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The ICTY renders its final judgement in the Prlić et al. appeal case

The Appeals Chamber today pronounced its judgement in Prosecutor v. Jadranko Prlić et al., in what was the Tribunal’s most voluminous appeal as well as its final case.

The Appeals Chamber affirmed almost all of the Trial Chamber’s convictions of Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić, and Berislav Pušić with respect to events occurring between 1992 and 1994 in eight municipalities and five detention centres in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also affirmed the sentences imposed by the Trial Chamber, which sentenced Prlić to 25 years’ imprisonment, Stojić, Praljak, and Petković to 20 years’ imprisonment each, Ćorić to 16 years’ imprisonment, and Pušić to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Prlić, Stojić, Praljak, Petković, Ćorić, and Pušić remain convicted of crimes against humanity, violations of the laws or customs of war, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, specifically murder, wilful killing, persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, deportation, unlawful transfer of civilians, imprisonment, unlawful confinement of civilians, unlawful labour, inhumane acts, inhuman treatment, extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion or education, unlawful attack on civilians, and unlawful infliction of terror on civilians. In addition, Prlić, Stojić, Petković, and Ćorić remain convicted of rape, inhuman treatment (sexual assault), extensive appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, and plunder of public or private property through the third category of joint criminal enterprise liability. Praljak also remains convicted of extensive appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, and plunder of public or private property through the third category of joint criminal enterprise liability. Ćorić further remains convicted of a number of crimes under superior responsibility.

The Appeals Chamber also affirmed the Trial Chamber’s conclusion that, from mid‑January 1993, the accused were participants in a joint criminal enterprise, with the exception of Pušić who joined in April 1993. The Appeals Chamber further affirmed the Trial Chamber’s conclusion that this joint criminal enterprise was aimed at creating a Croatian entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina that would facilitate the reunification of the Croatian people, through ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population.

The Appeals Chamber granted some grounds of appeal by Stojić, Praljak, Petković, Ćorić, and the Prosecution, while dismissing in their entirety the appeals raised by Prlić and Pušić. As a result of granting those grounds of appeal, the Appeals Chamber reversed a limited number of findings that supported certain convictions of all six accused.

All six accused, as well as the Prosecution had lodged appeals against the Trial Judgement rendered by Trial Chamber III on 29 May 2013. The briefing in the case, completed on 29 May 2015, amounted to more than 12,000 pages of appellate submissions. The Appeal Hearing took place between 20 and 28 March 2017.

The Appeals Chamber was composed of Judge Carmel Agius, Presiding, Judge Liu Daqun, Judge Fausto Pocar, Judge Theodor Meron, and Judge Bakone Justice Moloto. Judge Liu appended a declaration, a partially dissenting opinion, and dissenting opinions. Judge Pocar appended dissenting opinions.

Since its establishment, the Tribunal has indicted 161 persons for serious violations of humanitarian law committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. With this final appeal, proceedings before the Tribunal against all 161 persons have now been concluded and the work of the Tribunal is completed.

After 24 years of operation, the Tribunal will formally close on 31 December 2017.