Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
BELGIUM – Three co-ordinated suicide bombings killed 35 (including the three bombers themselves) and injured over 300 in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22. Two of the bombings happened at the Brussels airport and the third at a metro station near the headquarters of the European Commission; a fourth bomb was found at the airport, reports Los Angeles Times. Islamic State claimed responsibility and promised more. Belgium declared three days of national mourning; the airport stayed closed for a week, and won’t open for passenger flight until at least Sunday, April 3, according to Wall Street Journal.
Belgian authorities have since recovered materials for making more bombs from an apartment in northern Brussels and arrested 18 suspected accomplices; one was charged, but later released for lack of evidence. Two more suspects were arrested in Germany, reports Der Spiegel; yet another suspect, arrested in Italy, may have provided forged documents for both the Brussels bombings and the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015.
Four days before the Brussels bombings, Salah Abdeslam, one of only two living people who are suspected to have been accomplices in the Paris attacks, had been arrested in Brussels; Abdeslam is ready to co-operate with authorities, reports Yahoo News.
NETHERLANDS – The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia reached two high-profile verdicts in the last two weeks: Radovan Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday, March 24, whereas Vojislav Seselj was acquitted on Thursday, March 31.
Karadzic led the Serbian uprising in Bosnia in 1992, directed the four-year siege of Sarajevo, and ordered the Srebrenica genocide in 1995. Judge O-Gon Kwon said Karadzic had been the only person with the power to stop the genocide, reports Chicago Tribune. After the war, Karadzic assumed a false identity and evaded arrest until 2008.
Seselj, a Serbian ultranationalist, euroskeptic, and pro-Russian politician, voluntarily surrendered to the tribunal and was charged with assorted war crimes, including his support of Serbian paramilitaries; he was acquitted due to lack of evidence, reports The Associated Press. The decision sparked negative reactions in Bosnia and Croatia, while Seselj, speaking in Belgrade, said that he now expects his party to win between 20 percent and 25 percent of the vote in the Serbian general elections on April 24.
Still under trial are Karadzic’s general Ratko Mladic, also known as the Butcher of Bosnia, and Goran Hadzic, president of the self-proclaimed Serbian state in Croatia, both of whom successfully evaded arrest until 2011.
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