Claims of sexual violence were central to the case, with the court citing rape as a form of genocide and torture. CCR looks forward to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) placing the same priority on rape and other forms of torture in its case as it prosecutes all of the crimes committed under the direction of Karadžić during the war.
Said CCR Senior Attorney Jennie Green, “At long last, the victims and survivors of Karadžić’s brutal campaign – from those interned at rape camps to those under siege in Sarajevo to those in the murdered in the killing fields around Srebrenica – can be vindicated.”
“Yesterday ended Radovan Karadžić’s decade of evasion of any accountability for his campaign of torture and genocide,” said CCR Cooperating Attorney Judith Chomsky. “We are looking forward to the survivors receiving not only justice, but also the compensation due to them."
In 1993, CCR and co-counsel sued Karadžić for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – including the campaign of rape and other sexual violence as a form of torture and a tool of genocide used against Bosnian women and men. The complaint was brought under the 1789 Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and served on Karadžić when he was in New York. The ATS, rediscovered by CCR in the landmark 1980 case, Filártiga v. Peña-Irala, allows foreigners to sue in U.S. courts for serious human rights violations committed anywhere in the world and has been instrumental in cases against political and military leaders, like Karadžić, the President of the self-proclaimed Bosnian-Serb “Republika Srpksa,” and corporations like Unocal, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron.
Karadžić defaulted in the case in 1997. In default proceedings, a jury reached a verdict on September 25, 2000 of $4.5 billion in compensatory and punitive damages.
For more information on Doe v. Karadzic and case documents, go to:
The civil trial was led by Judith Chomsky, Jennie Green of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Theresa Traber of Traber & Voorhees. The trial team also included Anthony DiCaprio, CCR cooperating attorney Jaykumar Menon, Cynthia Soohoo and Jay Lobel, then of Covington & Burling, Karmen Jelincic, and the Lowenstein Clinic at Yale Law School (with Harold Koh, Ron Slye, Jim Silk, Deena Hurwitz). The case was initially brought by CCR attorneys Beth Stephens, Michael Ratner, and Jennie Green, and Rhonda Copelon with the International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.