic, also known as the “Butcher of Bosnia” internationally, to life in prison.
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