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Jane Doe I et al. v. Radovan Karadžić

Court United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, United States
Case number 93 Civ. 878 (PKL)
Decision title Judgment
Decision date 4 October 2000
  • Jane Doe I, Jane Doe II, Jane Doe III, Jane Doe IV, Jane Doe V, Jane Doe VI, Jane Doe VII, Jane Doe VIII, Jane Doe IX, Jane Doe X, Jane Doe XI, Jane Doe XII, Jane Doe XIII, Jane Doe XIV
  • John Doe I, John Doe II, John Doe III, John Doe IV, John Doe V, John Doe VI, John Doe VII, John Doe VIII, John Doe IX, John Doe X
  • Radovan Karadžić
Categories Crimes against humanity, Genocide, War crimes
Keywords Crimes against humanity, forced disappearance, murder, reparations, Trnopolje
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The complaint against Radovan Karadžić was filed by victims and survivors of the crimes committed in Bosnia during the Bosnian War in 1992-1995. They requested compensation for the suffering they have experienced. The crimes alleged include, but are not limited to rape, murder, beatings, and emotional distress.  

On 4 October 2000, the District Court ordered Radovan Karadžić to pay $4.5 billion in damages to the victims and survivors.

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Procedural history

The complaint against Radovan Karadžić was filed in 1993 by the Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of victims and survivors of the campaign of torture and genocide in Bosnia. They sought compensation for the harm suffered as a result of the commission of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity against Bosnian Muslims and Croats in the Trnopolje concentration camp. The claim was brought on the basis of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).

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Related developments

Radovan Karadžić is currently on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.  The alleged crimes under prosecution include genocide, persecutions, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts as crimes against humanity, murder, terrorizing the civilian population, unlawful attack on civilians, and taking of hostages as violations of the laws or customs of war.

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Legally relevant facts

During the Bosnian War (1992-1995), Radovan Karadžić was the President of the Republika Srpska. His responsibility is based on command responsibility for the actions of his subordinates.

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Core legal questions

Can compensation be awarded to the victims?

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Specific legal rules and provisions

Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 (Title 28 U.S. Code, Section 1350)

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Court's holding and analysis

The District Court for the Southern District of New York awarded the plaintiffs $4.5 billion in compensatory and punitive damages.

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Further analysis

Y. S. Wu, ‘Genocidal Rape in Bosnia: Redress in United States Courts under the Alien Tort Claims Act’, UCLA Women's Law Journal, 1993-1994, Vol. 4, pp. 101-111.

B. Stephens, ‘The Civil Lawsuit as a Remedy for International Human Rights Violations against Women’, Hastings Women's Law Journal, 1994, Vol. 5, pp. 143- 170.

M. Brandt, ‘COMMENT: Doe v. Karadzic: Redressing Non-State Acts of Gender-Specific Abuse Under the Alien Tort Statute’, Minnesota Law Review, June 1995, Vol. 79, pp. 1413- 1446.

S. L. Ronn, ‘Jane Doe, On Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated: Radovan Karadzic in United States District Court’, Seattle University Law Review, 1996, Vol. 19, pp. 289-322.

W. Aceves, ‘Affirming the Law of Nations in U.S. Courts: The Karadzic Litigation and the Yugoslav Conflict’, Berkeley Journal of International Law, 1996, Vol. 14(1), pp. 137- 172.

R. Bart, ‘Using the American Courts to Prosecute International Crimes against Women: Jane Doe v. Radovan Karadzic and S. Kadic v. Radovan Karadzic’,

Cardozo Women's Law Journal, 1996, Vol. 3, pp. 467- 489.

J. J. Paust, ‘Suing Karadžic’, Leiden Journal of International Law, 1 March 1997, Vol. 10, pp. 91-98.

A. Umar, ‘From Bosnian Rape Camps to the U.S. Court: The Story of Kadic v. Karadzic’, 7 May 2011, pp. 1-22.

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Instruments cited

Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789, United States

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Additional materials

Doe v. Karadzic’, Center for Constitutional Rights. 

N. A. Lewis, ‘Conflict in The Balkans: The Atrocities; U.S. Backs War-Crimes Lawsuit Against Bosnian Serb Leader’, The New York Times, 27 September 1995.

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Social media links

R. Irwin, ‘Civil Actions Offer Some Closure for Bosnia Victims’, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 26 April 2011.