Busted: Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is being tried on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, during which 150,000 to 200,000 people, mostly Muslims, died. He is accused of ethnic cleansing in eastern Bosnia, driving hundreds of thousands from their homes; a 44-month siege of the capital, Sarajevo, which left 10,000 dead; a massacre at Srebrenica, where about 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed; and the hostage-taking of 200 U.N. peacekeepers. Even as the trial proceeds, Bosnians and others in the region continue to struggle with his legacy.
Having his day in court: Karadzic is on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in The Hague. Karadzic is representing himself, but boycotted the trial’s start last month (Ocotober 2011), arguing he needed more time to prepare a defense. Countering that 14 months of custody, not to mention the 14 years since the 1995 indictment, is more than enough, the court appointed a defense lawyer for when Karadzic decides to skip the proceedings. The trial has been postponed until March to allow the lawyer time to prepare. Above, Karadzic is pictured in the ICTY courtroom on Nov. 3.
Bosnia continues to face ghosts and scars from the past. Above, a forensic team examines a mass grave site in Koricanske Stijene, near Travnik, on July 23. They are preparing to lower themselves into an abyss, in search of the remains of about 200 Bosnian Muslim and Croat civilians massacred in 1992. The victims were held in a detention camp and were told they would be part of a prisoner exchange. Instead, “The civilians were ordered to kneel by the edge of a road turned towards the ravine and then were shot with automatic weapons,” reads the indictment of two police officers accused of participating.
Still in fashion: The fragility of the 1995 Dayton Accords — which negotiated peace between Bosnia’s ethnic groups by subdividing the country into a Croat-Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) federation and a Serb republic — shows on the streets. Extremist memorabilia is common in Serb areas of Bosnia and Serbia. Above on Oct. 14 in Banja Luka, a vendor displays a T-shirt supporting Karadzic and his right-hand man Ratko Mladic, who is still missing. The shirt reads “Serb Heroes” across the top and asks at the bottom, “Is It a Crime to Defend Serb People?”
Skin and bones: Photos from notorious Serbian prison camps, where Muslims were held, supposedly under investigation as fighters, shocked the world in 1992. Images of emaciated prisoners behind barbed wire conjured up memories of the Holocaust, along with horrifying stories of death and abuse. Above, prisoners in Trnopolje are visited by the Red Cross and journalists on Aug. 13, 1992. A horrified Bernard Kouchner (co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières), then French humanitarian affairs minister, called the camps “hell on earth.”
Fleeing: Muslim refugees leaving besieged Srebrenica for Tuzla wave from a U.N. convoy truck on March 31, 1993. In 1995 Srebrenica was the site of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II: In July of that year, Serbian forces overwhelmed Dutch forces protecting the U.N. safe zone harboring tens of thousands of refugees. Boys and men between the ages of 12 and 77 were separated for “interrogation for suspected war crimes.” About 8,000 males were subsequently killed, while more than 23,000 women and children were deported.
The war in Bosnia eventually led to the death of an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people, most of them Muslim. The Dayton Accords, hammered out in November 1995 by U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke, ended the fighting. Above, three Sarajevan girls run along “Sniper Avenue” in the capital on March 27, 1995.