|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 30 September 1997
Erdemovic case - Appeals Chamber decision on the appeal filed by Drazen Erdemovic
against the sentencing judgment to be handed down on tuesday 7 October 1997.
The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will hand down its Decision on the appeal filed by Drazen Erdemovic against the sentencing judgement of 29 November 1996 on Tuesday, 7 October 1997, at 9.30 a.m.
This will be a public hearing, expected to last about 30 minutes.
On 29 November 1996, Trial Chamber I sentenced Drazen Erdemovic to ten years imprisonment for a crime against humanity.
The Defendant had confessed his participation in one of the mass-executions carried out following the take-over of the safe-area of Srebrenica, and pleaded guilty.
On 23 December 1996, Mr. Jovan Babic, defence counsel for Drazen Erdemovic filed an Appeal against the Sentencing Judgement.
The Appeals hearing was held on 26 May 1997 before the Appeals Chamber consisting of Judges Cassese (presiding), Li, McDonald, Stephen and Vohrah.
The parties’ appeals submissions
In his Appeals brief, the Appellant requested the Appeals Chamber to revise the Sentencing Judgement, on the following grounds:
1. The Trial Chamber committed an error of fact when asserting that the 10th Sabotage Unit, of which the Appellant was a member, participated in the execution of 500 Muslims in Pilica;
2. The Trial Chamber committed an error of fact when not taking into consideration the Appellant’s mental state at the time the crimes were committed;
3. The Trial Chamber committed an error in law in not accepting the Appellant’s assertion that he was acting under duress or in a situation of extreme necessity such that he had no moral choice when he committed the offence. On this ground, the Appellant should have been declared guilty but should not have been sentenced.
In its Respondent’s brief, the Prosecution submitted the following arguments:
1. The Trial Chamber referred to the executions in Pilica as part of the description of the events only, and not as an aggravating circumstance;
2. The Trial Chamber was correct in considering that the Appellant had a moral choice in the execution of the Muslims, and in requiring corroboration to the contrary. Furthermore, superior orders were considered by the Trial Chamber as a mitigating circumstance;
3. The burden of proof in showing that the Appellant was in a state of diminished mental capacity lays with the Appellant;
4. The severity of the sentence pronounced by the Trial Chamber is not disproportionate in relation to the gravity of the offence.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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