Celebrating Slow Progress Against Impunity
Genocide, conflict, and crimes against humanity are not the most cheerful topics. Today, though, we have a little good news.
Radovan Karadzic, a mastermind of the Bosnian genocide, former President of the troubled Republika Srpska, has been convicted on ten counts of war crimes during the 1991-1995 war, including a count of genocide.
He was acquitted on one count of genocide.
He spent 11 years on the run and eight years defending himself at the Hague. It has been 21 years since the Srebrenica massacre, the most notorious crime in Europe since World War II. Karadzic has long been lionized as a religious and cultural hero.
Karadzic has been sentenced to 40 years. He will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Is it enough? No. Justice, in this case, was slow and incomplete. There is no “enough,” because nothing will ever bring back those killed, or undo the pain and trauma of those who survive. It is, however, progress – a step toward a more just world. Coming so quickly on the heels of the seventh anniversary of Omar Al-Bashir’s indictment, coming just days after South African courts reaffirmed that their government’s release of Bashir was illegal, coming in the midst of the ongoing genocide crisis in Jebel Marra, the timing of this conviction could not be better. Personally, I think that makes it worth celebrating.