FILE - In this Thursday July 31, 2008 file photo, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic stands in the courtroom during his initial appearance at the U.N.'s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. Nearly a quarter of a century since Bosnia’s devastating war ended, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is set to hear the final judgment on whether he can be held criminally responsible for unleashing a wave of murder and destruction during Europe’s bloodiest carnage since World War II. United Nations appeals judges on Wednesday March 20, 2019, will decide whether to uphold or overturn Karadzic’s 2016 convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and his 40-year sentence. (Jerry Lampen/Pool via AP, File)

UN judges to deliver Radovan Karadzic appeals decisions

March 20, 2019 - 5:30 am

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — United Nations judges are set to hand down their decisions Wednesday in the appeal by former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic against his convictions and 40-year sentence for masterminding atrocities in his country's devastating 1992-95 war.

Karadzic appealed his 2016 convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as his sentence. The judges are also set to rule on whether Karadzic should have been acquitted of a second count of genocide.

Relatives of victims of the war, Europe's bloodiest conflict since World War II, gathered outside the courtroom ahead of the hearing that will announce the decisions.

"The time has come for him to pay the price for what he did," said Munira Subasic of the Mothers of Srebrenica organization. She said if the court sentences Karadzic to anything other than life, "the Tribunal in the Hague will commit genocide on justice."

Karadzic is one of the most senior figures tried by the Hague war crimes court. His case is considered as key in delivering justice for the victims of the conflict, which left over 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.

Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Ratko Mladic is also awaiting an appeal judgment of his genocide and war crimes conviction, which earned him a life sentence.

Both men were convicted of genocide for their roles in the slaughter by Serb forces of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnia's eastern Srebrenica region in July 1995.

Prosecutors appealed Karadzic's acquittal on a second count of genocide, which saw Serb forces drive out Muslims and Croats from Serb-controlled villages in a 1992 campaign.

At an appeals hearing last year, prosecution lawyer Katrina Gustafson told a five-judge panel that Karadzic "abused his immense power to spill the blood of countless victims. Justice requires that he receive the highest possible sentence — a life sentence."

Karadzic has always argued that the Bosnian Serb campaigns during the war, which included the bloody siege of the capital, Sarajevo, were aimed at defending Serbs.

After his indictment by the tribunal in The Hague, Karadzic remained at large for years before he was arrested in Serbia in 2008 disguised as a new-age therapist.