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Tadic Appeals Against 25 Year Sentence

Tribunal Update 159: Last Week in The Hague (10-14 January 2000)
By IWPR

down to Dusko Tadic. In July 1997 he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment


by the Trial Chamber, but in November 1999, following a decision by the


Appeals Chamber that he was guilty of an additional nine counts, Tadic's


sentence was increased to 25 years.


As the defence has appealed to both sentences, the Appeals Chamber decided


to hear the cases jointly.


At Friday's (January 14) hearing Tadic's defence counsel, William Clegg,


stated that Tadic's sentence should be reduced, though he did not suggest by


how much. Clegg argued the sentence should be compared to other sentences


before this Tribunal. That, in his opinion, would demonstrate that Tadic, as


a "small fish", ought to receive a lighter punishment.


"It is highly desirable that the Tribunal develop a recognisable sentencing


tariff which reflects the position of those convicted", said the defence


lawyer.


But the prosecutor contends that it is impossible for the Tribunal to


announce a pre-existing table of sentencing criteria and create a complete


table of punishment. It also noted that Tadic must have had some power since


he had access to the camps around Prijedor where Moslem and Croat detainees


were maltreated and killed.


The former president of the Tribunal, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, had noted in


her last interview with Tribunal Update that Tadic was not a "small fish" in


the eyes of his victims.


Tadic's defence also believes the judges placed too much emphasis on


deterrence when delivering such a severe sentence. The defence is of opinion


that lengthy sentences handed down to foot soldiers do not work as a


deterrent to any would-be perpetrator of war crimes.


But the prosecutor argued that sentencing does have a deterrent effect. Many


individuals responsible for war crimes are still walking free and once the


likelihood of potential prosecution by this Tribunal is recognised, the


possible severity of punishment could act as a significant deterrent to any


future commission of such crimes the prosecutor argued.


The Appeals Chamber announced that their decision on this appeal would be


delivered "fairly quickly." Tadic's trial is the lengthiest so far: it began


in May 1996 and almost four years later the appeals process is still not


complete.


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