A judgement for wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic which is to be rendered next Thursday by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), is of historic significance because it will send a clear signal to everyone that those most responsible for war crimes will not go unpunished and to the victims, that justice is truly possible, ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz said the Sarajevo-based Dnevni Avaz reported on Friday.

With regard to Karadzic's position during the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is evident that this is a very important judgement, Brammertz said, recalling that the prosecution believes that determining responsibilities for war crimes cannot stop at just prosecuting direct perpetrators, and that all those who were the masterminds and orchestrated those crimes must be brought to justice.

Whatever the outcome of the trial, that is, whatever the judgement be, Brammertz believes that it will be an important step in determining responsibility for the events during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This judgement will show all victims, regardless of their nationality or religious background, that justice is possible. Eight years ago it was hard to imagine that Karadzic would ever be arrested and tried. Thus, I would tell all victims in the former Yugoslavia who are still waiting for justice, and there are many of them, never lose hope, justice can be achieved, Brammertz added.

He added that it was important that national judiciaries continue with criminal proceedings of all those who committed war crimes and promised that the ICTY would offer them full support in that regard.

Brammertz resolutely rejected Karadizic's claims that the trial against him was in fact a trial of the entire Serb people.

Individuals committed the crimes and not Serbs as a collective or Croats or Bosniaks. The only ones claiming that this has to do with collective guilt are the leaders who were criminally prosecuted for the crimes they committed, leaders who lied, manipulated the public during and after the war, Brammertz said.

He added that it was sad that even today there were politicians and other public figures who used war rhetoric. He said that he expected that they would comment in the same way on Karadzic's judgement. He called on all stakeholders to carefully listen to what the judges have to say and to come to relevant conclusions.

More than a dozen associations of victims and their families killed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina will travel to The Hague to attend the Karadzic trial judgement to be rendered on March 24.

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