On Thursday, after a five-year trial and eighteen months of deliberation, the Trial Chamber will deliver its verdict in the case against former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic. The hearing has drawn capacity crowds at the Tribunal

Radovan Karadzic in the courtroomRadovan Karadzic in the courtroom

On Thursday, 26 March 2016, the Trial Chamber led by Korean judge Kwon will deliver its verdict in the case against the former Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic, who was on trial for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the course of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Karadzic was arrested in July 2008 in Belgrade, after being on the run from international justice for 13 years. The trial began in October 2009 with the opening statement of the prosecution. The accused boycotted the trial, claiming that he had not had enough time to prepare his defense. The first prosecution witness testified on 13 April 2010. The last witness was heard on 20 February 201. In the meantime, the judges heard the evidence of almost 600 witnesses and admitted more than 11,500 exhibits into evidence. The exhibits run to 146,000 pages and there are 48,000 pages of transcripts of the trial.

In the closing argument, held in late October and early November 2014, the prosecution called for a life in prison for Karadzic as ‘the only possible’ punishment, while the accused, who represented himself, and the legal adviser who assisted him in the endeavor, asked for his acquittal. The judges took 18 months to deliberate.

There is a huge interest for the hearing; many consider Radovan Karadzic’s judgment to be the key event in the history of the Tribunal. The Tribunal’s officials have indicated that more than 150 representatives of various victims’ associations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 200 reporters, 50-odd diplomats and government representatives and about a hundred academics have asked to attend. The Tribunal’s public gallery is sold out, which means that many of the guests will have to follow the hearing from the World Forum premises across the road.