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Serbia and Russia criticize Karadzic genocide verdict

Belgrade and Moscow have called the ICTY verdict against Radovan Karadzic "selective." The Bosnian Serb leader was found guilty of genocide and war crimes, and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

"All justice that leads to the conviction of one people for crimes that were committed by everyone is selective," Serbia's Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic said in a statement on Friday. The work of the Hague-based international court was biased against Serbs and had left a "bitter taste," he said.

However Selakovic said he could not comment on the specific verdict, reasoning his country "must cooperate" with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Selakovic's statement came shortly after Serbia's ally Russia accused the international court of bias. Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the verdict was "politicized" and served to perpetuate the myth that Serbs were solely responsible for war crimes in former Yugoslavia.

He also said it would have been better if the money spent on the trial were used in restoring the peace process between the Balkan countries.

Niederlande Radovan Karadzic vor Gericht in den Haag Überlebende und Angehörige vor dem Gericht

Survivors and their families of the 1990s conflict gather in front of the international tribunal at the Hague on March 24

On Thursday, the ICTY found former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic guilty on 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1990s Balkan conflict. He had faced 11 charges.

He was found guilty of genocide in the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica where over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed and dumped in mass graves dug by Bosnian Serb soldiers. The international tribunal sentenced the 70-year-old to 40 years in prison.

Karadzic is the most high-profile individual to be convicted over the wars in Yugoslavia. Several people died before they could be charged, most notably the former Yugoslvian and then Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic.

mg/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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