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The Hague, 28 November 2006
Blagoje Simić's appeal partly granted, sentence reduced to fifteen years
In its judgement issued today, the Tribunal's Appeals Chamber reversed the finding of the Trial Chamber that Blagoje Simić participated in a joint criminal enterprise whose aim was persecution of non-Serbs in the Bosanski Šamac municipality in northern Bosnia.
On 17 October 2003, Simić, a local Bosnian Serb politician, was convicted and sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment by the Trial Chamber for persecutions of non-Serb civilians in the municipality of Bosanski Šamac between 17 April 1992 and 31 December 1993. The non-Serb civilians were detained and confined under inhumane conditions, lacking sufficient space, food or water and were subjected to torture including sexual assaults, the extraction of teeth and threat of execution.
The Appeals Chamber found that Simić was not informed that he was being accused of participating in a joint criminal enterprise until the Prosecution had finished presenting its case, which rendered the trial unfair.
The Appeals Chamber also reversed Simić's conviction for persecution due to cruel and inhumane treatment in the form of torture and beating.
However, the Appeals Chamber upheld Simić's conviction for aiding and abetting persecution in the form of the unlawful arrests and detention of non-Serb civilians, confinement of non-Serb prisoners in inhumane conditions, forced labour by Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims, and forced displacement of non-Serb civilians.
The Appeals Chamber reached these findings by majority, with Judges Shahabuddeen and Schomburg dissenting.
The Appeals Chamber found that the re-characterisation of the Simić's criminal conduct and quashing of his conviction for acts of torture and beating required an adjustment of his sentence, reducing it to fifteen years. Judge Liu dissented from this decision.
The full text of the summary of the judgement can be found at the following link:
in French language:
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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