Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has refused to accept responsibility for any of the horrors allegedly committed on his orders during the Bosnian War.

Despite his denial, the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague found him guilty on March 24 of genocide at Srebrenica and other war crimes the forces under his command carried out during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, with the right to appeal.

Born in a poor family in Montenegro, he was a psychiatry student in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital which he terrorized throughout the 44 months of the war.

Karadzic, 70, published some poetry while he worked as a psychiatrist and also embezzled money, for which he served 11 months of a three-year sentence in 1984.

His big moment came amid the nationalist turmoil that preceded the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia.

Using blunt rhetoric with an open threat of violence, Karadzic catapulted himself to prominence in Bosnia as a Serb leader in 1990.

By April 1992 war broke out and Karadzic did what he promised, "that one people (Muslims) will disappear."

Militarily and financially backed by Slobodan Milosevic's regime in Belgrade, Serb forces besieged Sarajevo from surrounding mountains, sowing terror by relentlessly shelling and sniping the city and eventually killing 10,000 to 12,000 people in its streets.

With general Ratko Mladic – also on a genocide trial at the ICTY – under Karadzic's command and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic supporting them from Belgrade, the Bosnian Serb forces terrorized the Bosniaks, seeking to create a Serb-only territory.

Seeing the war drawing to its end in 1995, Karadzic and Mladic moved to clear out a Muslim enclave under UN protection at Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia in July 1995.

The attack ended with the massacre of around 8,000 Bosniak boys and men and the expulsion of the Muslim women, children and the elderly from Serb-controlled territory.

Facing charges since 1995, Karadzic went into hiding and managed to stay out of reach until his arrest on a Belgrade public bus 13 years after the Srebrenica massacre.

He had assumed the identity of Dragan Dabic, an alternative medicine healer. He had even published poetry while on the run.

As Dr. Dabic, he wore a massive beard hiding a characteristic chin dimple and a ponytail to control his unruly hair, both of which would have made him recognizable.

UN International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) chief prosecutor Serge Brammert told the Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz a few days before the verdict that many in Bosnia may have given up hope of justice because of the 21-year wait for Karadzic's verdict.

"I urge the many victims in former Yugoslavia who still wait for justice not to lose hope, that justice is achievable," he said.

Related stories

Karadzic, a psychiatrist who became a warlord

ICTY prosecution requests life for Ratko Mladic

Karadzic gets 40 years for genocide and war crimes

Karadzic faces judgement over Srebrenica genocide

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