A United Nations tribunal Thursday convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić of war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with 11 charges, including the genocide of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague sentenced Karadžić to 40 years in jail after declaring him guilty of "persecution, murders, deportations and forcible transfers" in the towns, amounting to "crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war," the Financial Times reported. 

Karadžić, former Supreme Commander of its armed forces, was convicted on two counts of genocide, including the massacre at Srebrenica and the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and the Croats during the war in Bosnia in 1990s, Reuters reported.

In an interview to news portal Balkan Insight ahead of his conviction, he said he deserved praise, not punishment, because he had contributed for peace.

"My permanent fight to preserve the peace, prevent the war and decrease the sufferings of everyone regardless of religion were an exemplary effort deserving respect rather than persecution," Reuters quoted Karadžić as saying.

The Hague tribunal presided by judge O-Gon Kwon announced the verdict after conducting trial for five years. As many as 586 witnesses and around 1,15,000 pages of documentary evidence were examined.

Karadžić, who was absconding for 13 years, was arrested in 2008, from Serbian capital Belgrade, where he was living as a faith healer with name changed to Dragan Dabic.