ICTY has pronounced a Total of Seven Hundred Years to Perpetrators of Srebrenica Genocide

July 11, 2019 6:00 PM

A total of 47 people were sentenced to more than 700 years in prison and 4 life sentences for Genocide in Srebrenica.

The Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals composed of Judge Vagn Prüsse Joensen, presiding, Judge William Hussein Sekule, Judge José Ricardo de Prada Solaesa, Judge Graciela Susana Gatti Santana, and Judge Ivo Nelson de Caires Batista Rosa delivered today its judgement on the appeals filed by Mr. Radovan Karadžić and the Prosecution against the judgement rendered on 24 March 2016 by a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”).

Mr. Karadžić, who was a founding member of the Serbian Democratic Party and, from 17 December 1992, served as President of Republika Srpska and Supreme Commander of its armed forces, was convicted by the Trial Chamber of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws or customs of war and sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment.

Specifically, the Trial Chamber found Mr. Karadžić individually criminally responsible through his participation in joint criminal enterprises to: (i) permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory in municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina between October 1991 and 30 November 1995 (“Overarching JCE”); (ii) spread terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo through a campaign of sniping and shelling from late May 1992 until October 1995 (“Sarajevo JCE”); (iii) eliminate the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 (“Srebrenica JCE”); and (iv) take United Nations personnel hostage in order to compel the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to abstain from conducting air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets from 25 May to 18 June 1995 (“Hostages JCE”). The Trial Chamber also found Mr. Karadžić responsible as a superior in relation to certain crimes committed by his subordinates in Srebrenica in 1995.

The Appeals Chamber reversed, in part, Judges Joensen and de Prada dissenting, Mr. Karadžić’s convictions related to the Overarching JCE to the extent that they are based on certain Scheduled Incidents. The Appeals Chamber unanimously dismissed all other aspects of Mr. Karadžić’s appeal and affirmed his remaining convictions pursuant to Articles 7(1) and 7(3) of the ICTY Statute for genocide, persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, and other inhumane acts (forcible transfer) as crimes against humanity, as well as for murder, terror, unlawful attacks on civilians, and hostage-taking as violations of the laws or customs of war, in relation to his participation in the Overarching JCE, the Sarajevo JCE, the Srebrenica JCE, and the Hostages JCE.

The Appeals Chamber dismissed, Judge de Prada dissenting, the Prosecution’s appeal, except as to the sentence. The Appeals Chamber granted the Prosecution’s sentencing appeal and found, Judges de Prada and Rosa dissenting, that the Trial Chamber committed a discernible error and abused its discretion in imposing a sentence of only 40 years of imprisonment. The Appeals Chamber, Judges de Prada and Rosa dissenting, set aside the sentence of 40 years of imprisonment and imposed on Mr. Karadžić a sentence of life imprisonment.

On 12 May 1992, Ratko Mladić was appointed Commander of the Main Staff of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“VRS”). He remained in command of the VRS Main Staff until at least 8 November 1996.

Sentenced by an ICTY Trial Chamber to life imprisonment on 22 November 2017.

On 18 December 2017, Ratko Mladić filed a motion seeking an extension of time to file his notice of appeal against the ICTY Trial Judgment.

On 19 December 2017, the President of the Mechanism assigned a bench of five judges to this case before the Appeals Chamber. On 21 December 2017, the pre-appeal judge partly granted the motion for an extension of time and ordered that any notices of appeal in this case be filed within 120 days of the issuance of the ICTY Trial Judgement. On 22 March 2018 both parties filed their notices of appeal. Following a further extension of time granted on 22 May 2018 for the filing of the appellant’s and respondent’s briefs, the parties filed confidentially their respective appellant’s briefs on 6 August 2018. On 7 August 2018 and 11 September 2018, respectively, the Prosecution and Mladić filed the public redacted versions of their appellants’ briefs.

On 18 June 2018, Mladić requested the disqualification of Judges Meron, Agius, and Liu from the appeals bench in this case on the basis of actual or apparent bias. On 20 June 2018, the President of the Mechanism referred the matter to Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti. On 3 September 2018, Judge Antonetti upheld Mladić’s requests and, on 4 September 2018, assigned Judges Mparany Mamy Richard Rajohnson, Gberdao Gustave Kam, and Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya to replace Judges Meron, Agius, and Liu on the appeals bench in this case. On 12 September 2018, Judge Rajohnson requested to withdraw from the bench in this case and, 16 September 2018, he was replaced with Judge Aminatta Lois Runeni N’gum.

Recent developments: 

On 12 September 2018, after Judge Nyambe’s election as the Presiding Judge in this case, she was designated as the Pre-Appeal Judge. On 14 November 2018, both parties filed their respective response briefs and on 29 November 2018, their respective reply briefs.

Appeals Proceedings (Ongoing)

On 18 December 2017, Ratko Mladić filed a motion seeking an extension of time to file his notice of appeal against the ICTY Trial Judgment. Mladić argued that, inter alia, the breadth and complexity of the ICTY Trial Judgement, as well as the extensive underlying record, warrant an extension of time by 150 days beyond the original date upon which his notice of appeal would have been due, namely 22 December 2017.

On 19 December 2017, the President of the Mechanism assigned a bench of five judges to this case before the Appeals Chamber. On 20 December 2017, Judge Theodor Meron was designated the Pre-Appeal Judge in the case. On 21 December 2017, the PreAppeal Judge granted the extension of time for the filing of the notices of appeal and, on 22 March 2018 both parties filed their respective notices of appeal. Following a further extension of time granted on 22 May 2018 for the filing of the appellant’s and respondent’s briefs, the parties filed confidentially their respective appellant’s briefs on 6 August 2018. On 7 August 2018 and 11 September 2018, respectively, the Prosecution and Mladić filed the public redacted versions of their appellants’ briefs.

On 18 June 2018, Mladić requested the disqualification of Judges Meron, Agius, and Liu from the appeals bench in this case on the basis of actual or apparent bias. On 20 June 2018, the President of the Mechanism referred the matter to Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti. On 3 September 2018, Judge Antonetti upheld Mladić’s requests and, on 4 September 2018, assigned Judges Mparany Mamy Richard Rajohnson, Gberdao Gustave Kam, and Elizabeth Ibanda-Nahamya to replace Judges Meron, Agius, and Liu on the appeals bench in this case. On 12 September 2018, Judge Rajohnson requested to withdraw from the bench in this case and, 16 September 2018, he was replaced with Judge Aminatta Lois Runeni N’gum.

On 12 September 2018, after Judge Nyambe’s election as the Presiding Judge in this case, she was designated as the Pre-Appeal Judge. On 14 November 2018, both parties filed their respective response briefs and on 29 November 2018, their respective reply briefs.

Case Background Information

Indictment

Ratko Mladić was charged before the ICTY with two counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of violations of the laws or customs of war committed by Serb forces during the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (“BiH”) from 1992 until 1995.

Mladić was alleged to be individually criminally responsible for those crimes, inter alia, through his participation in several related joint criminal enterprises (“JCEs”). The alleged objective of the JCEs was the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territories in BiH through crimes charged in the indictment.

Mladić was also charged as a superior pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Statute for, inter alia, knowing or having reason to know that crimes were about to be committed or had been committed by forces under his effective control and failing to prevent the crimes or punish the perpetrators.

 

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