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Tadic Case

Tribunal Update 32: Last Week in The Hague (June 9-14, 1997)

The prosecutor's appeal is based on the following grounds:

1. The majority (Judges Stephen and Vohrah) erred in not finding the grave breaches provisions of the Statute applicable. (This ruling was based on the finding that the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not an international one, which meant that civilian victims were not protected persons under the Geneva Conventions.) 2. The Trial Chamber erred in not finding beyond reasonable doubt that the accused took part in the killing of any or all of the five men from Jaskici (Counts 29-34). 3. The Trial Chamber erred in holding that an element of a crime against humanity is that the accused must know that the attack is part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population. 4. The Trial Chamber erred in holding that discriminatory intent is an element of all crimes against humanity. 5. The majority (Judges Stephen and Vohrah) erred in denying the Prosecution motion for production of witness statements (Decision of November 27, 1996).

It is interesting that the prosecutor is challenging, not only those points of the verdict in which the Trial Chamber rejected the prosecution arguments, but also some in which the prosecution arguments had been accepted. This is the case with regard to points 3 and 4 above.

The Trial Chamber had concluded beyond reasonable doubt that Tadic knew that his acts were “part of a widespread and systematic attack” and that he acted with “discriminatory intent”. The prosecutor evidently considers that the introduction of these subjective elements (knowledge and intent) set an unjustifiably high standard of proof for the responsibility of defendants for crimes against humanity.

In her Notice of Appeal, the prosecutor seeks a deferral of any hearing related to the appeal until after the expiry date for any appeal on the sentence. The sentencing of Dusko Tadic was originally set for July 1, 1997, but has since been rescheduled for Monday, July 14, 1997, at 10am.

The commencement date for the pre-sentencing hearing has been put back to June 30, because the defence has asked for “additional time for the transport of witnesses to the [pre-sentencing] hearing.”

Since last week, the UN Detention Unit has one less guest: Dragan Opacic, false witness “L”, was remanded back to Sarajevo, to the custody of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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