The ICTY Convicts Radovan Karadzic

By Shannon Togawa Mercer

The world of international institutions is abuzz with conversation about the conviction of Radovan Karadzic. On March 24, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted the former President of Republika Srpska, and Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb army, for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Radovan Karadzic will serve 40 years of imprisonment for his crime. At his age, the 40 year sentence could very well translate to a sentence for life. This conviction represents more than justice for those impacted by the horrific Srebrenica massacre and other acts of ethnic cleansing. In a world in which the United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Library in New York announced that its most popular book of 2015 was “Immunity of Heads of State and State Officials for International Crimes,” this is, on its face, a reminder that former heads of state are not untouchable. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights chief, explained the verdict as “a forceful manifestation of the international community’s implacable commitment to accountability.”