1 Wednesday, 9 October 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [Rule 98 bis Ruling]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 4.47 p.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Case number
8 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and
9 Simo Zaric. Thank you.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: I see that the parties are as before.
11 This is the oral ruling of the Trial Chamber on the Rule 98 bis
12 motion by the Defence.
13 The Trial Chamber is seized of motions for acquittal filed
14 pursuant to 98 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence by the three
15 accused, Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric. The Office of the
16 Prosecutor filed its confidential response on 27th September, this year.
17 The public redacted response of the Prosecution was accepted by the Trial
18 Chamber as validly filed pursuant to Rule 127(A)(ii) of the rules by
19 decision of 2nd October.
20 All three accused in this case have moved for total acquittal
21 pursuant to 98 bis with respect to all the charges brought against them in
22 the Fifth Amended Indictment.
23 The accused have also requested that they be heard orally on the
24 motions. However, the Trial Chamber is of the view that the written
25 motions and the response of the Prosecutor have sufficiently put forward
1 the arguments of the parties and therefore further oral argument will not
2 be necessary.
3 Having reviewed the arguments of the parties, the Trial Chamber
4 will now render its decision. The written decision of the Trial Chamber
5 will be issued in due course.
6 The standard which this Trial Chamber has applied is that laid
7 down by the Appeals Chamber in the case of the Prosecutor versus Jelesic
8 which is whether there is evidence, if accepted, upon which a reasonable
9 Tribunal of fact could be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt
10 of the accused on the particular charge in question. On the basis of this
11 standard, the Trial Chamber has directed its attention to the submissions
12 of the parties concerning the specific allegations in the Fifth Amended
14 In brief, the indictment charges the three accused with
15 persecution as a crime against humanity, that is Count 1, pursuant to
16 Article 5(h) of the Statute of the Tribunal and Article 7(1). The
17 underlying acts to support this charge include the forcible takeover of
18 the municipality of Bosanski Samac, the unlawful arrest, detention, and
19 confinement of non-Serb civilians; the cruel and inhumane treatment,
20 including beatings, torture, and forced labour of non-Serb civilians; the
21 deportation, forcible transfer, and expulsion of non-Serb civilians; the
22 wanton and extensive destruction, plundering, and looting of property, and
23 the destruction or wilful damage of institutions dedicated to religion.
24 Blagoje Simic is further charged with the issuance of orders or
25 policies which violated the rights of non-Serbs, while Simo Zaric is
1 further charged with the interrogation of non-Serb civilians who had been
2 arrested or detained and with forcing them to sign forced and coerced
3 statements. Both the accused have challenged the sufficiency of evidence
4 with regard to the factual allegations contained in Count 1. In addition,
5 they have raised challenges concerning the discriminatory intent required
6 under Count 1 and challenged the allegation that they had acted in concert
7 together with others to commit the crimes alleged in Count 1.
8 Having reviewed the evidence and the submissions of the parties,
9 the Trial Chamber finds that sufficient evidence exists, if accepted, upon
10 which a reasonable Tribunal of fact could be satisfied beyond reasonable
11 doubt of the guilt of Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric with
12 respect to the forcible takeover as contained in paragraphs 13(a), 14(a)
13 and 15(a) of the indictment; the unlawful arrests and confinement as
14 contained in paragraphs 13(c), 14(b) and 15(b) of the indictment; the
15 cruel and inhumane treatment as contained in paragraphs 13(d), 14(c) and
16 15(c); the deportation, forcible transfer, and expulsion as contained in
17 paragraphs 13(e), 14(d) and 15(e).
18 The Trial Chamber finds that there is sufficient evidence on the
19 further charges against Blagoje Simic under paragraphs 13(b) and
20 Simo Zaric under paragraphs 15(d) of the indictment.
21 In relation to the offence of wanton and extensive destruction,
22 plundering, and looting contained in paragraph 13(f), 14(e) and 15(f) of
23 the indictment, the Trial Chamber finds that the Prosecution has presented
24 evidence that provides a sufficient basis, if accepted, upon which a
25 reasonable Tribunal of fact could be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt
1 of the involvement of Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric in the
2 wanton and extensive plundering and looting of the property of Bosnian
3 Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and the other non-Serb civilians, including
4 dwellings, businesses, personal property and livestock.
5 However, in the case of destruction, the evidence does not
6 specifically link any of the accused persons to the destruction of
7 dwellings, businesses, personal property, or livestock. Several
8 Prosecution witnesses testified to such destruction having taken place but
9 no further evidence was adduced linking the accused persons to the
10 offence. The Trial Chamber thus finds that there is insufficient evidence
11 concerning the involvement of all three accused in the wanton and
12 extensive destruction of the property of Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Muslims,
13 and the other non-Serb civilians, including dwellings, businesses,
14 personal property, and livestock.
15 There is, therefore, no case for them to answer in relation to the
16 aspect of destruction in paragraphs 13(f), 14(e), and 15(f) of the
18 In relation to the offence of destruction and wilful damage of
19 institutions dedicated to religion contained in paragraphs 13(g), 14(f)
20 and 15(g) of the indictment, the Trial Chamber is not satisfied that the
21 totality of the evidence provides a sufficient basis upon which the Trial
22 Chamber can put the accused on their defence in relation to this
23 particular offence. The Trial Chamber finds that although there is
24 evidence on the destruction of religious institutions, there is
25 insufficient evidence on the link between the accused and the alleged
1 destruction of the religious institutions. Accordingly, the accused have
2 no case to answer concerning the whole offence of destruction and wilful
3 damage to institutions dedicated to religion as contained in paragraphs
4 13(g), 14(f), and 15(g) of the indictment.
5 On the issue of the requisite discriminatory intent for Count 1
6 based on the Trial Chamber's findings as just stated for this count, there
7 is therefore sufficient evidence, if accepted, upon which a reasonable
8 Tribunal could be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Blagoje Simic,
9 Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric possessed the necessary discriminatory
10 intent to sustain a conviction for the crime of persecution as a crime
11 against humanity.
12 Counts 2 and 3: The indictment charges all three accused with
13 deportation as a crime against humanity pursuant to Article 5(d) of the
14 Statute under Count 2 and unlawful deportation or transfer, as a grave
15 breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, pursuant to Article 2(g) of the
16 Statute under Count 3.
17 Having reviewed the evidence and the submission of the parties,
18 the Trial Chamber finds that there is sufficient evidence to put all three
19 accused on their defence for the crimes of deportation as a crime against
20 humanity and unlawful deportation or transfer as a grave breach of the
21 Geneva Conventions under Counts 2 and 3 respectively.
22 The above finding of "no case to answer" in those parts of
23 paragraphs 13(f), 14(e) and 15(f) and the whole of paragraphs 13(g),
24 14(f), 15(g), do not affect the integrity of persecution as a crime
25 against humanity under Count 1 of the indictment, as the rest of the
1 factual allegations still stand.
2 For the foregoing reasons and pursuant to 98 bis of the Rules of
3 Procedure and Evidence, the Trial Chamber enters a judgement of acquittal
4 and -- enters a judgement of acquittal in respect of the aspect of
5 destruction of the property of Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and the
6 other non-Serb civilians, including dwellings, businesses, personal
7 property, and livestock, as contained in paragraphs 13(f), 14(e), and
8 15(f) of the indictment, and on the whole offence of destruction or wilful
9 damage of institutions dedicated to religion as contained in paragraphs
10 13(g), 14(f) and 15(g) of the indictment. The rest of the motions for
11 acquittal are dismissed.
12 There being no other business, the Court will rise.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
14 4.58 p.m.