Srebrenica survivors hope Karadzic gets life sentence

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Bosnian Muslims, survivors of Srebrenica 1995 massacre, accompanied by other citizens of North-Eastern town of Tuzla, gather at Tuzla city center, on March 11, 2019, in memory of all the victims of the massacre, including those who are still logged as missing. (AFP)
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Bosnian Muslims, survivors of Srebrenica 1995 massacre, accompanied by other citizens of North-Eastern town of Tuzla, gather at Tuzla city center, on March 11, 2019, in memory of all the victims of the massacre, including those who are still logged as missing. (AFP)
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Bosnian Muslims, survivors of Srebrenica 1995 massacre, accompanied by other citizens of North-Eastern town of Tuzla, gather at Tuzla city center, on March 11, 2019, in memory of all the victims of the massacre, including those who are still logged as missing. (AFP)
Updated 12 March 2019
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Srebrenica survivors hope Karadzic gets life sentence

  • Kulaglic said “all the men” in his family were killed in the slaughter, including his father, uncles and their sons

TUZLA, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Survivors of Bosnia’s Srebrenica massacre said Monday they hoped a UN court would sentence convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic to life in jail when he receives his final verdict next week.
More than 23 years after the mass killings in Srebrenica, in which nearly 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces, the former Bosnian Serb political leader will hear a final ruling on appeal on March 20.
In 2016 Karadzic was convicted of genocide for his role in the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre and sentenced to 40 years by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The 73-year-old was found guilty of 10 in total, including the orchestration of the 44-month siege of Sarajevo in which some 10,000 people died.
As part of a monthly tradition, some 100 people gathered in the center of the northeastern city Tuzla on Monday to demand justice over the Srebrenica killings.
“Like all other survivors of the Srebrenica genocide, I expect Radovan Karadzic to be sentenced to life imprisonment,” Amir Kulaglic, a 59-year-old Bosnian Muslim survivor, told AFP.
Kulaglic said “all the men” in his family were killed in the slaughter, including his father, uncles and their sons.
He joined demonstrators who stood in pouring rain to hold banners with photos of Srebrenica victims.
Some carried cloth banners embroidered with the names of those killed, their birth year and hometown.
Hajjra Catic, the 74-year-old president of an association of mothers in Srebrenica, said she also hoped Karadzic would get a life sentence.
But above all, she said wants to find the remains of her son Nino.
He was 26 in July 1995, working in Srebrenica as a correspondent for local media.
“I’ve been looking for 23 years and I’m living for the day I can bury him,” added the mother, whose husband was also killed in the massacre and found in a mass grave in 2005.
Next week’s verdict will be delivered by the Hague-based International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which took over from the ICTY.
After years on the run, Karadzic was caught in 2008 on a Belgrade bus, disguised as a faith healer. His trial opened a year later, lasting until October 2014.
Karadzic’s military alter-ego, former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic, is also currently appealing a life sentence before the international court on similar charges.


UN gives Myanmar aid cut warning over Rohingya camp closures

Updated 3 min 53 sec ago
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UN gives Myanmar aid cut warning over Rohingya camp closures

  • Myanmar has closed several camps holding around 9,000 Rohingya
  • They have not been allowed to return to their former homes and remain dependent on handouts

YANGON: The UN has warned it will pare back aid to thousands of Rohingya Muslims left destitute as Myanmar’s government closes camps in Rakhine state, over fears its continued support “risks entrenching segregation.”
Aid agencies are facing an increasingly sharp dilemma in the region as they balance relief for desperate communities with leverage over the government.
The majority of Myanmar’s Rohingya were driven into Bangladesh by a 2017 army crackdown, but around 400,000 remain inside conflict-battered Rakhine.
Those include nearly 130,000 held since 2012 in squalid camps, currently supported by UN agencies and humanitarian groups.
As part of its strategy to address the crisis, Myanmar has closed several camps holding around 9,000 Rohingya.
But they have not been allowed to return to their former homes and remain dependent on handouts. Instead, they are being settled in new accommodation close to the former camps.
That has sparked fears aid agencies are effectively being used to prop-up a policy that fails to address the fundamental needs of the Rohingya, including housing, work, food and security.
The camp closure plan “risks entrenching segregation,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar Knut Ostby wrote to the government in a leaked letter, dated 6 June and seen by AFP.
The letter, also written on behalf of aid groups, warned support “beyond life-saving assistance” at the closed sites would in future be linked to “tangible” progress made on “the fundamental issue of freedom of movement.”
“Life-saving” support includes food, health and water, but site planning, shelter construction and education facilities could be phased out, aid agency sources told AFP.
The UN has faced criticism for a slow response to violence against the Rohingya, which escalated after 2012 riots between Muslim Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
A UN report released Monday admitted “systemic failures” in its handling of the build-up to the Rohingya crisis.
Limited access to Rakhine’s camps makes independent reporting on conditions difficult.
But AFP has reviewed recent interviews conducted in five camps by an NGO requesting anonymity to protect its work.
“If I build a house, it can be seized arbitrarily,” one Rohingya man said.
“I have no right to the land and I can also be arrested at any time.”
An aid worker called the remaining 23 sites in Rakhine little more than “concentration camps.”
On condition of anonymity, she spoke of the “complicity” humanitarian staff feel for perpetuating the segregation.
Amnesty International has described Rakhine as an “apartheid state.”
All aid must be “heavily conditioned,” researcher Laura Haigh said, warning donors that building infrastructure could make them complicit in crimes against humanity.
The government defended the camp closures, telling AFP it would continue working with the UN and NGOs on the issue.
Any former camp resident holding a National Verification Card (NVC) will be able to “move freely within their township” and access “education, health facilities and livelihood activities,” the social welfare ministry said.
Most Rohingya refuse to apply for the card believing they should already be treated as full citizens.
Those interviewed said the few to have caved had no more rights than anyone else.
They were also forced to designate themselves as “Bengali,” a term implying they are from Bangladesh.
“They are just trying to dominate us and make us illegal through different ways,” one Rohingya man said.