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ICTY increases sentence for officer convicted of Vukovar killings

[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Tuesday increased the sentence [judgment, PDF; judgment summary, PDF] of Veselin Sljivancanin [BBC profile; ICTY materials] from five to 17 years. Sljivancanin was convicted of aiding and abetting the killings of over 200 Croatian prisoners of war near Vukovar [BBC backgrounder; ICTY backgrounder, PDF] in 1991. Prosecutors appealed the sentences [JURIST report] imposed on Mile Mrksic and Sljivancanin as grossly inadequate for the crimes committed. Both Mrksic and Sljivancanin appealed the convictions, alleging that the evidence was insufficient to support the decisions against them. The ruling also upheld the sentence of Mrksic [BBC report].

Then-chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte [official profile] had expressed immediate disapproval of the verdicts for being too lenient. Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader [official website] also criticized [JURIST report] the ICTY for the judgments and addressed [press release] the UN General Assembly to call for justice for the Vukovar massacre. In addition, Croatian President Stipe Mesic, known to be a supporter of the ICTY, said that his own confidence in the ICTY has been eroded. In December 2006, the Serbian Supreme Court ordered a retrial in the case of 14 former members of Serb militias who were originally convicted [JURIST reports] of war crimes for their roles in the Vukovar massacre. The Serbian judicial proceedings, which opened in March 2004 [JURIST report], have been seen as a test of Serbia's domestic war crimes process.

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