Sljivancanin Review Judgment at the ICTY

[UPDATE: here is a link to the Review Judgment, which should be online soon]

It’s a hectic day for international tribunals. The ICC held the confirmation of charges hearing for two sudanese rebels, Banda and Jerbo (see press release). More to the north, the ICTY Appeals Chamber was rendering its Review Judgment in the Sljivancanin case. Unfortunately, both took place at the same time. Because confirmation of charges take hours, I watched the ICTY hearing and will check out the confirmation of charges later tonight.

I’ve blogged several times on the ongoing review proceedings of the Appeals Judgment in the Sljivancanin case. Last December, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the motion for revision of the Appeals Judgment by which it had reversed one of the findings of acquital. In July this year, the Appeals Chamber granted the motion to review the Appeals Chamber Judgment based on new facts. Basically, the AC had considered, based on circumstantial evidence, that the Defendant must have been given elements in a conversation that would prove the required mens rea for aiding and abetting murder as a war crime. The new witness that came forward alleged that no such information was exchanged in that specific  conversation. The following comments are based on the hearing (here is the Judgment summary).
The AC first rejected all the Prosecution submissions contesting the credibility of witness and found that the new fact did in fact prove that the required mens rea was not present for the crime under consideration. The AC therefore vacated the additionationl conviction, in order to prevent a miscarriage of justice. The AC then quashed the sentence of 17 years imposed in the Appeals Judgment, reducing it to 10 years. There is a dissenting opinion of Judge Pocar (probably calling for remanding the case to the trial chamber for sentencing…) and separate opinions from judges Gunay and Meron.
The first thing to point out, which is already notable in itself for international tribunals, is that everything went as planned. No “however” coming at a late stage of the judgment to justify not taking into account the new evidence, no procedural sidestep to justify a longer prison sentence. All in a all, a simple and logical judgment.
Hearing it, I couldn’t help reflect once more on the mess this procedure turned out to be, even if the miscarriage of justice was avoided in the end, because of the actions of the AC. As I pointed out in previous blogs, we have just witnessed the compound effect of what are, in my opinion, debatable legal choices. 1) I don’t think that the AC should be allowed to reverse acquittals 2) if it is allowed to do so, it should not be allowed to “re-judge” the case, and it should be remanded to the trial chamber which is the trier of facts and 3) we have clearly seen the limits of the use of “circumstantial evidence” and “reasonable inferrence” ; indeed, in effect we just witnessed a de facto reversal of the presumption of innocence and corresponding burden of proof, with the AC making a finding based on nothing, and the Defendant having to provide evidence to prove his innocence…
One last point is the question of sentencing. It seems to be such an arbitrary procedure. The Presiding judge clearly states that the sentence for the torture conviction took into account the additional murder conviction, thus justifying today’s reduction. But we have two different crimes and I believe there shouldn’t be such a link between the two sentences. It’s about time, as I’ve said before, that we stop pretending that there is no hierarchy in international crimes, which in effect creates arbitrariness, and call for a clear scale of sentences in relation to each crime, as any mature system of criminal law should contain.
[UPDATE: There is of course the issue of the powers of the AC itself to increase a sentence imposed by the Trial Chamber. As pointed out by Judge Pocar in his (consistent) dissent on this issue, it is contrary to fundamental human rights for the AC to have this power, because there is no appeal of the new sentence by the Defendant. He would have therefore confirmed the original 5 year sentence, without any increase.]

3 responses to “Sljivancanin Review Judgment at the ICTY

  1. Irrefutable Proof ICTY Is Corrupt Court/Irrefutable Proof the Hague Court Cannot Legitimately Prosecute Karadzic Casehttp://picasaweb.google.com/lpcyusa(The Documentary Secret United Nations ICC Meeting Papers Scanned Images)https://sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite/irrefutable-proof-icty-is-corrupt-court-irrefutable-proof-the-hague-court-cannot-legitimately-prosecute-karadzic-case/irrefutableproofictyiscorruptcourtirrefutableproofthehaguecourtcannotlegitimatelyprosecutekaradziccaseThis legal technicality indicates the Hague must dismiss charges against Dr Karadzic and others awaiting trials in the Hague jail; like it or not.Unfortunately for the Signatures Of the Rome Statute United Nations member states instituting the ICC & ICTY housed at the Hague, insofar as the, Radovan Karadzic, as with the other Hague cases awaiting trial there, I personally witnessed these United Nations member states having a substantial conversations, and, openly speaking about trading judicial appointments and verdicts for financial funding when I attended the 2001 ICC Preparatory Meetings at the UN in Manhattan making the iCTY and ICC morally incapable trying Radovan Karazdic and others.I witnessed with my own eyes and ears when attending the 2001 Preparatory Meetings to establish an newly emergent International Criminal Court, the exact caliber of criminal corruption running so very deeply at the Hague, that it was a perfectly viable topic of legitimate conversation in those meetings I attended to debate trading verdicts AND judicialappointments, for monetary funding.Jilly wrote:*The rep from Spain became distraught and when her country’s proposal was not taken to well by the chair of the meeting , then Spain argued in a particularly loud and noticably strongly vocal manner, “Spain (my country) strongly believes if we contribute most financial support to the Hague’s highest court, that ought to give us and other countriesfeeding it financially MORE direct power over its decisions.”((((((((((((((((((((((((( ((((((((((((((((((((((((( Instead of censoring the country representative from Spain for even bringing up this unjust, illegal and unfair judicial idea of bribery for international judicial verdicts and judicial appointments, all country representatives present in the meeting that day all treated the Spain proposition as a ”totally legitimate topic” discussed and debated it between each other for some time. I was quite shocked! The idea was “let’s discuss it.” "It’s a great topic to discuss."

  2. What It’s Like to Chill Out With Whom the Rest of the World Considers As The Most Ruthless Men: Ratko Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Radovan Karadzic (+) Confessions of a Female War Crimes Investigator By Jill Louise Starr NJ USA https://sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite/what-it-s-like-to-chill-out-with-whom-the-rest-of-the-world-considers-as-the-most-ruthless-men-in-the-world-ratko-mladic-and-radovan-karadzic-confessions-of-a-female-war-crimes-investigator Retrospectively, it was all so simple, natural and matter of fact being on a boat restaurant in Belgrade, sitting with, laughing, drinking a two hundred bottle of wine and chatting about war and peace while Ratko Mladic held my hand. Mladic, a man considered the world’s most ruthless war criminal since Adolf Hitler, still at large and currently having a five million dollar bounty on his head for genocide by the international community. Yet there I was with my two best friends at the time, a former Serbian diplomat, his wife, and Ratko Mladic just chilling. There was no security, nothing you’d ordinarily expect in such circumstances. Referring to himself merely as, Sharko; this is the story of it all came about.

  3. Irrefutable Proof ICTY Is Corrupt Court/Irrefutable Proof the Hague Court Cannot Legitimately Prosecute Karadzic Case By Jill Starr picasaweb.google.com/lpcyusa (The Documentary Secret United Nations ICC Meeting Papers Scanned Images) sites.google.com/site/jillstarrsite/irrefutable-proof-icty-is-corrupt-court-irrefutable-proof-the-hague-court-cannot-legitimately-prosecute-karadzic-case This legal technicality indicates the Hague must dismiss charges against Dr Karadzic and others awaiting trials in the Hague jail; like it or not. Unfortunately for the Signatures Of the Rome Statute United Nations member states instituting the ICC & ICTY housed at the Hague, insofar as the, Radovan Karadzic, as with the other Hague cases awaiting trial there, I personally witnessed these United Nations member states having a substantial conversations, and, openly speaking about trading judicial appointments and verdicts for financial funding when I attended the 2001 ICC Preparatory Meetings at the UN in Manhattan making the iCTY and ICC morally incapable trying Radovan Karazdic and others. I witnessed with my own eyes and ears when attending the 2001 Preparatory Meetings to establish an newly emergent International Criminal Court, the exact caliber of criminal corruption running so very deeply at the Hague, that it was a perfectly viable topic of legitimate conversation in those meetings I attended to debate trading verdicts AND judicial appointments, for monetary funding. Jilly wrote:*The rep from Spain became distraught and when her country’s proposal was not taken to well by the chair of the meeting , then Spain argued in a particularly loud and noticably strongly vocal manner, “Spain (my country) strongly believes if we contribute most financial support to the Hague’s highest court, that ought to give us and other countries feeding it financially MORE direct power over its decisions.” ((((((((((((((((((((((((( ((((((((((((((((((((((((( Instead of censoring the country representative from Spain for even bringing up this unjust, illegal and unfair judicial idea of bribery for international judicial verdicts and judicial appointments, all country representatives present in the meeting that day all treated the Spain proposition as a ”totally legitimate topic” discussed and debated it between each other for some time. I was quite shocked! The idea was “let’s discuss it.” "It’s a great topic to discuss." Some countries agreed with Spain’s propositions while others did not. The point here is, bribery for judicial verdicts and judicial appointments was treated as a totally legitimate topic instead of an illegitimate topic which it is in the meeting that I attended in 2001 that day to establish the ground work for a newly emergent international criminal court.)))))))))))))))))))))))))))) In particular., since “Spain” was so overtly unafraid in bringing up this topic of trading financial funding the ICC for influence over its future judicial appointments and verdicts in front of every other UN member state present that day at the UN, “Spain” must have already known by previous experience the topic of bribery was “socially acceptable” for conversation that day. They must have previously spoke about bribing the ICTY and ICC before in meetings; this is my take an international sociological honor student. SPAIN’s diplomatic gesture of international justice insofar as, Serbia, in all of this is, disgusting morally!SPAIN HAS TAUGHT THE WORLD THE TRUE DEFINITION OF AN “INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT.” I represented the state interests’ of the Former Yugoslavia, in Diplomat Darko Trifunovic’s absence in those meetings and I am proud to undertake this effort on Serbia’s behalf.

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